2015 All-NFL Draft Team, Preseason Edition
Although the 2014 NFL season has yet to begin, scouting departments throughout the league are already looking ahead to the 2015 NFL draft and its top potential prospects, such as Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff.
As all of these players still have (at least) a full season of college football left to play, it’s tough to project who will be the top players selected and who will be the most successful NFL players from the 2015 draft class. That said, each of the following college football stars has already displayed the potential to develop into an NFL great at his respective position.
Going into the upcoming college football season, these players would all be among the top choices for a starting lineup built entirely of 2015 NFL draft prospects.
The positions selected and number of players at each position are as they are annually for the Associated Press’ NFL All-Pro team. Only players eligible for the 2015 NFL draft are included.
QB: Jameis Winston, Florida State (R-So.)
Coming off one of the most spectacular freshman seasons in college football history, in which he won the Heisman Trophy and the BCS National Championship Game with Florida State, third-year sophomore quarterback Jameis Winston is ready to make a run at being the No. 1 overall pick.
Winston has prototypical physical tools for his position. Listed at 6’4” and 230 pounds by Florida State’s official athletics website, Winston is a strong-armed passer who throws an excellent deep ball and is a very good athlete for his size.
In two of the areas where young quarterbacks are most often flawed—footwork and throwing under pressure—Winston already excels. He needs to learn to make more efficient decisions, as he too often tries to force throws between tight coverages, but he already does a good job maneuvering his eyes and switching reads.
There are a couple of significant red flags that could capsize his draft stock.
First and foremost, his character is subject to serious questioning after he was the subject of a sexual assault investigation last fall; although he was not charged with any crime, he will have to leave any team considering drafting him satisfied that he has the maturity and morality to avoid off-field issues as an NFL player.
Winston’s elongated throwing delivery, which affects the timing of his passes, has also led some draft analysts to sour on him as a top prospect.
Nonetheless, there are far more positives than negatives in Winston’s on-field play, and he has the most pro-ready skill set of any quarterback in college football.
Winston is no sure bet to enter the 2015 NFL draft. His dad told Jeff Sentell of AL.com in July that the plan is for Winston to spend two more seasons at Florida State. That said, he’d be far from the first player to change his mind after initially intending to return to school, and staying could be especially tough for him to do if he remains projected as a top-10 draft pick.
RB: Todd Gurley, Georgia (Jr.)
There were no running backs selected in the first rounds of the past two NFL drafts, but Georgia’s Todd Gurley is a strong candidate to change that trend if he is in the draft pool in 2015.
Listed at 6’1” and 226 pounds, Gurley has ideal size for an NFL running back, while he has also consistently displayed big-play speed against some of the top defenses in college football.
He’s not a true power back, but he uses his size and strength well to bounce off contact in the open field. Combined with his ability to accelerate and his lateral agility, Gurley is a very tough back to stop once he gets a head of steam going.
Also a skilled pass-catcher out of the backfield, Gurley had 1,430 yards from scrimmage and 16 total touchdowns in 2013 despite battling an ankle injury that caused him to miss three games.
There could be concerns about Gurley’s ability to hold up over the course of an NFL season, as he has seemed to run out of gas late in games on a number of occasions. His tools at his best, however, are that of a Pro Bowl-caliber NFL feature back.
RB: Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (Jr.)
There might have been a first-round running back in this May’s draft had Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon declared as a redshirt sophomore.
Gordon is an explosive, home run-hitting runner who is a threat to turn any play into a big play. He combines a cannon-like burst out of the backfield with impressive downfield acceleration, great vision for finding running lanes and the lateral agility to cut on a dime.
He’s much better in space than he is trying to grind for yardage between the tackles, but Gordon has solid size for the position, listed at 6’1” and 213 pounds, and has demonstrated ability to bounce off contact to extend gains.
In rushing for 1,609 yards on 206 carries last season, Gordon showed that he’s not just a highlight-maker but also a player who can consistently move the chains for his offense.
The biggest question mark with Gordon is whether he will be able to consistently stay on the field in passing situations. He only has three receptions in two seasons with the Badgers and has not shown much as a pass-protector. Even so, his skills as a runner and impressive physical tools should make him a high draft choice.
FB: Jalston Fowler, Alabama
Jalston Fowler has primarily been a tailback in his first three seasons at Alabama, but the position he is set to play as a senior—fullback—is his most likely ticket to the NFL.
Fowler hasn’t had many carries in his time with the Crimson Tide but at 6’1” and 248 pounds, he is a big, bruising runner who can do damage between the tackles, while he is also a good pass-catcher out of the backfield and can pick up blitzers as a pass-blocker.
All of those attributes would make him a key contributor for a vast majority of college football teams, but in an Alabama backfield that currently includes T.J. Yeldon, Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake—all NFL talents—he has been buried on the depth chart.
If he asserts himself well as a lead-blocking fullback, which he will be in Lane Kiffin’s offense this year according to Drew Champlin of AL.com, his physical attributes should help him earn a spot on an NFL roster as a situational player.
The fullback position is endangered in NFL offenses, but having a wide variety of abilities like Fowler does is the key to establishing a career in the league nonetheless.
WR: Amari Cooper, Alabama (Jr.)
Amari Cooper is coming off a disappointing sophomore season, but he’s the favorite to be the top wide receiver in the 2015 draft class if he can play up to his potential as a junior.
At his best, Cooper exhibits the potential to be an outstanding wideout.
Cooper often helped AJ McCarron look good over the past two years by using his excellent downfield speed to catch up to overthrown passes. Meanwhile, Cooper also has the shiftiness to make defenders miss in space and is a fluid route-runner.
Listed at 6’1” and 210 pounds, Cooper doesn’t have ideal size for an outside receiver and could stand to add strength. That said, his ability to separate should enable him to continue to thrive outside.
The bigger concern with Cooper is that his 2013 season was muddled with drops. He has made plenty of spectacular catches already in his Alabama career, but to establish himself as a high first-round pick should he declare for the 2015 draft, he must prove he can consistently secure passes that come his way.
WR: DeVante Parker, Louisville
Had DeVante Parker declared for the draft as a junior this year, he likely would have been a mid-round selection in a wide receiver talent pool full of depth. By staying at Louisville for his senior year, he’ll have a chance to establish himself as a potential first-round pick in 2015.
Parker’s quest to raise his draft stock won’t be easy. He’ll have to play the best football of his career while catching passes from a quarterback other than Teddy Bridgewater, a first-round pick in this year’s draft who was the reliable throwing end of Parker’s receiving exploits for his first three seasons with the Cardinals.
The good news for Louisville, and especially for quarterback Will Gardner, is that Parker is known for making spectacular grabs that make the quarterback look better.
His production must continue to rise in 2014 if he is going to establish himself as a top-32 prospect, but Parker has the tools to be an excellent wideout. He has good size at 6’3” and 208 pounds, the speed to beat defenders deep, and magnificent body control and does a great job extending away from his body to make grabs.
Parker is not the most dynamic open-field athlete, but so long as he continues to develop, he should at least be a solid No. 2 receiver who makes a name for himself on highlight reels.
TE: Devin Funchess, Michigan (Jr.)
Devin Funchess is listed as a wide receiver on Michigan’s official website, but his physical attributes fit the modern prototype for an NFL tight end, the position he is likely to be projected as by league evaluators.
Funchess’ game is truly that of an oversized wide receiver rather than that of a traditional tight end, but he’s not going to be drafted to be a blocker.
Possessing impressive speed and leaping ability at 6’5” and 230 pounds, Funchess has the mismatch-creating ability that NFL teams covet at tight end. Bigger than virtually all defensive backs and faster than most linebackers, Funchess can line up as an in-line tight end, in the slot, as an outside wide receiver or even as an H-back.
He has the agility and route-running ability to create separation but can also win at the catch point with his strength. Funchess could certainly bolster his draft stock by bulking up and showing more blocking ability, but only if he can do so without losing any athleticism.
Funchess needs to be more consistently productive this season, especially as he moves outside to wide receiver, but a big year could propel him to the first round of the 2015 draft, should he declare.
OT: Brandon Scherff, Iowa
According to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports, Iowa left tackle Brandon Scherff is “the top rated college football senior according to one of the two scouting services used by NFL teams.” It’s not hard to see why.
Listed at 6’5” and 320 pounds, Scherff has ideal size for an offensive tackle and puts it to good use.
He has great strength, which he uses to clear defenders out of lanes as a run-blocker and control opponents as a pass-protector. He also has very good athleticism for his size.
Scherff takes full advantage of his physical skill set by being technically sound. He plays with great hand placement, consistent posture and clean footwork.
As pro-ready of a prospect as there is in the 2015 draft class, Scherff could project at either left or right tackle and is a likely top-10 pick.
OT: Andrus Peat, Stanford (Jr.)
While Brandon Scherff goes into the 2014-15 college football season as the best offensive tackle prospect in the nation, Stanford left tackle Andrus Peat could surpass him by the end of the year.
Peat has ideal size at 6’7” and 316 pounds, but is also an exceptional athlete. How athletic is Peat? Enough so that when Stanford Football posted a news release on its Facebook page on April Fools Day saying that Peat would play tight end in addition to left tackle this year, some fell for it.
Naturally light on his feet, Peat is very good at mirroring opponents in pass protection, while he can burst outside and to the second level to pick up run blocks.
Peat consistently has his hands and feet in sync and is an overall fundamentally sound offensive tackle, especially considering he has only one year of starting experience at Stanford under his belt.
The potential is there for Peat to emerge as a top-five overall pick should he declare for the 2015 draft. He didn’t demonstrate much ability to win with power as a sophomore, but another year of experience and strength work could make him a superstar prospect.
G: A.J. Cann, South Carolina
Already a three-year starter at South Carolina, A.J. Cann’s senior year could be the season in which he emerges as a top prospect for the NFL.
Cann has impressive athleticism for an interior offensive lineman. He is a natural mover who regularly shows that he can be an effective pull-blocker and can explode to the second level to clear defenders away from run.
At listed measurables of 6’4” and 311 pounds, the Gamecocks guard is a tad smaller than ideal for his position, but he has exhibited plenty of power against talented defensive lines in the SEC. He can drive defenders away from the line of scrimmage and rarely gets pushed back.
Guards have been an increasingly prioritized commodity in recent drafts, so Cann is in good position to establish himself as a first-round pick if he can continue to make impact blocks and be consistent throughout his senior year.
G: Arie Kouandjio, Alabama
In his first year as a starting guard in 2013, Alabama’s Arie Kouandjio began to demonstrate excellence while lining up alongside his younger brother, Cyrus Kouandjio, who went on to be the No. 44 overall pick in this year’s draft.
As a senior for the Crimson Tide, Arie Kouandjio will have the chance to emerge from his brother’s shadow, and he might end up being selected even higher.
Like his brother, who now plays for the Buffalo Bills, Arie Kouandjio is an outstanding physical specimen. He is listed at 6’5” and 315 pounds, has long arms and can overpower defensive linemen.
The older Kouandjio had a slower road to the starting lineup than his more highly touted younger brother, but he’s seemingly a better athlete. He has a good burst off the line of scrimmage and flashes the ability to move along the line of scrimmage and pick up blocks on loose defenders.
Set to line up at left guard again in 2014, Kouandjio has a chance to emerge as the star of Alabama’s offensive line.
He tends to play a bit too upright, doesn’t sustain his blocks as well as he should and has had knee issues, the latter of which could be his biggest red flag as a draft prospect. But he has shown enough potential with just one year of starting experience to possibly emerge as a first-round pick this season.
C: Reese Dismukes, Auburn
One of the many stars to emerge in Auburn’s run to the BCS National Championship Game last season was Reese Dismukes, who ended up being named a Rimington Trophy finalist as one of the nation’s top six centers in 2013.
In 2014, he might emerge as the best snapper in college football. Entering his fourth season as a starter, Dismukes is a player Auburn can rely on as the anchor of its offensive line.
Dismukes doesn’t overwhelm opponents with power or wow with athleticism, but he’s a strong, technically sound blocker. He keeps his head on a swivel and displays quick feet in switching blocks.
With a well-rounded game and plenty of experience, Dismukes should be able to take on an immediate role on an NFL offensive line. If he plays as well this year as he did last season, he should solidify himself as a Day 2 draft selection.
DE: Randy Gregory, Nebraska (Jr.)
There’s no Jadeveon Clowney in the 2015 class of edge defenders, but one player with the upside to emerge as a very high draft pick is Nebraska’s Randy Gregory.
As an athlete, Gregory has wow factor. He has an exceptional burst and great length at 6’6” and 240 pounds and can close in a hurry to make a play.
With experience playing both on the edge with his hand in the dirt and also standing up as a linebacker, Gregory has the versatility to fit any defensive scheme.
Gregory needs to bulk up to be a three-down defensive end in the NFL, as he is undersized for the position and gets pushed around at times versus the run. He also needs to develop more skill with his hands, as his pass-rushing repertoire was quite limited last season.
His game remains very raw, but that didn’t stop him from compiling 9.5 sacks, 16 total tackles for loss and 65 total tackles in his first year at Nebraska out of junior college. He won’t be able to get by on his raw athleticism alone in the NFL, but his potential for stardom is evident.
Should Gregory’s game make necessary progressions this year and he declares for the 2015 draft, he’s a potential top-five overall pick.
DE: Alvin “Bud” Dupree, Kentucky
Kentucky hasn’t produced nearly as much NFL talent as most of its SEC peers in recent years, but the school has a potential first-round draft selection among its senior class this year in defensive end Alvin “Bud” Dupree.
Among the players chosen by Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman for his annual ranking of the top “Freaks” in college football, Dupree is a fantastic athlete who has an explosive burst off the snap and bends well around the edge.
Dupree flies to the football and has experience playing both as a defensive end and as a stand-up linebacker. Listed at 6’4” and 264 pounds, Dupree has good measurables and the versatility to project as an edge defender in any scheme.
In his senior season, scouts will want to see improved strength against the run and a more well-developed set of pass-rushing moves. He wasn’t deficient in either area last year, but needs to project a more complete skill set to establish himself as a top-32 choice in the 2015 draft.
If he continues on the track of development he has had over the course of his Kentucky career, improvement should be expected for a breakout senior campaign. Should that be the case, his upside will tantalize NFL teams.
DT: Leonard Williams, USC (Jr.)
One of the most talented non-quarterbacks in all of college football, USC’s Leonard Williams stands out—even among many of his peers on this list—as one of the top prospects in the 2015 draft.
Listed as a defensive end by USC’s official athletics website, Williams possesses the versatility to play both outside and inside, but his highest upside comes as a 4-3 defensive tackle or 3-4 defensive end. A tremendous athlete at 6’5” and 300 pounds, Williams has terrific measurables for a penetrator on the interior defensive line.
Possessing a fast first step and impressive closing speed, Williams is a skilled gap-shooter who can bring heat on opposing quarterbacks and blow up runs in the backfield. He also has great strength for his size.
Physically, Williams has all the tools to achieve excellence at the next level. Technically, Williams still has work to do to enhance his pass-rushing moves and become a more consistent presence versus the run.
Williams has the talent to emerge as a top-10 draft choice, but the teens might be a more realistic landing spot. He has many comparable traits to Sheldon Richardson and Aaron Donald, the top defensive tackles selected in the past two drafts, who were both No. 13 overall picks.
DT: Michael Bennett, Ohio State
Already one of the most disruptive defenders in college football last season, Ohio State’s Michael Bennett has the skill set to emerge as a high first-round choice after his senior year.
Bennett has great quickness off the snap, plays with high effort and uses his hands very well to break down blockers.
He’s undersized for a defensive tackle at 6’2” and 288 pounds, but he exhibits solid point-of-attack strength nonetheless. While Bennett won’t purely overpower opponents, he has shown the ability to drive through blocks by playing with proper pad level and obtaining leverage.
Bennett should be able to thrive as either a 3-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 front or as a 5-technique defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. He’s at his best as an interior pass-rusher, but can develop into an every-down NFL player if he bulks up and add strength, while he presents the versatility to potentially play on the edge as a run-stopper.
OLB: Vic Beasley, Clemson
After emerging as one of college football’s most dynamic pass-rushers last season, Clemson’s Vic Beasley could have declared for the 2014 draft and been one of the first edge defenders off the board. Having decided to return for his senior year, he remains likely to be a high first-round pick in 2015.
Combining fantastic first-step quickness with great speed around the corner and an impressive array of pass-rushing moves, Beasley tied for third in the FBS with 13 sacks and was fourth with 23 total tackles for loss in 2013.
At the very least, Beasley should be a dangerous situational pass-rusher on an NFL defense. His athleticism and hand skills should compare favorably to any edge defender in the 2015 class, while he has also demonstrated the ability to generate effective bull rushes.
Whether Beasley can be a consistent factor against the run is far more in doubt. While he plays defensive end for Clemson, a move to outside linebacker is likely in his future unless he bulks up significantly from his 6’3”, 235-pound frame.
He can make big plays by chasing down runners in pursuit, but gets pushed around too easily at the line of scrimmage and doesn’t have much experience playing in space at the second level.
Weaknesses considered, Beasley still looks like a sure-fire first-rounder unless his play significantly drops off this season. He’s a better fit for a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker than he is for any position in a 4-3 scheme, but his ability to bring heat should translate to any scheme.
OLB: Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville
Louisville had two first-round picks from its defense, No. 18 overall pick Calvin Pryor and No. 26 selection Marcus Smith, in this year’s draft. Lorenzo Mauldin is a strong candidate to follow in their footsteps in 2015.
After three years as a 4-3 defensive end, Mauldin is set to move to outside linebacker as Louisville shifts to a 3-4 this season, according to Mike Huguenin of NFL.com. The move that should be beneficial to Mauldin, as 3-4 OLB is how he projects best to the NFL.
Mauldin’s abilities to drop back into coverage and make plays in space are unproven at this point, but his pass-rushing ability is already well-demonstrated. His get-off is average by NFL standards, but he is fast around the edge and uses his hands well.
As an edge defender, Mauldin has displayed enough strength to hold up as a run-stopper at the line of scrimmage. That said, the 6’4”, 244-pounder would be expected to bulk up if he were to move back to defensive end in an NFL 4-3 scheme.
The scheme versatility Mauldin possesses and his ability to impact both passing and running plays should make him a valuable asset in the early rounds of the draft.
ILB: Denzel Perryman, Miami
The University of Miami has had many linebackers go on to be early-round draft picks. Denzel Perryman appears to be next in line.
An athletic, instinctive linebacker who finishes tackles with authority and closes quickly on the ball in short areas, Perryman has accumulated 240 tackles over the first three years of his Hurricanes career. Set to become their full-time middle linebacker in 2014, Perryman should only continue to make a great number of plays.
Listed at 6’0” and 242 pounds, Perryman plays with aggression and keeps himself around the ball consistently.
He has the physical skill set to be an effective coverage linebacker, but he hasn’t been able to win matchups consistently in that capacity.
Perryman projects best as a 3-4 inside linebacker, but with experience playing both outside and in the middle, he could also compete for any spot on a 4-3 defense. A first-round projection would be a stretch for Perryman unless he shows significant improvement as a pass defender in 2014, but he looks like a solid second-round choice and quite possibly the first inside linebacker to be drafted.
ILB: Stephone Anthony, Clemson
A big and explosive defender in the middle of Clemson’s defense, Stephone Anthony is well suited to take on the role of a “thumper” in an NFL linebacker corps.
Anthony is a physical hitter who drives through opponents when he tackles them. He has great size for a middle linebacker at 6’3” and 245 pounds. He instinctively diagnoses plays and can act on his reads with an explosive downhill burst.
While he has shown some ability to make plays on passes in the air, Anthony will likely be an inside run-stopping specialist in the NFL. He is an aggressive playmaker in short areas, but his range and coverage skills are somewhat limited.
Anthony, who had 86 tackles, including 15 for loss, in 2013, is best suited to line up as a 4-3 middle linebacker or as a 3-4 inside linebacker. He should be a solid pickup in the early to middle rounds for a team looking to add some authority to the inside of its run defense.
CB: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon
Another player who is highly rated by one of the NFL’s scouting services, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports, Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu likely would have been a top-25 selection had he declared for the 2014 draft, but he decided to return for his senior year.
Ekpre-Olomu has an excellent skill set in coverage. He is highly instinctive, has quick feet and fluid hips, doesn’t shy away from contact with bigger receivers and has great ball skills.
Listed at only 5’10” and 195 pounds, Ekpre-Olomu is undersized at a position where the prototype is quickly becoming bigger. His game makes him well suited to play slot cornerback, where many will project him because of his measurables, but his speed and physicality should enable him to continue to play on the outside as well.
A hard hitter in run support, Ekpre-Olomu is a strong wrap-up tackler who has proven that he can take bigger receivers and backs down to the ground. He is also very good at ripping the ball out to force fumbles; as a sophomore in 2012, he did that six times.
Ekpre-Olomu’s size limitations leave the door open for other cornerbacks to vault him on draft boards, but he’s the most NFL-ready defensive back in college football right now.
CB: Marcus Peters, Washington (Jr.)
Two years after Desmond Trufant went from being a Washington cornerback to being a first-round selection, Marcus Peters could do the same if he declares for the 2015 NFL draft as a fourth-year junior.
Peters is a fast runner with great hip fluidity and a proven ability to make plays on the ball. He instinctively breaks on passes and demonstrates physicality in coverage.
Listed at 6’0” and 190 pounds, Peters has limited but adequate size. His quick feet, leaping ability and toughness have enabled him to be consistently competitive with bigger opponents during his collegiate career.
With eight interceptions in just two playing seasons at Washington, Peters has already made a good number of big plays for the Huskies. He’ll have plenty of competition this year to be a top cornerback prospect for the upcoming draft, but he’s as talented as anyone at the position.
FS: Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State
Combining the range of a center fielder with playmaking ability in both coverage and run support, Kurtis Drummond stands out as the top safety prospect in the senior class.
Drummond projects best as a free safety, where his athleticism can be best utilized. He can patrol the back end of a secondary and has demonstrated great ball skills with eight career interceptions at Michigan State, including a spectacular one-handed takeaway against Western Michigan in the Spartans’ season opener last year.
An active defender who accumulated 91 tackles as a junior, Drummond flies to the football and covers ground quickly. His tackling form could improve, but his hits pack a punch.
Listed at 6’1” and 202 pounds, Drummond has decent size for his position and should test relatively well in pre-draft workouts.
If Drummond can follow up a strong junior season with a good final frame of his collegiate career, he has a good shot at being a first-round pick in 2015.
SS: Landon Collins, Alabama (Jr.)
The Alabama football program has had two safeties, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix this year and Mark Barron in 2012, selected within the first round in the past three drafts. With a similar rise to stardom in his junior year, Landon Collins could end up being a better prospect than either of them.
A well-rounded athlete, Collins covers ground fluidly and efficiently. He can explode to plays in front of him and is highly active in run support, but he can also drop back into coverage efficiently.
He needs to become more consistent in coverage but has a knack for making plays on the ball, as indicated by his two interceptions, eight total passes defensed and two forced fumbles in his sophomore season.
A big hitter and solid tackler, Collins is at his best as a playmaker in the box. His versatility to be moved between levels of the defense and handle any safety role, however, is what he makes him a likely first-round pick.
Should Collins declare for the 2015 draft, he is likely to be the top strong safety selection and could challenge Drummond to be the first safety at either spot off the board.
K: Marvin Kloss, South Florida
Marvin Kloss missed five field-goal attempts last season, but all five of his misses, according to ESPN.com, were from 40 or more yards out. Those misses didn’t stop Kloss from converting four field goals from 50 or more yards out and 11 field goals from at least 40, both marks that led the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2013.
Kloss’ ability to convert field goals from deep made him a finalist for the Lou Groza Award last season—his first as South Florida’s placekicker—and it should draw the interest of NFL scouts if he can keep it up in his senior year.
NFL teams could attach a red flag to Kloss’ character, as he was arrested in 2010 for stealing a watch, but he is likely to get a shot as either a draft pick or camp invite.
P: Spencer Roth, Baylor
A big punter at 6’5” and 220 pounds, Spencer Roth will have a chance to make it in the NFL if he can cap his four-year Baylor career with another strong season.
Roth averaged 45.8 yards per punt as a junior for the Bears in 2013. According to Baylor’s official athletics website, 17 of his 52 punts were downed inside the 20-yard line.
He’ll have to show even more consistency with his distance, hangtime and placement if he’s going to be a draft selection, but Roth’s name is one punter-needy teams should know next offseason.
RET: Ty Montgomery, Stanford
Arguably the top senior pass-catcher in college football, Ty Montgomery would have been a valid choice as one of the two wide receivers on this team, but he gets on nonetheless for his additional ability to be an impact player on kickoff returns.
Montgomery has very good speed, but what really allows him to excel as a returner is his field vision and his ability to both see lanes quickly and reach them because of his speed and acceleration.
During his junior season at Stanford last year, Montgomery had two kickoff return touchdowns and a 30.31-yard return average, second-best in the FBS, across 36 runbacks.
He’s not electric enough as a returner to be drafted solely for that reason, but it could lead a team to draft him over other wide receivers who lack his return skills.
A reliable pass-catcher who runs good intermediate routes and can run away from defenders in the open field, Montgomery’s combination of size (6’2”, 220 pounds) and speed makes him an intriguing offensive and special teams prospect who is likely to be a Day 2 draft selection.
All measurables courtesy of the players’ respective schools’ official athletics websites. All statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com, unless otherwise noted.
Dan Hope is an NFL/NFL Draft Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.