1. Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
2. Taylor Lewan, Michigan
3. Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama*
4. Cameron Erving, Florida St.*
5. Antonio Richardson, Tennessee*
Notes: Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan have seemingly secured top-ten draft positions at this point, while Cyrus Kouandjio also appears likely for the first round, following in D.J. Fluker’s footsteps. Cameron Erving should go fourth as a lanky, athletic tackle with considerable upside as a blindside protector. Antonio Richardson’s outing against Jadeveon Clowney last week exacerbated lingering concerns about his ability to man the left tackle position in the NFL.
1. Zack Martin, Notre Dame
2. David Yankey, Stanford*
3. Gabe Jackson, Mississippi St.
4. Cyril Richardson, Baylor
5. Anthony Steen, Alabama
Notes: Zack Martin plays left tackle for the Irish, but his build is probably better suited to guard at the next level, a position he’s somewhat overqualified for. Yankey played left tackle for the Cardinal last season, but he’s been forced into left guard duty this year. Behind him is Gabe Jackson, a massive, athletic guard with an SEC pedigree. Cyril Richardson is one of the biggest linemen in the class, but his awareness in pass protection led to a fourth-place ranking. Anthony Steen is a reliable option, but may lack the measurable to earn a second-round draft pick.
1. Travis Swanson, Arkansas
2. Weston Richburg, Colorado St.
3. Tyler Larsen, Utah St.
4. Bryan Stork, Florida St.
5. Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
Notes: This is a position where the first four players are somewhat interchangeable. Swanson may have the edge owing to his size and SEC experience, but Richburg has also impressed against major programs. All of these players, with the exception of Ikard, could be drafted as high as the fourth round, with the Oklahoma pivot probably projecting as more of a fifth-or-sixth-round pick.
1. Louis Nix, Notre Dame*
2. Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota
3. DaQuan Jones, Penn St.
4. Timmy Jernigan, Florida St.*
5. Anthony Johnson, Louisiana St.*
Notes: Louis Nix is the centerpiece of this year’s defensive tackle class, a nimble nose tackle with the ability to fit into either an even or an odd front. However, the other defensive tackles in the top five also have a shot at the first round, with Hageman and Jones getting a slight edge over Jernigan and Johnson because they could realistically project into a variety of defensive schemes, whereas the latter two are a little bit more limited, preferably playing three-technique in a 4-3 defense.
1. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon*
2. Bradley Roby, Ohio St.*
3. Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida*
4. Jason Verrett, Texas Christian
5. Darqueze Dennard, Michigan St.
Notes: Bradley Roby’s inconsistent performances in 2013 have dropped him behind Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, although the Ohio State defender possesses the higher upside of the two and is more naturally suited to man coverage. Purifoy’s physical tools create the impression that, with a focus on defense, he could be a quality starter, while Verrett rounds out the top four, a group which could all go in the first round. Dennard is competing with the likes of Kyle Fuller and Marcus Roberson for draft positioning.
1. Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, Alabama*
2. Curtis Lofton, Louisiana St.
3. Lamarcus Joyner, Florida St.
4. Antone Exum, Virginia Tech
5. Deone Bucannon, Washington St.
Notes: This is a particularly poor class of safeties. Clinton-Dix is really the only possibility for the first round, but no one should confuse him with a prospect of Mark Barron’s caliber. The next two players are in close competition, with Lofton as a physical, reliable strong safety and Joyner as more of an undersized hybrid cornerback/free safety with return ability. Exum plays cornerback at Virginia Tech, but could be drafted a safety. He is a first-or-second-round talent recovering from microfracture surgery.