2016 NFL Draft: Prospect Rankings by Position

2016 NFL DRAFT

Paxton+Lynch

With the NFL Scouting Combine less than a week away, David Parks unveils his top prospects at each position.

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2016 NFL Draft Big Board (1.0)

By David Parks
Twitter: @_Parksie

As the end of the college football season draws near, players will make their intentions known on whether or not they will chase their NFL dreams or return to school for their senior year(s).  With that, comes the inevitable task of ranking draft prospects.

It’s one of the most exact inexact sciences that exist.  Few teams do it well, and even then, there’s no such thing as a perfect draft.

Even a guy like Joey Bosa isn't a sure bet

Even a guy like Joey Bosa isn’t a sure bet

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Previewing the Big Games: College Football Week 1

By Aaron Hyden
PSDC College Football Contributor

With the 2015 college football season already underway, and the first Saturday slate of games kicking off, it’s time to preview the big games from Week 1. Teams from all over the country are beginning their journeys towards a possible National Championship, but it all begins with the season’s first game. I’ll be back when the week is over to review the goings-on and see how close my predictions were. Let’s not waste any more time, though.

No. 15 Arizona State vs Texas A&M: Arizona State is quickly becoming a chic selection as a National Championship dark horse contender, and that discussion starts because of their offense. QB Mike Bercovici stepped in for injured starter Taylor Kelly last season, throwing for 1,445 yards and 14 touchdowns in what was essentially three-and-a-half games. Last season’s leading rusher, DJ Foster, has been switched to WR to replace Jaelen Strong, while Demario Richard takes Foster’s place at RB.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A&M needs to improve on a defense that ranked 103rd in the nation, out of 128 teams, last season, including being No. 114 in rushing yards allowed per game. Former LSU Defensive Coordinator John Chavis joins the team in that same role this season, and that gives Aggies fans lots of hope, as Chavis led one of the country’s top defensive units every season in Baton Rouge. [Read more…]

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: Defensive Line

By Aaron Hyden
PSDC College Football Contributor

The cornerstone of a great defense (some would say of an entire football team, in general) is a great defensive line. The pass rush that it creates makes life easier for the back end of the unit. Opposing running games would thrive in the open field without a great run defense at the line, clogging up holes. A good defensive lineman is often asked to do so many things these days, and the best ones do it with relative ease. The names on this list make great impacts on the games they play, whether it is being in a quarterback’s face every time they step back to throw the football, being ready to smash a running back before he can even get momentum built up, using his size advantage to affect a kicker’s attempts, or all of the above.

1. Joey Bosa, Defensive End, Ohio State – Many are calling Bosa the “next JJ Watt,” and for good reason. Bosa simply lives in opposing backfields, making life hell for anyone with a football in their hands. In his two seasons at OSU, he has a total of 99 tackles, 34.5 of them going for a loss, to go with 21 sacks and four forced fumbles… all while regularly being double-teamed or avoided altogether in the run game. Like Watt, Bosa plays with a great motor, always working hard and playing tough, no matter the score or situation.

Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

At 6’6” and 275 pounds with a 4.7 40, Bosa is in the mold of the prototypical NFL defensive end. He has great strength, elite quickness, long arms, fast hands and he combines them with tremendous instincts to change games. As a pass rusher, he is multi-faceted, able to get to QBs whether he’s lined up on the inside or the outside. He sheds blocks as if they were set up by people half his size, doing so with a variety of different moves, meaning that opposing linemen have to be ready for any move at any time. Those moves also allow him to blow up holes and running room for RBs, closing up gaps as soon as they open. He is as close to unblockable as they come. [Read more…]

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: Offensive Line

By Aaron Hyden
PSDC College Football Contributor

Year in and year out, football teams of both the professional and collegiate variety produce star after star on offense, with quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and the occasional tight end getting all the publicity for making things happen. Almost without fail, though, the offensive linemen on those teams don’t get the recognition they deserve for what they do. Your team’s running game is the best around? Thank the “hog mollies” that are paving the way up front. Your team’s QB is putting up all kinds of big passing numbers? Thank his blockers for keeping him upright.

This year’s group of O-Line prospects features another group of stud tackles at the top, followed by depth at all three positions to round things out. NFL teams need to build their franchises around players like this, and there will be a couple more squads to have that opportunity next year.

1. Laremy Tunsil, Tackle, Ole Miss – A very athletic blocker with the ability to succeed in the running or passing games, Tunsil came into college as a heavily-recruited player, and has lived up to the hype. He’s super quick out of his stance when the ball is snapped, which allows him to take on speed rushers coming in off the edge, where that athleticism comes in handy and keeps him fighting.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

In the run game, he uses his skill set to push holes open for his backs. Although he possesses a lot of strength, he doesn’t play in an offense that allows him to truly showcase it all the time. He isn’t what is considered a “road grader,” as he more finesses his way through run blocking, so he’ll have to show more of his power in 2015 if he wants to prove to NFL teams that he is the total package. [Read more…]

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: Running Backs

By Aaron Hyden
PSDC College Football Contributor

The NFL seems to go back-and-forth between being a run-first league and a pass-first league seemingly every few seasons. For a little while, league offenses were all about the passing game, with record-breaking quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady guiding their teams and taking them all the way. Things are beginning to shift again, as running backs are starting to become more important to a team’s success.

The NFL Draft Class of 2015 saw a loaded group of RBs, from Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon at the top, down to less talked-about gems like Ameer Abdullah, Duke Johnson, David Johnson and Jay Ajayi. As of now, the Class of 2016 isn’t as strong at the top, but one could argue that it provides more depth and more chance to find those hidden diamonds in middle rounds. As I did with the QBs, I’ll be looking at the top RBs in this class, why they’re ranked so high and what they need to do to continue seeing their stock rise throughout the season.

1. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State – The man came out of nowhere to become the best RB in the country last season, absolutely decimating defenses, especially at the end of the year, when he ran for a combined 696 yards and eight touchdowns in his final three games. None of those three defenses he shredded would be considered poor against the run. In fact, Alabama, who was the first of those teams, had a top 5 defense against the run all year, and they still saw Elliott run for a whopping 20 percent of the total rush yards (and two of the three rushing touchdowns) they gave up all season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Elliott possesses a rare blend of size (6’0”, 225 pounds) and speed (4.5 40), using both to wear defenses down. He isn’t afraid of contact, showing a penchant for taking defenders on directly and winning far more of those battles than he loses. He is at home between the tackles, but has shown that he can stretch to the outside for home run plays with ease. In the NFL, backs are often called on to catch passes out of the backfield or to block in the passing game, and those are both things Elliott excelled at last season. He is heads and shoulders above anyone else in this class, and is as complete a running back as there is in the country. [Read more…]

College Football Playoff Semifinal Preview

By Andrew Canan
PSDC Contributor

college-football-playoff

Saban vs Meyer. Mariota vs Winston. Storylines that TV executives could have only dreamt of when the College Football Playoff started to become a reality. Now, here we are. The countdown to the first College Football Playoff Semifinal game is now down to mere hours. Will Nick Saban get Alabama and the SEC back to its standard hoisting of the championship trophy in January? Will Jameis Winston and the ‘Noles complete the all-so-difficult feat of repeating as national champions? Can Marcus Mariota lead the Ducks to their first national championship? Can Urban Meyer lead the Buckeyes and the Big Ten to their first championship since 2002? We will have answers to all of those questions and more in a little less than two weeks. Before then, let’s take a quick look at the matchups we have before us.

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs Ohio State

What else is there to say about Alabama and Nick Saban except that they’ve been the program every other program can only hope to emulate. Winners of three of the last five national championships, they are certainly at the top of the college football mountain. This year has been no exception. [Read more…]

College Football’s First Four Out: A Case for Each

By Andrew Canan
PSDC Contributor

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

With just rivalry week and conference championship games left, it appears the final eight teams are set in place. The four who are currently in the College Football Playoff, if the season were to end today, and the four who are on the outside looking in. Of the four currently in the playoff, three of them seem to have their place solidified. Alabama, who is arguably playing the best football of any team in the country; Oregon, who has beaten their opponents by an average of 23.7 points since their upset loss to Arizona; and Florida State who, despite their numerous comebacks and close calls, is undefeated and is the reigning college football champ. Of course, each still faces the possibility of being defeated in their rivalry game, conference championship game or both but win and they’re in. [Read more…]

College Football: Apple Cart Turned Over…Again

By Bob Cole
PSDC Litigator

Kaelin-Clay-drops

Once again the apple cart has been turned over in college football. In yet another exciting weekend of football that had three highly desirable games being played at once, the standings will likely be shaken up by the playoff committee this Tuesday. [Read more…]

Here’s The Thing – James Bond, Ohio State And Your First Time

By Stephen Thomas
PSDC Funnyman and Brad Pitt Doppelgänger

I’m Stephen Thomas with Here’s The Thing.

I recently saw “The Spy Who Loved Me” on TV. Now, as a James Bond fan I know there are multiple Bond films that are better, but this was the first one I ever saw, way back when. Granted, this was in the 70’s, a time period my teenage daughter thinks we spent mostly wagon-training westward and fighting off injun attacks, and by comparison to today the special effects were pee wee football vs the zone blitz, but it was my first, and I love it, so shut up. [Read more…]

Dayton Bounces Ohio State from the NCAA Tournament

By Aaron De La Torre
PSDC Writer

Aaron Craft ended his Ohio State Buckeye career laying face-up with his hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling of the First Niagara Center. The final seconds had ticked off the clock, Craft had missed a last second floater in the paint, and the Buckeyes had just been eliminated from the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

At the opposite end of the court, the Dayton players piled on top of one another in celebration of their 60-59 upset victory over their in-state rival.

College basketball fans have been waiting all year for the madness, and the first game of the first full day of NCAA tournament action delivered. [Read more…]

5 Potential NCAA Tournament First Weekend Upsets

By Ryan Haidinger
PSDC Writer

If you’re like most people you check the bracket for two things, where your favorite team ended up and which upset pick will give you bragging rights over your friends. With that in mind here are five upsets that have a great chance of happening on the first weekend of the tournament.

1. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin over No. 5 VCU

Every year it seems there is at least one No. 12 seed beating a No. 5 seed, the trick is picking the right one. The Lumberjacks are no joke having won 28 straight games on their way to a 31-2 record. At 26-8 VCU is still a very good team, but they aren’t quite up to the level of Shaka Smart’s Final Four squad of 2012. The Lumberjacks strength of schedule isn’t very good so VCU will be by far their biggest test, but a team who wins 28 straight games and has senior guards is always dangerous.

Photo Credit: USA Today

Photo Credit: USA Today

2. No. 14 Mercer over No. 3 Duke

Mercer’s successful season is no fluke, the Bears won the Atlantic Sun regular season last year before losing to eventual Cinderella Florida Gulf Coast in the A-Sun tournament. The Bears are led by Senior Guard Langston Hall who averages almost 15 points and six assists per game. Lack of height is usually the downfall of an upset bid but Mercer features good size with 6’11 250 lb. Monty Brown, 6’10 220 lb. Daniel Coursey and 6’9 205 lb. T.J. Hallice all averaging over 10 minutes per game. [Read more…]