There are really 21 players in this draft who I feel like deserve a 1st round grade. There is a quarterback that won't be listed that I will get to in my next post. There will be names you don't see that you recognize, and names that you don't recognize that you see.
Keep in mind, this is based off what I see and if I view a player successfully translates to the next level. Consider it my own personal "big board" of sorts.
Marcus Peters, CB, Washington
Every fan wants the best player available until they find out it's not a position of need. This will be the case for many teams as they pass on Peters, who plays a premier position. Peters has the route recognition, plays the QB well, and has the ability to close on the ball like nobody else. In the five games I watched, Peters was targeted 24 times, allowing 5 first downs and breaking up 8 passes. Three years from now we will look back and wonder why he didn't go top 5.
DeVante Parker, WR, Louisville
There's not much more to say about Parker that I already haven't. He's the best receiver in the draft primarily because of his releases at the line of scrimmage and his ability to adjust to poorly thrown passes, as well as how he dominates at the catch point. Parker caught 14 of 25 contested passes and has only been credited with 2 drops in 3 years.
T.J. Clemmings, RT, Pittsburgh
Another player that I've covered quite a bit. Clemmings won't go this high, but has everything you want at the position and he was just too dominant in games this early in his development for me to think he won't be the best tackle in the draft.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
You have to really nitpick Cooper's game. I've heard he struggles at contested catches, but he was 6/7 in the games I watched. To be fair, he's a terrible blocker. He also can high point passes and is so very good with the ball in his hands. He has a lot of Jordy Nelson to his game.
"10 year starters"
These are the players that might not be superstars, but will play for their respective teams for a long time at a high (possibly Pro Bowl) level.
Leonard Williams, DT, USC
There's been a lot of recent talk about how Williams doesn't deserve to go as high as he's being discussed. I agree he's not your typical defensive lineman that you take in the top 5. He's not an explosive pass rusher. Williams is a damn good run defender and when he kicks inside in the NFL guards won't be able to block him.
La'el Collins, OT, LSU
He falls off blocks, he gets beat to the inside, and is slow off of the snap, but man does he have good feet and will put you on the ground. I'm a huge fan of Collins and some team is going to get a high end starter.
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
WANT. Similar size as Jamaal Charles and Frank Gore. He's an every down back. He's an every down back. He's an every down back.
They can't be that good, can they?
These are guys that will be either the best player at their position, or we will forget about them by the end of their rookie contracts.
Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
Ran a low 4.3 at the combine and plays with great aggression. My question is how come we don't see that explosiveness prior to the catch? If White doesn't improve getting in and out of his breaks, NFL CBs will give him problems. White only caught 7/15 of his contested catches. He can make the spectacular catch look routine, though.
Vic Beasley, Edge Rusher, Clemson
I didn't watch an edge rusher who beat their man more than Beasley did. Beasley is a terror that can win anyway imaginable. What he did at the combine was just as ridiculous as what he did to left tackles he faced this last year. Strength at the point of attack questions are fair. Put him as a 4-3 strong side linebacker on base downs and let him pin his ears back on passing downs and you have yourself a star player.
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
All you need to know about Gurley is his worst game in 2014 was when he only broke 7 tackles. If healthy, I believe he would've ran a 4.4 40 yard dash and solidified himself as a top 15 lock. He's faster than given credit for and we know about his power. The ACL injury isn't the only concern, he's had other injuries previously and there's no reason to think the nagging injuries will stop after this injury.
Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
Whoa! The first curveball. Agholor probably won't go until the late 2nd or early 3rd, but I have no doubts in my mind he will come in right away and dominate from the slot. He'd be a perfect fit for the Chargers. He caught 8/10 contested catches. Agholor is an underrated route runner that is quick out of his breaks and is very good after the catch. You don't get to see it much, but he plays as fast as his 4.42 40 yard dash.
These next 4 are guys that are versatile and potential dominate defenders at the next level.
Randy Gregory, Edge Rusher, Nebraska
My initial view on Gregory was "ehhh." Then I sat down with someone smarter than me who played the position and got learnt. The Chargers would be very lucky to get a player like Gregory. I think he has the best hand usage in the class and probably plays with the best motor. This is all before his outstanding athletic ability.
Owa Odighizuwa, Edge Rusher, UCLA
We will all know how to pronounce his name in a few years. Odighizuwa is an exploisve power rusher who can kick inside on passing downs and overwhelm guards. As a football fan, I hope his injuries check out.
Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
I thought this was the player we would be drooling over instead of Byron Jones after the combine. My only complaint with Johnson is his route recognition isn't at Peters' level. Johnson has great change of direction and plays with physicality in press coverage. Not a star but a very good player.
Malcom Brown, DL, Texas
Brown played literally everywhere across the Longhorn front and excelled at each position. I would be all for the Chargers taking him in the 1st round. He can hold at the point of attack, locate the ball, and finish. He's very good against the run but can also get after the quarterback. His game against BYU is probably one of the top 5 performances of any prospect this year.
These players just made the cut of 1st rounders.
Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon
Fisher can become more consistent when it comes to shooting his hands on time and needs to lunge at defenders less. His flaws are correctable, though. He gets great movement in any direction as a run blocker and knows how to keep the quarterback clean.
Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
Peat is a talent. He has great awareness in pass protection, and can move any direction with ease. He has the quickness to reach defensive tackles. My issue is the lack of power he generates and I feel like he bends at the waist too often. He didn't get beat in college, but that might change at the next level.
DeAndre Smelter, WR, Georgia Tech
Whaaaaaat? Well, he tore his ACL before the ACC Championship game, so he might not even contribute year 1. I would take him late in the draft easily. Smelter is 6'2, 226 pounds and can flat out fly. I mean flyyyyyyy. I watched all of his targets and touches from this year because I thought there was no way he was as good as I was making him out to be. He was.
Smelter has the strength, speed, leaping ability, and where he lacks in refined route running he was able to box out defenders. I think all of this translates and he will be a steal for some team late in the draft. Smelter plays with physicality in his route running, and is the best blocker in the class.
Brandon Scherff, OG, Iowa
Scherff is a guard. He can be a very good guard. He is not Zack Martin. Martin was effortless in pass protection whereas Scherff struggles with speed. Scherff is a mauler and plays with the mentality that you like to see, though. Kick him inside and let him use his strengths.
Cameron Erving, OC, FSU
The best center in the draft who could easily end up being a top player at his position in a few years if he continues to progress. He has that kind of potential, just needs more reps.
Next week, I'll unveil the players who I think are worth a 2nd round pick.