UPDATED, FRIDAY, MARCH 30
Movement up or down the Softli Big Board board was based off film evaluation and any major ongoing concerns a prospect may have. Players with an asterisk (*) entered the draft with eligibility remaining.
1. QB *Andrew Luck Stanford
Luck didn’t throw at the combine, but no worries because his DNA (film) speaks for its self. He displayed very good athletic ability through his drill work at the combine. Luck’s attributes for the position and skill set along with intelligence will make him very successful at the next level. Luck will become the next quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts.
Update: Had an extremely impressive Pro Day.
2. QB *Robert Griffin III Baylor
Several league sources told me he blew the interview process out of the water with his personality, football intelligence and charisma, which we saw during his press conference with 150-plus media members. His speed was not a shock to me, because I can see that on film, to be honest, I thought it would be slightly faster than reported. RG3 is an intelligent, explosive athletic quarterback that will bring a different dimension to the next level.
Update: Had a very impressive Pro Day.
3. RB *Trent Richardson Alabama
The best running back in the draft was unable to perform at the Combine because of recent knee surgery to remove cartilage. When speaking with him for a moment, his personality is clearly a major part of his running style. He is competitive in everything he does. Despite his large volume of DNA (film), he must show teams he is ready to roll at his Pro Day.
Update: Richardson had an outstanding workout, including a 4.45 40 per several current and former NFL scouts at his Pro Day March 29.
4. WR *Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State
The top receiver in this year’s draft was hampered with a tender hamstring and didn’t run the 40-yard dash, but showed toughness to push through the drill work. While his performance was not overly impressive, I liked his passion to compete, contorting his body to high point balls and diving for several as well. Despite his completed body of work, Blackmon will need to impress scouts and executives on his Pro Day with a timed 40 in the low 4.5s or better to solidify himself as a top-five pick.
5. OT *Matt Kalil USC
He came to the combine as the No. 1 ranked offensive tackle, and left with the same ranking. Very athletic with explosive strength in the bench press and his natural movement skills in the drill workout is what you see on film. Talented player with frame to add more bulk. Will remain a top-five pick in my mind.
6. CB Morris Claiborne LSU
Very good athletic skill set, smooth and natural in movement on film that transferred to the Combine drill work. Claiborne has nice footwork in his peddle with balance and acceleration, can flip hips and transition with burst and acceleration, with a smooth glide in stride. Good football instincts; I don’t like the fact that he open bales a high percentage of the time. Former receiver with natural ball skills and soft hands to attack the ball at the highest point. Will need some reps but that is not a negative.
Update: Had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his wrist.
7. DT/NT *Michael Brockers LSU
This big man has size, length and athletic ability, along with the skill set to develop into a very good player at the next level. A one season phenom, still has growth and development ahead of him but his upside is huge. His Combine workout lacked impressive numbers for defensive linemen, and will need to improve at his Pro Day to keep him in the top 10 players. I know what I saw on film and a poor 40 and non-impressive bench press is not enough to push this player down the board.
Update: Receiving a lot of attention from several teams as a potential nose tackle.
8. QB Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M
No one was more disappointed that he couldn’t perform at the Combine than himself. Tannehill had surgery on his foot, with a screw inserted to repair a broken bone that landed him on the sideline watching his peers. A former receiver turned quarterback his junior year, he is extremely athletic, has a strong arm, is smart and competes at a high level in both practices and games per several school sources. I like what I see on film. He is still raw, but has all the attributes to develop into a very good quarterback at the next level. His broken foot or the inability to showcase his talent at the Combine will not hurt this signal-callers draft status for me. His DNA (film) is in the bank, despite limited starts at the position.
Update: Had an outstanding Pro Day March 29 at Texas A&M with several NFL coaches, general managers and scouts in attendance. With Christian Ponder, Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert going high in the first round of last year's draft, this quarterback deserves the same attention within the top 10 picks. Like Mark Sanchez (New York Jets), who didn’t have 20-plus collegiate starts, Tannehill will also go high. The NFL covets talented young quarterbacks they can develop into franchise quarterbacks, and Tannehill has all the attributes to do so.
9. DE/3/4 OLB
Melvin Ingram South Carolina Several scouts have told me his arms are too short, and has an inconsistent motor. STOP! This is an exceptional football player and a very good athlete. Defensive linemen will take a play off, but this defender’s motor runs fast on film. Ingram had an excellent Combine workout across the board. His lower body explosion in the vertical jump of 34.5 was impressive, but his shuttle times (3-cone 6.83 and short shuttle 4.15) was that of running backs. While I might have this player a little high, it is tough to find a well-rounded defensive lineman on film that can stack the run and rush the passer with the same competitive nature. He is relentless.
Update: Had an extremely impressive Pro Day in front of 22 NFL teams. Former quarterback with excellent movement skills and is now projected as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
10. S Mark Barron Alabama
A three-year starter for Nick Saban’s defense, this versatile plug and play safety is the total package with a great combination of size and speed, length, explosive tackling skills and football instincts. Has impressive DNA (film) with exceptional career statistics. Barron didn’t participate at the Combine due to hernia surgery. This is one football player I would draft without a workout. Moved up from No. 11.
Update: Still unable to work out.
11. OT *Riley Reiff Iowa
Good Combine numbers not great, but has a chance to improve overall numbers at his Pro Day. I was more impressed with Reiff when evaluating his film. While he is not the complete player, he has huge upside along with size, length, feet are competitive and he comes from the Kirk Ferentz school for offensive linemen. Moved up from No. 12.
12. DE Quinton Coples
North Carolina I was extremely excited to watch him at the Senior Bowl because of size and speed combination and athletic skill set. What I saw on film, I saw at the Senior Bowl. He is extremely athletic and dominates when he wants to. Coples’ motor idles too often, he never consistently cuts it loose, and seems to think too highly of his ability. Will need a veteran to take him under their wing and teach him how to become a pro’s pro early in his career. I’ve heard the comparisons to Julius Peppers, who I helped draft when in Carolina. Coples is bigger coming out, but lacks the freaky athletic ability, and Peppers’ motor which run fast and relentless with consistent chase and pursuit. Combine numbers showed some stiffness in hips in shuttle results (3-cone 7.57, short shuttle 4.78), and good not great lower body explosion in the vertical jump (31.5). Upside is huge if he recognizes his potential and plays to it consistently. Moved up from No. 13.
13. DT/DE *Fletcher Cox Mississippi State
One of the best workouts of all the defensive linemen. This player has a good combination size and athletic skills with very good speed. A former 240-pound sprinter in high school, who anchored his 4x100 relay team, displayed his speed in the 40-yard dash at 4.79. Will need to further develop lower-body explosion, but plays well with his length (34½ arms) on film with a motor that runs fast. A versatile defensive lineman to align at defensive end in sub packages and defensive tackle in base defense. His disruptive competitive attitude along with athletic ability allows him to remain in the top 15 players. Moved up from No. 14.
14. ILB *Luke Kuechly Boston College
He earned the nickname of the Human Eraser, and when watching film I can see why. When I started his film work several weeks ago, with a few tapes remaining, I always question defensive statistics when it comes to tackles. There was no manufacturing of numbers here; production is off the charts. A better athlete at the Combine than I saw on film, which is not a negative. Kuechly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58, with 38-inch vertical jump and a 4.12 short shuttle, which is outstanding for any position, but extremely exceptional for a 6-3 linebacker who can bend, change direction with burst and acceleration. He had a very impressive workout. His competitiveness, motor and passion were glaring. Moved down from No. 10.
15. OG *David DeCastro Stanford
For an offensive guard to pop onto my top 20, he must be a dominant interior player, who is strong with athletic ability, violent use of hands and plays the game with a passion and DeCastro has all those traits. When you take a look at his Combine picture, you see a very intense person, which he displayed on the field. DeCastro has the combination of size and explosion grouped with competitive urgency on every play I viewed on film. I love this players physical attitude, smarts, versatility to play inline and in space.
16. DT *Dontari Poe Memphis
I saw the athletic ability in drill work and the 40-yard dash displayed at the Combine on tape. What I didn’t see was the explosive strength on tape compared to the 44 reps with 225 pounds on the bench press. Is not a dominant interior defensive player, danced at line of scrimmage too often and is inconsistent to defeat double teams. I graded his flashes; once you see the ability, it’s there, now coaches need to get that out of him consistently. He is best when running free and moving laterally to clear trash and locate ball carrier consistently. Can be disruptive on pass rush. Huge upside, doesn’t play lazy, will leave field for a blow and returns fresh. Poe’s size, athletic ability, feet and his willingness to play in and out of the box will allow him to develop into a very good pro.