Taylor and Robert’s Big Board

Taylor and Robert's Big Board

The two opinionated analysts pose for a picturing representing their often clashing rankings of the athletes.

Story by Taylor Potter and Robert Hoover, Sports Editor and Staff Writer

With the Combine behind us and the NFL Draft coming up soon, and team executives, coaches and sports fans are beginning to dissect this year’s class to try and find the cream of the crop. We have meticulously analyzed the results of the Combine and developed our very own big board, listing the 32 most talented players in this year’s class. This is no way a mock draft, but just a list of the athletes in terms of value.


1. Luke Joeckl, OT, Texas A&M

1-Luke Joeckl

This is a draft class that lacks star power, but that doesn’t take anything away from Joeckl’s abilities. As the veteran leader of a dominant Aggie offense, he displayed his skills in pass protection, superior athleticism and excellent footwork. He does lack strength, but this should be fixed with an NFL conditioning program. His only real downfalls are his shorter-than-average reach and his lack of experience. He has played almost exclusively out of the shotgun and will have to learn other formations.


2. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama

2010-2011 Football Mugs

Milliner is by far the best defensive back in this draft. He displays top-grade speed and size; necessary tools for keeping up with NFL receivers. His ability to use his hands to gain an edge over opposing receivers is a plus. His greatest attribute is probably his ability to cover any player and to make big plays. He does need to work on his tackling. He was often bowled over by elite SEC running backs and larger receivers. He also needs to build his upper body strength in order to be successful. His timing can be an issue. Milliner will often jump prematurely and give up a big play.


3. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah

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Lotulelei really made a name for himself against USC, as he is completely dominant around the line of scrimmage. He is a versatile player with superb strength and excellent quickness. He does lack the flexibility needed to cut upfield and wrap up a ball carrier. He often will not use his hands, relying on brute force to move back opposing linemen. He also lacks the mean streak that you look for in premier defensive players.


4. Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU

4-Barkevious Mingo

Mingo is a dream for teams needing an edge for their pass. He played defensive end in college, but he has the speed and length necessary to play as an outside linebacker. His agility and strength are also incredible considering his size and speed. His body type does lead scouts to believe that he will have difficulty adding much needed weight. He also tends to be over-aggressive. He often jumps offsides or outruns the ball carrier. This should improve with playing time and good coaching.


5. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State University

FSU Football Headshots: Bjoern Werner

The Seminoles underachieved this season, but Werner played no part in their failure. He is heralded as one of the best defensive ends available and has been projected to go as high as second. He is a tremendously smart athlete and has deep knowledge of the game. He also has incredible jumping ability; a great attribute for pass rushing ends. He displays incredible quickness around the edge. His size leaves a lot to be desired. He tends to give up late in games; showing his lack of stamina. This should improve in an NFL conditioning program. He displays a lack of technique; often relying on his superior quickness.


6. Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

6-Dion Jordan

As a member of the incredibly athletic Ducks defense, Jordan proved himself as an elite defender against some of the faster college offenses. He uses his hands well in order to create and maintain leverage against bigger linemen. He has amazing agility and works well against the slower offensive tackles. Like Mingo, he has the length required to play this position. He does lack the strength needed to beat NFL-caliber linemen. He also has had trouble with injuries, so he might be a bit of a gamble.


7. Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan

7-Eic Fisher

He may be from a smaller university, but he’s well worth consideration in the first round. He has the size needed to play at the NFL level, as well as flawless technique. He also plays with an ideal degree of meanness; showing no mercy to the opposition. He displays incredible quickness for a big fella. He does lack balance, but this could be corrected with experience. His strength is also an area of concern. He will often lose leverage because of sloppy hands.


8. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

Jones_Jarvis

Jones has seen his stock increase exponentially after this season. He was heralded as one of the nation’s best pass rushers. He is a versatile athlete with the ability to play all over the field. He’s fast and has excellent quickness. He does lack experience, but this is only a minor setback. His size isn’t ideal. Injuries have been an issue in the past.


9. Kennan Allen, WR, California

BERKELEY, CA - AUGUST 5, 2012.  Cal Football Fall 2012 Portraits.

He is the best receiver in this draft. He has superior size, which should enable him to compete with NFL size defenders. He is incredibly agile and flexible, giving him the ability to balance and make catches along the sideline. Allen displays great awareness for a young receiver. He’s not afraid to get physical against defenders. Though he is a physical player, he lacks the ability to block. His speed is also an issue. He will not outrun NFL defensive backs.


10. Chance Warmack, G, Alabama

Football Mugs #65 Chance Warmack Warmack_Chance_

His name really says it all. He is strong, aggressive offensive lineman that has already attacked some of the best defensive linemen available while playing in the SEC West. He also has great quickness for an interior lineman. His technique certainly needs improvement, and doesn’t have the speed needed to pull around the line. He also lacks some experience that would be necessary in the NFL.


11. Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

11-Sheldon Richardson

He is an athletic defender with fantastic playmaking ability. He has the perfect size and displays top-notch speed for his position. Richardson is able to drop back and hold his own in coverage if need be. His strength isn’t anything notable. He doesn’t make the full use of his hands when fighting off linemen. He has been hit by injuries before.


12. Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State University

12-Johnathan Hankins

Hankins gained national publicity as a star contributor to this overachieving Buckeye team. He is one of the best when it comes to stopping the run and gives his complete effort on every play. He has superb strength and is very athletic. His size is perfect for a young defensive tackle. Speed is an issue and his technique is sloppy. Injuries could be an issue, as he has had problems with them previously.


13. Jonathan Cooper, G, North Carolina

13-Jonathan Cooper

Based on technique, Cooper is definite first round pick. He is very athletic and is sound in his mechanics. He’s excellent in pass protection, mostly due to his ability to recover after making a mistake. He is exceedingly quick and has adequate strength for the position. His build isn’t necessarily ideal for an NFL lineman and he sometimes doesn’t make full use of his gifts. He is also prone to mental lapses.


14. Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

14-Damontre Moore

You expect big things from a guy nicknamed “DaMonster” by his teammates. He has a very long body, allowing him reach through the line and wrap up ball carriers. He’s an excellent pass rusher. He plays very quick and has superb strength. His handwork will need to improve. He doesn’t know how to use his flexibility. His spin move is depressing to say the least. He really isn’t very explosive and may not be a consistent threat on the edge.


15. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford

Zachary Ertz

Ertz is an athletic end built from the Dallas Clark mold. He displays top-level quickness and has great size at the tight end spot. He gets very physical when fighting off coverage. He catches the ball well and way from his body. He is an extraordinary leader. Injuries have been an issue. He isn’t the fastest guy in the world. His routes are far from perfect and his blocking is poor. He lacks the strength required to be dominant in the NFL.


16. Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma

16-Lane Johnson

Johnson gained notoriety as a member of the explosive Sooner offense. He has excellent athleticism and is a quick player. He is also a very mean and aggressive player that will not show mercy to his opposition. He uses his hands to gain leverage and excels in this area. He lacks experience, but this will easily be overcome in time. His size leaves a lot to be desired. His strength is an area of concern.


17. Alexander Ogletree, ILB, Georgia

Ogletree_Alexander

He is a linebacker that plays like a safety. He is incredibly fast and has an enormous range of moves in coverage. He uses his hands very well to fight receivers over the middle. He is over aggressive at times and tends to overrun plays. He is horrible at fighting off blockers at the second level. His tackling is dreadful.


18. John Jenkins, DT, Georgia

Jenkins_John

Physically, Jenkins is as sound as they come. He has great size and the strength to go along with it. He has excellent quickness and can move around interior linemen. He is not flexible and will lose his balance. He lacks the ability to get leverage consistently. He is incompetent when it comes to shedding blocks.


19. Kenny Vacarro, S, University of Texas

19-Kenny Vaccaro

He is one of the toughest safeties in this draft. He has incredible strength for a defensive back. He’s a great tackler and displays excellent athleticism. He is able to catch the ball away from his body and has amazing agility. He lacks the speed you look for in a safety. His technique in coverage leaves a lot to be desired. He tends to only rely on his strength instead of fighting for leverage. Injuries may be an issue in the future.


20. Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

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This is a player that could give an opposing team a headache. He has the motor that allows him to play all four quarters with maximum effort. He excels on gaining leverage against larger linemen. He is very quick and possesses great strength. He’s not very athletic. His size isn’t ideal and his pass rushing ability is lacking.


21. Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

21-Terrance Williams

Even after losing Heisman winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, Williams was still a dominant force on offense. He has ideal size for an NFL receiver and should be able to compete against larger defensive backs. He displays top-notch speed and has the body control needed to make difficult catches. He’s a superb route runner; one of the best in the nation. His blocking played a big part in the Baylor running game. He’s not necessarily quick and doesn’t have as much experience as other receivers.


22. Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU

22-Kevin Minter

Even on a defense as talented as the Tiger’s, Minter still shined. He is an aggressive tackler that will dominate at the point of attack. He doesn’t shy away from contact. He takes great angles when going for a tackle. He wraps up ball carriers well and hits hard. Running backs and receivers will not break his tackles. He’s exceedingly fast for a linebacker. His aggressiveness will cause him to overrun a play occasionally. His coverage skills could use some sharpening, but this will come in time.


23. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

23-Eddie Lacy

The running game has always been a point of emphasis at Alabama, and this has been no different with Lacy running the ball. He’s a powerful runner that can break a lot of tackles. He displays great strength at times. He’s a very patient runner with excellent agility and moves. He will make poor decisions at times regarding running lanes. His blocking is pitiful.


24. Datone Jones, DE, UCLA

24-Datone Jones

Jones’ greatest asset is his leadership ability, but he also has some physical tools that certainly help his draft stock. He’s very versatile and could be moved around the defensive line. He uses his hands well to gain leverage. He tends to lose his balance and will end up on the ground too often. He lacks flexibility and agility.


25. Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame

25-Manti Te'o

Teo’s stock has plummeted since his terrible performance in the National Championship and his recent “catfish” fiasco, but that’s not to say that he can’t be a great NFL linebacker. He has great size and is usually a sound tackler. He always hustles and never gives up on a play. He is an Eagle Scout (a huge plus) and brings a tremendous amount of character and leadership to the team. His height can get him into trouble. His technique is a little flawed and could use some honing. He’s not necessarily fast. I suppose we should say that his overactive imagination can get him into trouble.


26. Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

26-Sharrif Floyd

The Florida defense was full of overachievers, but Floyd wasn’t one of them–his talent didn’t leave much room for it. He’s an athletic lineman with the ability to prey on less-maneuverable runners. He has great strength and has the mean streak required to use it. He moves very well for a bigger guy. He has missed playing time for injuries and for a suspension due to receiving benefits from the school, leading to a lack of experience. His size isn’t great.


27. Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington

27-Desmond Trufant

Trufant displays all the physical tools needed to be an NFL corner, just without the technique. He’s incredibly fast and has great athleticism. He’s very quick and can outmaneuver receivers. His size is great for battling NFL wideouts. He lacks the strength required to be a physical corner. His tackling is nothing short of abysmal. His technique needs desperate help. He lacks the ability to get leverage.


28. Eric Reid, S, LSU

28- Eric Reid

No matter what Reid goes on to do, he will always be adored by LSU fans for his miraculous interception in “The Game of the Century” against Alabama. He has adequate size for a safety and has excellent speed. He is a sure tackler and is a huge big hitter. He also displays soft hands and will come up big in tense situations. He can be overly aggressive and may make some unnecessary hits. He also had a surgery-requiring injury in high school, but it hasn’t caused any problems during his collegiate career.

29. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

29-Tyler Eifert

He’s a tough, physical end with great size. He has great footwork both at the line and downfield. He has great agility for a bigger guy. He is a little lean to be an NFL tight end. He is a terrible blocker. He will sometimes let passes slip through his hands. He has flashes of greatness, but he is pretty inconsistent.


30. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas

30- Tyler Wilson

Wilson has been the cornerstone of the explosive Arkansas offense since Ryan Mallett left even though the Razorbacks were absolutely disgraceful. Wilson is certainly smarter than his homegrown predecessor and takes on a bigger leadership role than Mallett did. He’s a tough player that can take multiple hits. He’s very strong and has the perfect size for a quarterback. His arm strength gives him the ability to make all the throws. He’s slow; not quite as slow as Mallett, but slow nonetheless. His throwing motion tends to be a little too long for comfort. He’s not athletic by any means. He’s a pocket passer that will have to be protected well.


31. Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU

31- Ezekiel Ansah

He has excellent size and has a near-flawless technique. He is also a very fast player that can move around slower linemen. He doesn’t have great stamina and tires quickly. His play is inconsistent and his handwork is almost nonexistent.


32. Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas

32 Cobi Hamilton

As one of Texas High’s favorite alumni, Hamilton went on to dominate SEC secondaries. He was really the only target that quarterback Tyler Wilson trusted. He has superior size and is able to blow by defenders with his long legs, speed and top-level agility. He’s very physical after the catch. His route running needs some work. He will sometimes have lapses in concentration, leading to drops. His catching ability needs to be developed further.