It is too early in the season to reasonably guess at draft order, so I decided to just rank the college players based upon where I thought there talent should land them. I have groups of QBs and CBs in the Top 20 range and a group of MLB/ILBs in the Top 32 range; probably some of these would fall lower because teams will consider position need when drafting.
I ranked players based upon what I have seen of them playing, not what some media guy told me (although to be fair, I am mostly scouting those the media ranks highly). If this list was no different than anyone else's, I would not bother posting it. If a player is not on this list, they are not first round talent. The only exceptions are Cordy Glenn, who I have not scouted in detail, so he was left off, and Reiff, who I placed based upon my limited views of him on tape and watching him last year.
Let me know if you disagree (and why) or if I left someone off, and I will let you know more about my ranking of that player.
*Added note - These players are not listed in a ranking order, outside of the groupings I have them in. So Dennard, Claiborne, and Kirkpatrick all have an equal "Top 20" grade.
Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford - Duh.
Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State - He's not the fastest, nor the biggest, but he has enough speed and size and everything else you want in a WR.
Alshon Jeffrey, WR, South Carolina - He's the physical specimen, the guy that can ignore the existence of defenders around him. I like Blackmon better. It might be Garcia's or Spurrier's fault.
Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama - It's a more explosive Ingram, no weaknesses to his game.
Matt Kalil, LT, USC - Not the athlete of the top tackles in previous years, but very technically proficient, always balanced and in position.
Brandon Thompson, DT/NT, Clemson - I have yet to see a double-team contain him. Strongest guy on the field, yet can also move on his feet, chases plays to the sideline.
Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma - Was assaulted in the Florida St game but he hung in there for the win, dangerous when given time to throw.
Jonathan Martin, LT, Stanford - Has the physical skill set but not as polished as Kalil. Just makes Top 10.
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama - Has the physical gifts but lacks consistency.
Alfonso Dennard, CB, Nebraska - Quick and intelligent, tough to shake in coverage.
Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU - An athlete in the Peterson mold, but stronger.
Nick Foles, QB, Arizona - His offensive coach and OL are awful, his WRs constantly drop passes, but he puts up a fight and still has production.
Matt Barkley, QB, USC - He's got the usual stuff you want in a QB, except for the large amounts of WTF? moments. Best LT in college, good supporting cast. Barely winning games against lesser competition. Totally outplayed by Osweiler. It's not like we haven't seen overhyped USC QBs before.
Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State - Monster size, athletic, shows strong arm and good accuracy. May be a little more of a project than others, but natural gifts and huge upside. A more attractive developmental pick than Freeman was two years ago.
Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama - A talented, natural 3-4 OLB in a weak draft for rushers.
Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame - A big WR that excels down the field.
Jeff Fuller, WR, Texas A&M - Has made great improvements in transforming from an athlete to an athletic WR.
LaMichael James, RB, Oregon - My personal preference is for short, elusive, but tough RBs in the MJD mold. He can bounce off a tackle and instantly accelerate.
Riley Reiff, LT, Iowa - It's a long drop from here to Datko, and beyond Datko is backup land.
Quentin Coples, DE, North Carolina - He has size but lacks the speed that is usually needed to be an elite pass rusher; he's a 4-3 LDE or 3-4 RDE. Someone will draft him on his measurables.
Manti Te'o, MLB/ILB, Notre Dame - I like the attitude. He wants the tackle. Not sure he has the sideline-to-sideline range for MLB.
Luke Kuechly, MLB/ILB, Boston College - An OL is always assigned to go block him. He still gets involved in most of the plays. Tackles can be a meaningless stat. A shitload of tackles is not.
Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama - The criticism of his speed because of his size is BS. The guy makes plays. Reads the action well.
Vontaze Burfict, MLB/ILB/OLB, Arizona State - Best athlete at the position, but does not give it all on every play. I think he can rush the passer; OLB might be a better fit for his abilities.
Zach Brown, LB, North Carolina - UNC pattern here. Athletically gifted. But I'd like to see more production. It just seems that the other linebackers make more tackles.
Michael Brewster, C/G, Ohio State - Top interior OL. On running plays, he attacks the defender. That's what I want to see from his position.
Peter Konz, C/G, Wisconsin - Right there with Brewster. Impressed with his pulling in the Nebraska game.
Jared Crick, DE/DT, Nebraska - He plays tough in the middle, fights through blocks, gets good push, hustles.
Markelle Martin, FS, Oklahoma State - Covers a lot of ground, protects the deep ball, but comes forward to make
plays, always makes the tackle.
Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina - Athletic, but not as proven as the other top CBs.
Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina - Yep, I think he is an OLB. Drop 10-15 lbs, rush off the edge. Has great burst, better than Jenkins, Lindsey, or Curry.
Alameda Ta'amu, DT, Washington - Someone will overdraft him because of his size, needs to learn how to get low because the smaller guys get under him. Uses his arms more than his legs for power.