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NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock compared Northern Iowa redshirt senior RB David Johnson to Charles Sims.

"Outstanding hands -- that's what makes him an intriguing prospect," Mayock said. "Last year, Charles Sims from West Virginia went in the third round. I think he's comparable (to Johnson) as a big back." Mayock believes Johnson's exposure will increase greatly at the Senior Bowl. Last month, TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline wrote that Johnson is being graded as a second- to fourth-round draft pick.
Dec 20 - 1:54 AM

Scout Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl note that Ole Miss sophomore DL Robert Nkemdiche "hasn't lived up to the lofty expectations attached to him coming out of high school."

Nkemdiche, of course, was the top overall recruit in 2013. "Listed at 6-4 and 280 pounds, he can get pushed around working against much bigger interior offensive linemen," they wrote. "He has the explosive first step, upper-body strength and length to overcome his size when he keeps his pads down." We think Nkemdiche is miscast when the Rebels line him up inside. As an outside rusher in a 3-4 alignment, or as a 4-3 end, however? He could be a consistent terror.
Dec 20 - 1:22 AM

Louisville announced that junior ILB James Burgess plans to return to school.

Burgess posted 61 tackles, three sacks and three interceptions during the regular season. He moved from outside linebacker to replace departed third-round pick Preston Brown in Louisville's new 3-4 alignment and thrived. Burgess will face size questions, checking in at 6-foot, 227 pounds.
Dec 20 - 1:09 AM

When called upon, Alabama sophomore tight end O.J. Howard has "flashed the talent that made him the No. 2 tight end recruit coming out of high school in 2013," according to Scout Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl.

"When called upon" being the operative words. As Scout Inc. notes, Howard hasn't caught more than three passes in a game since arriving on campus, mostly because there are so many mouths to feed on the loaded Tide roster. "Listed at 6-6 and 240 pounds, he has the toughness to make plays over the middle, in addition to the speed to take the top off the coverage and break long runs after the catch," wrote Muench and Weidl.
Dec 20 - 12:55 AM

Georgia junior DE/OLB Jordan Jenkins will return for his senior season.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt announced the same last week, but now we have it from the horse's mouth. Or, more accurately, the horse's twitter feed: "Been a dawg for three years, why not come back for one more," Jenkins wrote. Jenkins probably would have been a Day 2 pick had he declared for the draft. The Bulldogs will have a vicious defense in 2015.
Dec 20 - 12:41 AM

Auburn HC Gus Malzahn confirmed the school will file for feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board on behalf of redshirt sophomore OT Avery Young.

"He's a huge athlete," center Reese Dismukes said. "He's got very good feet and he's really come along this year. He's moved around and really accepted that responsibility very well. That's not easy -- to be here one week and then here the next week." Young, a third-year sophomore, has experience at both guard and tackle. Young (6-foot-6, 309 pounds) is the brother of Bears DE Willie Young, and Panthers LB Thomas Davis is his cousin. "I've got a year of tackle up under my belt, and we made it to the championship game, so I've got everything I could do from that position," Young said earlier this season. "I feel playing guard will just open up the window even more."
Dec 20 - 12:27 AM

Mississippi State HC Dan Mullen said redshirt junior LB Benardrick McKinney is "indeed likely to turn pro."

The announcement, long expected, will come after the Orange Bowl. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound McKinney is huge, athletic, and packs a punch in the trenches. You can criticize his deficiencies in space and pass coverage, though it's fair to point out that he has the athletic tools to improve in both categories. ESPN's Mel Kiper wrote earlier this week that McKinney "is a good bet to be a first-rounder if the draft were tomorrow."
Dec 20 - 12:06 AM

USC sophomore S Su'a Cravens "doesn't have the man cover skills to match up with quicker slot receivers, but his length and instincts help mask his lack of ideal fluidity," wrote Scout Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl.

"At 6-1 and 225 pounds, Cravens is a hybrid safety/linebacker who frequently lines up close to the line of scrimmage where he uses his hands to keep bigger blockers off his frame as a run-defender," they wrote. "He also shows good closing speed in rushing the quarterback, as he displayed against Utah." Cravens has attractive physical tools, but, as Muench and Weidl note, his game has deficiencies and he's struggled to stay healthy over the past few years. Fortunately, he has two seasons of eligibility remaining to answer lingering questions.
Dec 19 - 11:41 PM

Auburn junior ILB Cassanova McKinzy is "weighing whether to go pro," reports Brandon Marcello of the Alabama Media Group.

McKinzy made 82 tackles with 10 for losses this year. McKinzy is described by CBS Sports' Rob Rang as "physical and tenacious," though Rang notes that the linebacker "doesn't possess great speed" and "has some coverage limitations" because of this. McKinzy has the versatility to play inside and outside.
Dec 19 - 11:27 PM

Penn State sophomore QB Christian Hackenberg didn't make Scout Inc.'s list of the most intriguing non-draft eligible prospects.

Ouch. "Hackenberg made our list last year, and is blessed with excellent physical tools. While he admittedly did not get much help from a struggling offensive line, his mechanics and decision-making skills took a significant dip this year, and he ended the regular season with 15 interceptions and just eight touchdown passes," wrote Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl. We second this assessment. While he has first-round talent, Hackenberg simply didn't play up to his ability this season.
Dec 19 - 11:13 PM

Auburn redshirt junior OLB Kris Frost filed paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory Board.

Brandon Marcello of the Alabama Media Group reports that Frost is considering jumping to the NFL. We like the improvements Frost has shown on the field this season, leading to this possibility. Frost is a 6-foot-2, 234-pound athlete who projects as a weak-side 'backer. He can make plays sideline-to-sideline and also is skilled in pass coverage.
Dec 19 - 10:59 PM

Cal sophomore QB Jared Goff boasts sound mechanics and natural accuracy as a thrower, according to Scout Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl.

The second-year star threw for 3,973 yards (his second straight year over 3,000) on a 62-percent completion percentage with a 35/7 TD/INT ratio. "The 6-4, 210-pound sophomore throws with excellent balance and has above-average accuracy and touch at all three levels," the duo wrote. "Goff also shows strong poise handling the pocket, and flashes the ability to scan the entire field and work through his progression. He will hold on to the ball for too long at times, and can speed up his internal clock, but overall, he has a very high ceiling and a bright future if he can continue to hone his craft." We love Goff's arm and long-term potential, but want to see him work on his accuracy when pressure forces him off his spot.
Dec 19 - 10:42 PM

Minnesota redshirt sophomore TE Maxx Williams declined to comment on his NFL Draft intentions when asked by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Williams smiled and said, "We’ll find out," when asked about declaring for the NFL. He won't talk about it until after the season ends. "After the bowl game," he added. "We’ve got to worry about the bowl game." Williams confirmed he submitted his name to the NFL Draft Advisory Board. It's possible he'll be told he's a projected second-rounder. "Most of the time, through my dealings, [the board is] pretty close on things," Gophers coach Jerry Kill said. "Ultimately, it’s [the player’s] decision, and I support whatever happens." The coach added: "If he comes back, he’ll make a good decision. And if he doesn’t, he’ll make a good decision. And we’ll be excited either way." The 6-foot-4, 250-pound sophomore has a similar skill-set to Cowboy TE Jason Witten.
Dec 19 - 10:30 PM

Former Louisville redshirt junior OT Ryan Mack will transfer to Memphis.

This is a nice, stealthy addition for the Tigers. Mack has NFL talent but wore out his welcome in Kentucky. His play fell off this season, and, when it did, he began getting penalized at an alarming rate. Eventually, Mack was replaced by Aaron Epps in the starting lineup on Oct. 18 versus NC State. Still, the big-bodied Mack is surprisingly athletic and is a road grader in the run game. He's eligible to play immediately.
Dec 19 - 10:13 PM

Scout Inc.'s Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl wrote that FSU freshman RB Dalvin Cook's "emergence in the second half of the season played a huge role in the Seminoles' berth in the inaugural College Football Playoff."

"Cook is a quick and instinctive runner who runs with great tempo and has the ability to string together multiple cuts to get in and out of traffic and make defenders miss in the hole," they wrote. "He also flashes exceptional burst to run away from defenders, and brings versatility as a receiver." Karlos Williams was a huge disappointment this season, but his struggles at the very least opened the door for the Seminoles' next intriguing running back talent. Cook has the look of a future pro.
Dec 19 - 10:00 PM

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