1. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa - I have always been a big fan of Fiedorowicz, but I understand he will be limited. He was underused at Iowa and could shine on curl and out routes in the NFL. He has limited yards after catch ability and will make his name early on for his blocking consistency.
2. Gator Hoskins, Marshall - Hoskins is an H-back in the NFL level and has a ceiling of Charles Clay. That is not a negative at all, but Hoskins will have to land with a team willing to use him. He will likely be asked to be a consistent lead blocker to offer versatility in order to stay on a roster, even if his foundation is as a pass catcher.
3. Arthur Lynch, Georgia - Lynch appeared much more agile and mobile than I expected, but that might be due to practicing next to Marcel Jensen on the first day.
1. Billy Turner, North Dakota State - Turner will get yelled out until he retires for poor technique, but his functional strength is excellent. That means Turner can win despite his poor technique in the same way Cordy Glenn has, except the latter is likely a better athlete. That does not mean Turner is a bad athlete, but he would be wise to drop his hips and bend at the knee to mirror and absorb more often. I would not be surprised if Turner ends up at guard because of that frustration.
2. Jack Mewhort, Ohio State - Mewhort makes it obvious when he wins, which I love. He consistently attempts to obtain an inside latch to extend and control. That said, he does have a tendency to lose against speed rushers who gain a step off the snap.
3. Seantrel Henderson, Miami - I had Henderson ranked higher prior to the week with the caveat that the event meant more to the tackle than anyone else. There were definitely some positive flashes, but Henderson seemed to plateau and failed to use his combination of athleticism and strength effectively. I still think Henderson can be successful if he lands with the right team, which is an underdiscussed part of the process.
Interior Offensive Linemen
1. Zack Martin, Notre Dame - Martin will likely be drafted as a tackle, and he will be a good one, but the Notre Dame product can be an outstanding interior lineman. This has nothing to do with arm length and more to do with a wide base. That width makes it difficult to mirror agile rushers who can weave between lanes.
2. Brandon Thomas, Clemson - Thomas is another prospect who could play tackle, but I prefer him at guard. He has a very athletic lower half and good length. Don’t be surprised if Thomas is a second-round pick.
3. Gabe Jackson, Miss State - The Bulldog is not a mauler like he was portrayed to be, but Jackson is consistent and sticks with his blocks in tight spaces. Expect a second- or third-round selection. Jackson could make an impact early in his career.
4. Weston Richburg, Colorado State - One of the more notable surprises this week, Richburg has a chance to be the first true center selected in this class (not counting a prospect who play a different position in college). He is not overly quick or strong, but Richburg sustains his blocks in both the running game and pass protection.
5. Jon Halapio, Florida - Another huge surprise this week. I have always noted Halapio’s natural strength, but he tended to overextend or lunge and get beat too often because of poor technique. This week he frequently displayed a stout base and balance. Halapio will likely be selected on the third day in May.
Interior Defensive Linemen
1a. Will Sutton, Arizona State - Weight is still a major part of the discussion when bringing up Sutton’s game. I still think it has been used as a bit of a crutch for critics, but his balance has been worse this season. After speaking with someone close to Sutton, the goal is for the defensive tackle to weigh in around 305 lbs at the Combine, which would be a drop of 10 lbs from this event. Add on the fact that Sutton is very aware of this criticism, and I am not worried in the least.
On the field Sutton is a technician, with each of his movements having purpose. Wrist control to lift, steps to gain the balance or angle advantage. I doubt Sutton is selected in the first-round, but interior disruption is king. Sutton can over this.
1b. Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh - Did I mention interior disruption is king? I do not care about Donald’s size (6’1/288), whoever, some NFL teams will. Maybe it is wrong for me to question the teams that do, since many of them have success, but if you are not selecting Donald because of measurement minimums it is a mistake. Donald utilizes a lateral hesitation step off the snap to get his opposition guessing. He then has an exceptional blend of hand and length use to drive through a blocker or quickness to work around them. His backfield vision is very good as well.
3. Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota - Hageman’s career can be taken in two directions. I believe Hageman’s best position is as a 0 or 1 technique next to the center. Now, he does not fit the typical size of that position, so many might disagree. I expect Hageman to workout well at the Combine, so some teams will look at him as a 5 technique in an odd front. Hageman’s best trait right now his is natural strength, and couple with hand use and length he could make an impact in short distances to the QB.
4. Caraun Reid, Princeton - It was nice to see Reid practice and play without multiple eyes and bodies assigned to him on each snap. He flashes hand use to create separation and can take advantage of the positional advantage. I would play him as a 3 technique, but he played from every alignment in school.
4. Justin Ellis, Louisiana Tech - I was a big fan of Ellis prior to the Shrine Game, a big fan after, and once again remain intrigued by his skills. As previously stated, I think Ellis might do his best work as a 3 technique despite his NT size. He is an upfield disruptor, especially when extending his arms and keeping offensive linemen on skates. He did not do enough of that this week, however, preferring to rip under at the Senior Bowl. Do not typecast Ellis as a run defender stuck at the line of scrimmage.
1. Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech - Attaochu did not have a good week from a pass rushing standpoint, even in the limited number of reps he received. I would line up Attaochu in a wide 7 or 9 alignment early in his career and ask him to purely get in the backfield. I have read many opinions stating he should play stand up outside linebacker, and that could work, but I worry if too much responsibility means too much thinking and not enough action.
2. Dee Ford, Auburn - Ford is a total stud. He has great bend and burst off the line, but Ford also displays hand use and length once his initial line is stopped. He was not forced to show that very often this week, but turn on his tape against Texas A&M to see it. Again, I don’t care about these distinctions between 4-3 and 3-4. There is not really a difference in many schemes. Line Ford up wide and let him run, bend and attack.
3. Marcus Smith, Louisville - Smith is in the same boat as Attacohu. He was not asked to do very much this week, but at school Smith converted speed to power on a regular basis. Add on length and hand use, and Smith should wind up in the top 50.
4. Kyle Van Noy, BYU - Van Noy can fit on the edge of four or three man lines and will surely stay in a two point stance. I trust him to drop into coverage a lot more than the rest of this list. He is a technically sound player who understands his responsibilities.
5. Chris Smith, Arkansas - Smith had a great week, but I did not see it at Arkansas. He has good burst, whoever, he lacked hand use in school. I am not sold yet.