Marquise Goodwin WR Texas #84
Size/Athleticism: Vastly undersized, but has the speed to make up for it. He is essentially a less polished version of Tavon Austin. But physically, he and Austin are virtually identical players. Experienced returning kicks and should immediately make an impact on special teams. Member of the US Olympic team in 2012, competing in the long jump.
Separation Skills: A true deep threat. Requires the attention of the deep safety, because few cornerbacks are able to stay with him on deep routes. In a one-on-one matchup, he will create separation over the top at least 95 percent of the time. Start-and-stop ability is impressive. Route running is very raw. He creates separation based on his speed, but he doesn’t fool defensive backs with his moves.
Ball Skills: Frequently catches the ball with his body. He isn’t a natural pass-catcher and needs to work on his technique. He struggles to adjust to the ball in the air. He also is very limited in his ability to battle for jump balls. On the deep route, he needs to be hit in stride because he won’t go up and pluck the ball away from the defensive back. He struggles to put himself in the best position to make those types of plays, and often allows the defensive back to become the receiver.
Intangibles: Despite being a star track athlete, he isn’t a converted track athlete. He’s played football throughout his career, and has plenty of experience.
Durability: Suffered a hand injury in 2012 which limited him for a few games.
Comments: Goodwin’s athleticism could make him an immediate impact player on special teams, but he is extremely raw. He has never learned how to become a complete receiver, and appears content to win based off speed alone. He will definitely make plays at the next level, but until he learns how to win with more than just speed alone, his impact will be limited to a handful of plays per game.
Stedman Bailey WR West Virginia #3
Size/Athleticism: Built like a slot receiver. He’s short with decent speed to make plays after the catch.
Separation Skills: Speed is decent and he’ll occasionally get over the top, but he lacks the explosive speed to be a consistent deep threat. He will primarily be effective on underneath routes where he can catch the ball in space and attempt to make plays after the catch. He’s very quick in his breaks and can create separation in tight spaces.
Ball Skills: Struggles to go up and battle for the ball. He’s lacks the height and explosive leaping ability to go up and challenge for the football. Demonstrates great body control on the sidelines. Does a great job adjusting to the ball and putting himself in the best position to make the play. Primarily catches with his hands, away from his body.
Intangibles: Cited for attempting to steal a $4.99 box of Theraflu from a Kroger grocery store in Jan. 2012.
Durability: Slowed by an ankle injury during the 2012 season.
Comments: Bailey can be a quality No. 3 option in the slot, but his upside is limited. He needs to be given the ball in space because he isn’t the type of receiver who will battle for positioning to come down with a contested catch. He reminds me somewhat of former Giants receiver Steve Smith.
Chris Harper WR Kansas State #3
Size/Athleticism: Rare build for a receiver, he looks more like a running back. Height is average but his size is impressive. He’s very physical and a great athlete for his size. Played quarterback at Oregon before transferring to Kansas State.
Separation Skills: Not a threat to get over the top of the defense. He straight line speed is very average and he lacks the explosiveness to shake defenders to get open deep. Knows how to use his size to shield defenders in tight situations. He’s a prototypical possession receiver who can consistently provide the quarterback with a target on shorter routes. Not exceptionally quick in his breaks, which contributes to his inability to get deep.
Ball Skills: Reliable hands. He consistently catches with his hands away from his body and quickly secures the ball. He struggles to adjust to the ball in the air at time, but he’s a good athlete and should continue to improve in his area due to his relatively limited experience at receiver.
Intangibles: Three-years of experience as a receiver at Kansas State after transferring from Oregon where he played a mix of quarterback and receiver as a true freshman in 2008.
Durability: No known issues.
Comments: Harper’s upside is limited by his size and speed, but he can definitely contribute as a possession receiver. Due to his lack of height, he isn’t the prototypical receiver, but his rare strength and ability to fight through press coverage and use his body to shield defenders from the ball allows him to be effective. He should continue to show growth at the next level as someone who is relatively new to the position.
Aaron Dobson WR Marshall #3
Size/Athleticism: Above average height. Decent blend of height and speed. Clocked at 4.43 in the 40 but doesn’t quite play up to that speed. Decent strength for a receiver, can be effective at times as a blocker and can fight through press coverage.
Separation Skills: Limited in his ability to get over the top, but he runs crisp routes and consistently gives the quarterback a target. He’s primarily a possession receiver, but has just enough speed that the defense must respect his ability to go deep on occasion. Somewhat slow to get up to full speed, but very quick in his breaks. Needs to have the timing down with his quarterback to be effective, but can consistently create windows of opportunity as a possession receiver.
Ball Skills: Extremely reliable hands. According to STATS, did not drop a single pass as a senior. Shows great body control adjusting to poorly thrown balls. He’s definitely the type of receiver who can help bail out a quarterback. Consistently catches with his hands away from his body.
Intangibles: Three-year starter. Team captain in 2012.
Durability: Missed time with an undisclosed injury in 2012. Did not work out at combine due to hamstring injury.
Comments: Dobson’s speed and athleticism limits his upside slightly, but he has the potential to be a very reliable possession receiver. He definitely isn’t a game changer at the position, but his ability to consistent get open on possession routes is a valuable asset. He will be a very safe pick on the second or early third day of the draft.
Sam Montgomery DE LSU #99
Size/Athleticism: Solid blend of strength and athleticism, however, he’s not elite in either category. He has enough speed in short bursts to be effective as an edge rusher, but he isn’t the type that makes great plays in pursuit.
Run Defense: Somewhat inconsistent against the run. He’s fairly easily stonewalled at the point of attack and struggles to consistently shed blocks against more powerful linemen. He’s not a great athlete when weaving through traffic. He doesn’t have the fluid hips and footwork to allow him to slide through tight spaces to get after the ball carrier.
Pass Rush: He wins with speed, but he isn’t fast enough to consistently dominate based off this trait alone. He took advantage of slow-footed offensive linemen in college, but he didn’t face a ton of great future NFL left tackles. He isn’t the type of pass-rusher that will be a consistent difference maker at the next level, but he will take advantage of favorable matchups. He needs to show a wide array of moves. Too often his initial speed rush gets stopped and he struggles to battle with the offensive lineman. He needs to add a secondary move to seamlessly transition to when the lineman is able to kick out and step in front of his initial attack.
Versatility: Primarily played with his hand on the ground in college, but has the ability to play linebacker in a 3-4. He isn’t a fluid enough athlete to offer much in coverage.
Intangibles: There are serious concerns about his work ethic and his commitment to the game. He has admitted to taking plays and even entire games off. If a player can’t be motivated when he’s playing for free in college, he will never be motivated once he’s handed an NFL contract.
Durability: Suffered a season-ending knee injury as a freshman.
Comments: Montgomery was productive at LSU, but he lacks the elite physical tools to rank him among the top prospects in a very deep class of pass-rushers. To make matters worse, his inconsistent play and admitted lack of effort destroys his draft stock. You simply can’t teach a player to care about his performance. If he can’t put forth the effort to make himself great prior to reaching the NFL, he won’t learn that type of commitment once he’s collecting an NFL paycheck. Montgomery can still be a solid player, but don’t expect him to take his game to another level.
Cornelius Washington DE Georgia #83
Size/Athleticism: Incredibly athletic for his size. Has a great blend of size and speed. Built like a prototypical edge rusher.
Run Defense: Among the best prospects in this draft at making plays in pursuit. He sheds blocks fairly consistently and flies to the ball. He makes a lot of impressively athletic plays, diving at the ball carrier to track him down from behind. He does a great job weaving through traffic and moves through it like a much smaller linebacker.
Pass Rush: Washington is an explosive pass-rusher off the edge, who can fly past slow-footed offensive linemen. His first step is at an elite level, and he consistently beats slower tackles off the snap. He also has a decent bull rush, and can battle with more physical lineman and shed blocks.
Versatility: Played a mixture of end and linebacker in Georgia’s 3-4 defense, but he’s clearly best suited to play linebacker in the 3-4 scheme or end in the 4-3. Occasionally drops in coverage and has the athleticism to stay with some tight ends, although his technique needs work, especially his footwork in his backpedal. He gets tangled up in himself and won’t be able to stay with many tight ends at the next level without refining his technique.
Intangibles: Never a full-time starter. Despite seeing playing time throughout his four years, he was never a regular member of the starting lineup. Arrested for a DUI during his junior year and suspended for two games.
Durability: Limited by a hamstring injury during offseason which prevented him from working out at pro day. Missed 2009 spring practices with shoulder injury. Suffered a concussion during his sophomore year.
Comments: Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is an excellent coach who has transformed the Bulldogs defense, so why didn’t he play Washington more? Given his documented off-field issue (DUI arrest), it’s impossible not to wonder if there’s something going on behind the scenes that the general public doesn’t know about. But based purely on raw talent, Washington has as much upside as any pass-rusher in this draft class.
Margus Hunt DT SMU #92
Size/Athleticism: Incredible blend of size and athleticism. He’s build like a defensive tackle, but has enough athleticism to play end and even drops into coverage at times. Height is rare and makes him an elite special teams player. Blocked 17 kicks during his career.
Run Defense: His height works against him at the point of attack. He struggles to stay low and offensive linemen who are able to getting better leverage on him can drive him off his spot. Does a decent job in pursuit. Sheds blocks well and has the speed to make some plays in pursuit. Can make plays from behind, but struggles in space. He’s just too big and awkward to trap a running back or even most quarterbacks running in space.
Pass Rush: A tough assignment in one-on-one situations. He’s strong enough to bull rush but also quick enough to take advantage of some slow-footed tackles. Really inconsistent, however. He was stopped by linemen who had no business controlling him throughout the course of an entire game. Needs to do a much better job getting his hands up into passing lanes. He can be a game-changing force, but he so rarely pressured the quarterback by altering passing lanes.
Versatility: Primarily played end in 3-4 sets and also lined up inside in 4-3 sets. Dropped into coverage more often than the typical down lineman and looks fairly fluid when doing so. Could potentially play some linebacker in 3-4 sets.
Intangibles: Should have been more dominant against his level of competition. Few Conference USA linemen could match his physical tools, but he was ineffective a shockingly high percentage of the time.
Durability: No known issues.
Comments: Hunt’s physical tools are so intriguing, but his level of production is disturbing. While his height can create problems for the offense at times, but it creates just as many issues for Hunt. He struggles to stay low and much smaller offensive linemen can stonewall him by using good leverage. He also struggles to make some plays on the ball carrier – just imagine a 6’8″ Hunt trying to corral Maurice Jones-Drew in space. He may not be a three-down lineman, but in certain situations he can definitely be a difference maker. I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking him in the first round because I probably would only want to use him as part of a rotation. But a team could definitely justify spending a second round pick on him if they have the right talent around him.
Corey Lemonier DE Auburn #55
Size/Athleticism: Has the athleticism of an explosive edge rusher. Impressive change of direction ability for a lineman. Can use the speed rusher to the outside, but quickly shift inside if the lineman is able to kick outside with him.
Run Defense: Has quick feet and can weave through traffic to get to the ball carrier. Struggles at the point of attack. Lacks the lower body strength to hold his ground and can be directed fairly easily by stronger offensive linemen.
Pass Rush: Athletic enough to take advantage of slow-footed tackles. Made a few really nice double moves against Alabama left tackle Barrett Jones in 2011 to demonstrate his ability to maneuver against the technically sound, but athletically challenged linemen. Shows a nice array of pass-rush moves.
Versatility: Primarily played with his hand on the ground at Auburn, but could definitely transition to a 3-4 scheme in the NFL. Some experience dropping into coverage.
Intangibles: Criticized for his play at the end of the 2012 season. When the team struggled, he seemed to go in the tank. Teams will need to ask him about his play during interviews to make a determination about his effort level.
Durability: No known issues. Made 24 starts and played in 34 games in three years.
Comments: Lemonier is an explosive pass-rusher who may be best suited to shift to linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He flew under the radar at Auburn due to their miserable 2012 season, but he is among the best pure pass-rushers in this class and could make an immediate impact in the right system. He will be criticized for his struggles at the point of attack, but you have to accept that with some undersized pass-rushers. He’ll make up for it by making some impressive plays in pursuit when the play goes the opposite direction.
Alex Okafor DE Texas #80
Size/Athleticism: Definitely looks the part. He’s tall and well built, but lacks the elite athleticism to put him at the top of this draft class. His straight-line speed is adequate in short burst (much better than his 40 time indicates) but he isn’t quick. Easily slowed down by traffic and struggles to work his way around offensive linemen even when he isn’t engaged.
Run Defense: Does an adequate job holding up at the point of attack. He struggles to shed blocks at times, but he holds his ground. Doesn’t make a ton of plays in pursuit unless he has a free path to the ballcarrier. He isn’t very quick in tight spaces, and struggles to maneuver through traffic. Even when he’s not engaged, just working his way through the bodies on the field slows him down considerablly.
Pass Rush: Sort of a ‘tweener in terms of his pass-rush skill set. He’s not explosive enough to be a speed edge-rusher, but he’s not strong or physical enough to excel as a bull rusher. He gets the job done with a combination of both, but he’ll need to refine his technique in order to excel in the NFL.
Versatility: Played a nice mix of linebacker/end depending on the defensive formation. Should have no problem playing in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Some experience dropping in coverage, but he gets lost easily. Struggles to move fluidly while keeping track of receivers in his zone and his eyes on the quarterback.
Intangibles: Voted 2012 team captain.
Durability: Slowed by an ankle injury in 2012. Didn’t work out at combine due to a hip injury suffered at Senior Bowl.
Comments: Okafor isn’t an elite pass-rusher, but he has the skill set to develop into a well-rounded lineman. How good he becomes will depend on how dedicated he is to refining his technique, because he lacks the elite raw tools to guarantee him a starting job at the next level. I wouldn’t count him out as a potential future Pro Bowler, but it will take some time to develop him. He reminds me a little bit of Justin Tuck, and could become that type of player with work.
Shamarko Thomas SS Syracuse #21
Size/Athleticism: Thomas is much shorter than the average NFL safety, which will hurt him in certain situations. However, don’t question his toughness. He is extremely physical, especially considering his size. His blend of speed and strength gives him the tools to help make up for his lack of height.
Coverage: Has the quickness and speed of a cornerback. His footwork is inconsistent in man coverage, but he makes up for mistakes with his speed. If he could limit his false steps, he could legitimately be viewed as a potential cornerback prospect. Demonstrated his skills in man coverage by lining up one-on-one against Robert Woods multiple times as a senior against USC.
Ball skills: Height limits his ability to fight for jump balls, but his leaping ability makes up for it to an extent.
Run support: Does not back down from mixing it up at the line of scrimmage. He’ll dive right into the linemen and try to use his lack of size to his advantage to slip through unnoticed. Willing to take on much bigger ball carriers head-on, and capable of delivering some big hits. His lack of size actually works to his advantage in certain situations, because he can launch himself at the ball carrier and deliver all of his force on a small area, increasing the likelihood of jarring the ball loose. Athleticism makes him extremely valuable in the open field. He can match many receivers and running backs in quickness and doesn’t get juked often. Even without support, he can make an open field tackle.
Intangibles: Elite leadership skills and work ethic. You’ll be hard pressed to find a player who pushes himself hard off the field than Thomas.
Durability: Missed 2 games with an undisclosed injury as a junior.
Comments: Thomas’ lack of size definitely causes doubters to question his ability to excel at the next level. And while I’m not certain how he’ll make the most impact at the next level, I guarantee he will find a way to make himself valuable. He’s an impressive player on and off the field and he will do whatever it takes to carve out a role for himself in the NFL.