Washington edge rusher Hau'oli Kikaha "has good snap anticipation, adequate get-off burst, great body control and strength to bend the edge while engaged, and, most importantly, he's a high-motor finisher," notes ESPN's Todd McShay.
Kikaha is one of this class' most divisive prospects. McShay is with us in being smitten with the Huskies edge rusher -- McShay ranks him No. 36 overall -- while others, like TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline, question whether he's worth a draft pick at all. "He has the potential to stick as either a left or right defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, because of his size and strength," McShay wrote. "He will likely slip in the draft because of his knee injuries and his pedestrian workout numbers. But if I'm compiling a list of the best pure football players in this draft class, Kikaha is making the cut." Pauline also reported that some teams have yanked Kikaha from their boards due to the reasons McShay cites.
Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong "is almost animalistic in how he pursues a football," according to NFLDraftScout.com's Frank Cooney.
"He shows exceptional hand-eye coordination that maximizes his long arms and sure hands," Cooney wrote. "Add to that intense focus and an ability to snag the ball regardless of its trajectory or defensive traffic and this is a receiver with mad ball skills." Strong had 75 receptions, 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013 and 82 catches for 1,165 yards and 10 scores last year. He fractured a bone in his wrist, likely requiring surgery, and will soon be re-checked by Indianapolis doctors. "It's doubtful that a fractured wrist will impact Strong's career, but after doctor gives the OK don't think twice about taking him anywhere in the second round," Cooney wrote. "Any later and he is a steal."
Vanderbilt LS Andrew East "could warrant interest in the 7th round or as a free agent," according to CBS Sports' Rob Rang.
Long snappers are very rarely drafted, but East is elite and might become an exception. He participated in the Senior Bowl and has been of the nation's best long snappers the past few years. "Though he lacks elite size for the position, East shows good overall athleticism on coverage units, posting seven tackles over the past two seasons and catching a 35-yard pass as a redshirt freshman off a fake punt against Georgia back in 2011," Rang wrote. "East shows good velocity and accuracy on his snaps and is a bit of a legacy as his father, Guy, was a three-year starting snapper at Purdue."
ESPN's Todd McShay "love[s]" Missouri edge rusher Shane Ray's "quick first step, his active hands to keep blockers off his frame, and his non-stop motor."
"But there is some concern regarding his position fit," McShay wrote. "As a 4-3 defensive end, he lacks ideal size and plays the run with a narrow base. But as a 3-4 OLB, he lacks experience in a two-point stance and he's very stiff in coverage. The team that drafts him will get the most out of his skill set, but it might not be the most natural fit." Ray was considered a top-10 lock coming into the winter, but his stock has dropped a bit since then due to sluggish testing times and a nagging injury. Nobody questions his effort, though. ESPN's Steve Muench compares Ray to Jerry Hughes.
USC WR Nelson Agholor "is a fierce competitor with excellent work habits in the weight and film rooms and takes his role as a team leader seriously," notes NFLDraftScout.com's Frank Cooney.
"Agholor's fascinating footwork will serve well on run-after-catch, but probably as a No. 2 receiver on a team that can also enjoy his entertaining style on returns," Cooney wrote. Agholor recently had a private workout with the Panthers (No. 25) and will soon work out for the Patriots (32). He's going to go at the end of Round 1 or near the beginning of Day 2.
Washington State QB Connor Halliday "was efficient and did a terrific job commanding the passing offense at Washington State but lacks the physical skills to be anything other than a third quarterback at the next level," according to TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline.
"Patient, intelligent quarterback with marginal physical skills for the next level," reads his scouting report. "Buys time for receivers, remains poised under the rush and displays a great sense of knowing where receivers. Effectively sets up screen passes and throws the ball with great timing. Very accurate in the short and intermediate field, placing passes where only his target can make receptions." Sounds like the perfect Mike Leach quarterback, right? The weaknesses will sounds familiar to NFL types who have tried without success to develop Leach's QBs in the pros. "Does not possess a big arm," Pauline wrote. "Cannot zip the passes through tight spots and deep throws hang in the air. Puts the ball up for grabs at times or tosses passes into covered targets. Not a nimble quarterback who can escape the rush or pick up yardage with his legs."
Clemson DT Grady Jarrett "can get blown off the ball when he doesn't keep his pads down, and he will never be a guy who takes up a lot of space," wrote ESPN's Todd McShay.
"But he is quick enough to shoot through gaps and has the agility to finish plays in the backfield," McShay wrote. Jarrett compares his own game to undrafted Hall of Famer John Randle (6-foot-1, 287) and is fond of reminding evaluators that Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (6-foot-1, 285) won the 2014 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. We love him. If Jarrett is available in the Round 2, we'd urge any team with an interior need to pull the trigger.
In a scouting report, TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline writes that ECU QB Shane Carden "was a tremendous college quarterback, consistently producing, but possesses average size and below average arm strength for the next level."
"He could be an asset as a third quarterback in a timing offense," wrote Pauline. The analyst likes everything that we do: It's impossible to rattle Carden, he thinks quickly, has good vision, is functionally mobile and doesn't make many mistakes. All that sounds great, but the weaknesses might preclude Carden from everything starting an NFL game. Per Pauline: "Possesses an average arm. Passes lacks speed and he struggles getting the ball downfield. Lacks height and has throws batted away. Loses velocity throwing on the move. High off the mark when he tries to zip the ball into targets."