The top prospects available for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Top 5 Prospects:
Matt Barkley, QB, USC. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Barkley proved himself to be a safe prospect during the 2011 season. He laid claim to the Trojans' starting quarterback position as a freshman and completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,735 yards and 15 touchdowns, but also threw 14 interceptions. In 12 games in 2010, the 6-foot-2, 220 pounder improved his production by completing 62.6 percent of his passes for 2,791 yards with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
As a junior this year, Barkley had many prolific passing games including throwing for six touchdown passes against UCLA and Colorado. He also led USC to a signature road win over Oregon. Barkley completed 69 percent of his passes in 2011 for 3,528 yards with 39 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. His improved decision making is exactly the kind of progress NFL scouts will be pleased to see, plus he comes from a pro-style offense and has good intangibles. Barkley has mastered the West Coast offense and is well prepared for the NFL.
Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Montgomery has been a leader of the Tigers’ fierce defensive line. He totaled 49 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss, nine sacks and one forced fumble in 2011. Montgomery had 18 tackles with six tackles for a loss and two sacks as a freshman. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder needs to add weight for the NFL, but that shouldn't be an issue as he has the frame to get bigger and will add weight as he ages.
Robert Woods, WR, USC. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Woods (6-1, 180) was a dominant force as a sophomore, becoming Matt Barkley's primary weapon. Woods totaled 1,292 yards on 111 receptions with 15 touchdowns in 2011. He had a record-setting game to open the season with 17 receptions for 177 yards and three touchdowns against Minnesota. Woods then broke his own record, against Arizona, with 14 receptions for 255 yards and two touchdowns.
When Barkley decided to return for his senior season, Woods had to be ecstatic since they should continue to produce massive numbers in the 2012 season. Another good year will keep Woods' draft stock strong as long as he can stay healthy.
Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Jones was one of the best pass rushers in college football in 2011. He tied for the second-most sacks in the nation, 13.5. Jones also had 70 tackles with 19.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.
The USC transfer has fit well in the Georgia defense and looks like an ideal 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level. The 6-foot-3, 241-pounder should be able to add some bulk to hold up on the edge in the NFL.
David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: The 6-foot-3, 194-pound Amerson has a special skill set with size, speed and ball skills. He was simply phenomenal this season. Amerson totaled 13 interceptions to lead the nation. He also had 59 tackles with five passes broken up.
Top 10 Prospects:
Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Hankins is a massive tackle who takes up a lot of space and blockers at the point of attack. The 6-foot-4, 317-pounder had a strong 2011 season as a sophomore. He was a fabulous run defender at that point of attack and totaled 67 tackles. Hankins also had 11 tackles for a loss and three sacks. He had 16 tackles with a sack as a freshman. Hankins has a lot of upside and could be in for a big 2012 season.
Tyrann Mathieu, CB/S, LSU. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Mathieu (5-9, 175) would be higher in the rankings if it weren't for his size. The 19-year-old still has plenty of time to add mass, so his stock could rise if he accomplishes that.
Mathieu plays much bigger than his measurements, and anyone who watched LSU in the 2011 noticed that he is a pure football player with off-the-charts instinct. Mathieu led LSU in tackles with 76. He also had 7.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, two interceptions and nine passes broken up.
Additionally, Mathieu served as a punt returner in 2011, averaging 16 yards per return with two brought back for touchdowns. He will have to clean up some off-the-field issues.
Keenan Allen, WR, California. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Allen looks like he could have the talent to be a big-time receiver. Allen caught 46 passes for 490 yards and five touchdowns as freshman in 2010. He put together a huge 2011 season, racking up 98 receptions for 1,343 yards and six scores. Allen is quick and has excellent body control, but he is not a burner. Right now, Allen looks like a well-rounded wide out.
Barrett Jones, T/G/C, Alabama. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Jones is very smart and versatile. Given his flexibility as an offensive lineman, Alabama is moving him to center for the 2012 season. The 6-foot-5, 311-pounder has proven to be a legitimate first-round left tackle prospect for the NFL. The Crimson Tide moved him to the blind side in 2011, and the junior excelled. He was chosen as a First-Team All-SEC selection.
In his first major test of 2011, Jones was playing very well against LSU, before an ankle injury in the second half. Early in the game, he was doing a phenomenal job of run blocking for Trent Richardson, and Alabama had a lot of success running behind Jones. He also wasn't needing or getting any help with the Tigers' speed rushers on the edge. Jones was solid, not allowing a sack or pressure. The ankle injury seemed to rob him of the power to drive block, but he was a warrior who played through the injury and wasn't a liability while playing hurt.
Jones played well in the rematch, and he did a good job of winning his blocks. Jones won the 2011 Outland Trophy as the nation's best interior lineman on offense or defense.
Jones started 14 games in 2009 as a redshirt freshman when Mark Ingram ran his way to a Heisman. Jones stayed at right guard and started 11 games in 2010. He was also named as a First-Team All-SEC selection as sophmore.
D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Fluker (6-6, 335) has been an excellent tackle for Alabama. He is a nasty run blocker and quality pass protector. There is no reason to think that Fluker won't have another dominant season in 2012 to prove himself worthy of being a high pick in first round.
Fluker has been the Crimson Tide's right tackle the past few seasons. Some believe that he can move to left tackle in the NFL. Fluker has length and is athletic, but it is unclear if his feet are quick enough to play left tackle at the next level. He definitely can stay at right tackle and could also move inside to guard if necessary.
Top 15 Prospects:
Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Aboushi is a left tackle prospect who could have been a top-50 pick if he had entered the 2012 draft. Aboushi should only get better as a senior, and that is why I have him ranked higher than most. The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder has quick feet and is a natural left tackle. He also is a good run blocker with some power and mobility.
Aboushi could rise high in the 2013 class, and he comes from a school that has produced a lot of offensive tackle talent. What I like the most about Aboushi is his quick feet and athleticism to take on speed rushers. Those are hard attributes to find in NFL left tackles.
Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Werner could be primed for a massive 2012 season. He outplayed teammate Brandon Jenkins at times in 2011. The Berlin, Germany product is a strong physical presence who plays with a mean streak.
Werner (6-4, 273) broke out with some dominating games and seven sacks in 2011. He also had 37 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, one interception, one forced fumble and eight pass breakups. Werner had 3.5 sacks as a true freshman in 2010. He is extremely physical and has a great motor.
Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Xavier Rhodes (6-2, 215) has a special skill set. He is big, fast and agile, all while having good hands. Rhodes started 14 games and was the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year as a redshirt freshman in 2010. He recorded 58 tackles with four interceptions and 12 passes defensed.
Rhodes displays natural shutdown skills. He played well against Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles in 2011 and was fabulous at covering up Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd. Rhodes pretty much shut down Floyd in the season finale.
Rhodes totaled 43 tackles with an interception and four passes broken up in 2011. Teams stayed away from him and attacked the Seminoles’ other corners.
Kawann Short, DT, Purdue. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Short totaled 54 tackles with 17 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 2011. He was quiet in the early going, but really played well in the the second half of the season. Short is a quick gap shooting tackle who looks like a natural three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense.
Short benefited greatly from Ryan Kerrigan in his first two years. Short recorded six sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss next to Kerrigan in 2010. Short also had 41 tackles with two blocked kicks. The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder is strong and athletic. Purdue does an excellent job of producing quality NFL defensive linemen, and he appears to be the next in line.
Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Wilson completed 63 percent of his passes in 2011 for 3,638 yards with 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has good field vision, a strong arm and accuracy. Wilson (6-3, 220) played better as the year progressed. He played a little bit in 2010 as a backup to Ryan Mallett. Wilson completed 34-of-51 passes for 453 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.
The 2012 season figures to be a challenging year for Wilson even though he has gotten good preparation for the pro game from Bobby Petrino. The Razorbacks' program is in turmoil due to Petrino being fired. To make things even harder, Wilson lost a bunch of good receivers.
Top 20 Prospects:
Brandon Jenkins, DE, Florida State. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Jenkins (6-3, 265) has good size with the agility and athleticism to stand up in a 3-4 defense. He is also big enough to stay as a 4-3 end. Jenkins had 39 tackles with 12 tackles for a loss and eight sacks this year. He got frequent pressure on the quarterback without getting sacks in many games in 2011.
Jenkins has a nice array of pass-rushing moves and regularly beats his blocker. He saw extra blocking attention in 2011, and that helped teammate Bjoern Werner breakout in the beginning of the season.
In 2010, as a first-year starter at right end, Jenkins led Florida State in sacks while the Seminoles were No. 1 in the nation in sacks. He notched 13.5 sacks with 21.5 tackles for a loss. Jenkins had five multi-sack games and was voted the team's 2010 MVP.
Jenkins has a lot of upside, and he could have a massive 2012 season that will push him high into the first round. The main negative is a lack of physicality. If Jenkins gets stronger and more physical, he could be a special player.
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Jake Matthews is the son of Bruce Matthews, so the bloodlines are there for a standout NFL offensive lineman. The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder is both a superb pass protector and a physical run blocker. Matthews was excellent at right tackle in 2011 for the Aggies.
Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: The younger brother of Marcus Trufant, Desmond Trufant had a quality sophomore season in 2010 with 48 tackles, one interception and four passes broken up. The 6-foot, 184-pounder has the speed and agility to be a good cover corner.
Trufant had two interceptions with 14 passes broken up, two forced fumbles and 64 tackles in 2011. He has the demonstrated ability to be a good blitzer. Trufant had an excellent season and is one of the best corners in the Pac-12.
Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Jefferson was the Big-XII Freshman of the Year in 2010. He started nine games and recorded 65 tackles with seven tackles for a loss, two sacks, two interceptions and seven passes broken up. The athletic and instinctive Jefferson (5-10, 199) played excellent football in 2011. He totaled 74 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, four interceptions, three passes broken up and a forced fumble.
Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Lattimore missed the end of the 2011 season after he tore some of his knee ligaments. Lattimore is a special player, and if he can regain his pre-injury form, should be a first-round pick. The 6-foot-1, 232-pounder mixes big size with good speed. Through seven games in 2011, the sophomore Lattimore was one of the nation’s leaders in rushing. He ran for 818 yards on 163 carries (5.02 average) with 10 touchdowns in his shortened season.
Lattimore is a powerful workhorse back who rocked college football as a freshman. He ran for 1,197 yards and averaged 4.8 yards per carry with 17 touchdowns in 2010.
Top 25 Prospects:
Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Mingo (6-5, 240) had a breakout 2011 season. He showed blinding speed and was a disruptive force. Mingo totaled 46 tackles with 15 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and one forced fumble. He had 35 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and six pass breakups in 2010. If Mingo can fill out his frame more, he will be a high draft pick.
Chris Faulk, OT, LSU. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Faulk had an excellent sophomore season at tackle for LSU in 2011. The 6-foot-6, 325-pounder has was a reliable pass blocker and a road grader of a run blocker. He has a lot of athletic ability and the potential to be a special player.
Faulk needs to improve his pass protection, and if he does that he could rise high in the rankings. Faulk struggled against Alabama's edge rushers in the National Championship. In 2012, he has to show the ability to shut down elite pass rushers to go early in the first round.
Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Thomas (6-4, 239) is a perfect fit in an NFL 3-4 defense. He totaled 70 tackles with 7.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss in 201. While missing teammate Shane Skov, Thomas led the Cardinal defense in 2011. He totaled 52 tackles with 17.5 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. Though Thomas has the flexibility to play inside linebacker as well, he thrives blitzing off the edge and combines good physical skills with intelligence. Thomas has a knack for causing turnovers.
Thomas should be able to fill out his frame with another 10-15 pounds of muscle. That is the only attribute he is missing, and one of his goals for the offseason is to get bigger. Thomas looks like the 2012 version of Shea McClellin or Clay Matthews.
Johnathan Banks, CB, Mississippi State. Previous Rank: N/A
5/3/12: Banks has been a solid player for the Bulldogs. Entering his senior year, the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder is already experienced and battle tested. He played a lot as a freshman in 2009, making 33 tackles and four interceptions, including two pick-sixs against Tim Tebow.
Banks totaled 54 tackles with three interceptions as a sophmore. He totaled 71 tackles with five interceptions, three sacks, three forced fumbles and nine passes broken up in 2011. It wouldn't be surprising if Banks' numbers decline as a senior since teams will probably avoid throwing at him.
Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame. Previous Rank: 25
5/3/12: Te'o was a tackling machine for the Fighting Irish as sophmore in 2010, making 133 tackles. He also recorded 9.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and one forced fumble. Te'o recorded 128 tackles with 13.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks in 2011. He led Notre Dame in sacks and tackles.
Te'o has the size (6-2, 255) and speed to adapt quickly to the NFL. He is fast enough to play the middle in a 4-3 defense, with the bulk to function on the inside of a 3-4 defense.
Round 1-2 Prospects:
Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington State
Khaled Holmes, C, USC
Sean Porter, OLB, Texas A&M
T.J. McDonald, S, USC
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Alex Okafor, DE, Texas
Jonathan Brown, OLB, Illinois
Alex Hurst, OT, LSU
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
DeMarcus Milliner, CB, Alabama
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Matt Elam, S, Florida
William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
Kwame Geathers, DT, Georgia
Round 2 Prospects:
Kenny Vacaro, S, Texas
Joseph Fauria, TE, UCLA
Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M
Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa
Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida
Kareem Martin, DE, North Carolina
John Simon, DE, Ohio State
Ben Gardner, LB, Stanford
Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Aaron Donald, DE, Pitt
Alonzo Highsmith, LB, Arkansas
Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
Cameron Marshall, RB, Arizona State
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Giovanni Bernard, RB, North Carolina
Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Da'Rick Rodgers, WR, Tennessee
Gerald Hodges, LB, Penn State
Michael Dyer, RB, Arkansas State
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Eric Reid, S, LSU
Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma