NFL Draft

Kozora: 2015 NFL Draft Prospects: Likes/Dislikes

We’ve looked at a lot of prospects ahead of the 2015 NFL Draft. More than I think we ever have in a single season. And naturally, there were some I fell for and some I want to stay away from. That’s what we’ll review. A sort of “Like/Dislike compilation.”

The players I like may not all be options for the Pittsburgh Steelers but their talent still pops at me.  The dislike are ones that would be off my board altogether.

In alphabetical order, my list.

Like

Donald Celiscar/CB Western Michigan: Kudos to reader Matt Manzo for getting me to check him out. Celiscar will get knocked for the MAC competition and reckless attitude that doesn’t emphasize wrapping up the runner, but he has a fluid turn and is a fearless player.

Productivity was fantastic with four interceptions and 17 breakups in 2014. He didn’t run well and definitely profiles as a zone corner but is one of my favorite Day Three corners. And actually a nice fit in Pittsburgh.

David Cobb/RB Minnesota: Always said he wasn’t a sexy pick but a well-rounded runner who shows a positive burst for 225+ pounds. But he has the power you’d expect with impressive leg drive that makes him a difficult back to bring down. 34 career receptions speaks to his receiving ability although he needs to work on his pass protection.

Alvin Dupree/OLB Kentucky: Been on the Dupree bandwagon since Day One. By now, the rest of the league caught up and the odds of Dupree falling to 22 is disappointingly low. He’s not a perfect prospect – needs to be more consistent against the run and show a better motor – but he has the size and hand use to be a strong side linebacker.

His versatility and unmatched experience dropping into coverage makes him less of a projection than others.

Jake Fisher/OT Oregon: An uncommon sight, there aren’t any Top Five, “true” left tackles this year. But Fisher has the potential to be one. He could stand to add some weight but has more muscle than I expected with long, nearly 34 inch arms and almost 10 1/2 inch hands.

Explosive out of his kickside, Fisher plays with a sound base. Knee bend while moving laterally. Kickslide drills at the Combine matches up with his tape. While he isn’t a mauling blocker, he plays with a nasty demeanor and finishes his blocks.

He’s a little raw and hardly has any experience out of a three point stance. But if he’s a quick study, he has the potential to become an effective starter in year one.

Clayton Geathers/SS Central Florida: UCF has two defensive backs that’ll get drafted and I like both of them. Jacoby Glenn is the other but I’ll focus on Geathers.

Love his size at 6’1 218. 52 career starts to his name. Physical, vicious hitter. Shows an IQ in coverage and takes good angles to the football. Ran respectively, a 4.55, and jumped 37 inches at the Combine. Lot to like in a relatively weak safety class.

Eddie Goldman/NT Florida St: Rare blend of size, strength, and athleticism. Moves extremely well for 336 pounds. Can hold the point of attack with the ability to take on double-teams. Like his length and honestly, his production – 8 TFL and 4 sacks – is just fine for a nose tackle. Goldman is the type of player who can play the one and shift to the three in sub-package football.

Byron Jones/CB UConn: I won’t drone on too much longer about him. Competition issues aside, which are a little overinflated, he has very few negatives. Has the size, time, tape, and character you look for. Checks all the boxes and if you couldn’t tell by now, is one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft.

Tyler Lockett/WR Kansas St: He’s frequently shown up in my articles since I originally wrote about him. Holding 17 school records, he’s a threat as a receiver and returner. Odell Beckham Jr in a lot of respects and I say that without any degree of hyperbole.

Despite being on a poor team with even worse quarterback play, Lockett racked up over 100 catches and 11 touchdowns. In his career, he has six career return touchdowns including a whopping 15.2 yards per punt return.

As I’ve said borderline ad nasueam, he’s the best route runner in this year’s class. Tremendous short-area quickness who was asked to run an advanced route tree full of double-moves. He shows a large catch radius for his slight frame and impressive body control with the ability to adjust to the ball in the air. More physical on contested passes than you’d expect.

DeVante Parker/WR Lousiville: I was looking for a way to jump him ahead of Amari Cooper or Kevin White but couldn’t justify it well enough. He’s a natural hands catcher whose big frame is only increased due to a large catch radius. He’s not an innate separator but gets open because of his size and is still a vertical threat. Sneaky threat after the catch and is difficult to bring down. He’s right there with those top two receivers.

Shaq Mason/OG Georgia Tech: At just under 6’2, Mason doesn’t look like a lineman. But he’s one of the most athletic in this year’s draft. Had to be in Georgia Tech’s triple option, get-to-the-second-level offense. Whether it’s working to the next level, short pulling, or coming across the formation, Mason gets there in a hurry.

It’s that explosion that creates a push on contact. Though still raw, he’s improved in pass protection and isn’t a complete liability.

If you can overlook the size and run a scheme that places a high emphasis on movement, Mason is your man. Won’t be a fit for everyone but will make one team very happy.

John Miller/OG Louisville:  Not many are getting excited about this kid but consider me in the minority. With few flaws to his game, Miller is a technically sound blocker who brings his lower half. Gets a push in the run game and has the anchor in pass protection to avoid getting run into the pocket.

Josh Robinson/RB Mississippi St: A bowling ball akin to Maurice Jones-Drew, Robinson is one tough hombre to bring down. He’s fearless in pass protection and his density actually makes him an asset there. He didn’t run well and invites too much contact but it’s difficult not to love him.

Hidden in a deep class, Robinson is fantastic Day Three value.

Quinten Rollins/CB Miami (OH): I’ll admit at one point, I considered Rollins to be a first rounder. Not going to happen now. But that doesn’t change my overall feelings on him. I’m still excited about a kid that has only played one year of football and was named conference defensive player of the year. Another player that may lack the long speed to be placed on an island but will succeed in a zone scheme that lets him get his eyes to the ball more often. Physicality is something worth admiring, too.

Maxx Williams/TE Minnesota: One of the first players I profiled and someone I still really like. The important thing to remember is Williams was only 20 this year. Lots of room to grow. He isn’t an elite blocker but has ample experience base blocking as an in-line player and he gives good effort.

As a receiver, he isn’t a burner, but shows explosion at the top of his route and is at his best with the ball in the air. Great body control with an affinity for knowing where the sideline is.

It isn’t a great class but Williams is a ten-year starter. Actually see a good deal of Heath Miller in him.

A 47 game starter, Miller is the type of prospect who will quietly start for seven years in the league.

Dislike

Jalen Collins/CB LSU: Player I’ve been lukewarm on for awhile and his recent issues has dropped his stock. Raw with only ten career starts. Tall but stiff-hipped. Coming off foot surgery. Had issues with the coaching staff. Failed multiple drug tests. All giant flashing warning signs to pass on this kid.

There are certain aspects about his game I like but it’s not enough for me to look past the myriad of problems he’s dealing with. Value won’t justify it.

Frank Clark/OLB Michigan: Pretty simple rationale here. Domestic abuse in his record. Don’t care what the tape says. Not taking the chance on him. Not one I have to give much thought about.

Senquez Golson/CB Ole Miss: I’m always one to fight for the little guy. And one who tries to look past measurable. But man, it’s hard to justify Golson. Not even 5’9 with less than 20 inch arms and a 33.5 inch vertical. How is he going to compete at the next level? The true height study I did really exposed this, putting him last of the defensive backs and second to last if you include the receivers.

I’m not against taking small cornerbacks. But they have to be able to get up. Antwon Blake jumped 39 inches at his Pro Day.

There are certain bars players must meet. And Golson falls short, figuratively and literally. Off my board.

Gerod Holliman/FS Louisville: Fourteen interceptions might look pretty but the tape tells a vastly different story. He was allowed to patrol center fielder, capitalizing on some lame duck throws. Maybe due to a torn labrum suffered his freshman year or maybe a product of poor effort, Holliman is atrocious in run support and has flat-out poor effort plays on tape.

He’s gone from a first rounder to someone who may not even get drafted.

Shane Ray/OLB Missouri: Not the only one taking him off my board though he may have been there even before the marijuana citation. Thin lower frame that reminds me of Aaron Maybin. Lack of strength that gets him moved around against the run. Stiff in coverage. Already dealing with toe injuries, ones that ended Jack Lambert and Patrick Willis’ careers. I’m picky about my edge rushers and Ray leaves a lot to be desired.

Davis Tull/OLB Tennessee-Chattanooga: I’m rooting for this kid. Really, I am. He’s a hard-worker and an advanced pass rusher. Timed well. But his frame is maxed out, I wonder if he can set the edge, and he’s dealing with a torn labrum that is going to stunt his growth. All while adapting to a new position. Lot of obstacles to climb. I know he’s done it in college but the NFL is a different beast.

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