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NFL Draft: Best Available Entering Day 3

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The Sports Xchange

With three rounds of the NFL Draft complete, there is still plenty of starting-caliber talent on the board. The top 10 prospects still available entering Day 3:

10. Tre McBride, WR, Williams & Mary (6-0, 210, 4.41)

An FCS All-American, McBride leaves school with several William & Mary receiving records and has a Pierre Garcon-like skillset for the NFL. And like Garcon, who made the jump from Division III, McBride faces a transition from “small school” to the NFL. Growing up in a military family, he lived in seven different states over his childhood so he is accustomed to change and adjusting quickly to new surroundings. McBride isn’t explosive or sudden, but he is smooth and athletic and although his ability to create separate isn’t a strength, he has polish and seasoning that most FCS receivers lack, projecting as a NFL starter by year two.

9. Rakeem Nunez-Roches, DT, Southern Miss (6-2, 307, 5.02)

Born and raised in Dangriga, Belize, Nunez-Roches arrived in the United States with his mother in 2000 and they traveled across the country, living out of their car at times before setting in Alabama for his high school years. He picked up football and developed into Southern Miss’ top defensive player, playing primarily the one- and zero-technique positions. Nunez-Roches is a quick-footed penetrator who is at his best shooting gaps or using his quick extension to attack and drive blockers backward. He needs coached up to groom the technical side of his game, but the raw tools and motivated attitude are there for him to develop into a disruptive role player in the NFL and eventual starter, possibly as soon as his rookie season.

8. James Sample, SS, Louisville (6-2, 209, 4.56)

A Washington transfer, Sample spent less than a calendar year at Louisville, but was impressive and showed the potential that made him a top high school recruit. A tough competitor, Sample is a true hunter against both the run and the pass with terrific diagnose skills to stack at the point of attack and make stops near the line of scrimmage. He is still developing his cover instincts, but catches on quickly and does a nice job with zone responsibilities. Simply put, Sample’s sample size raises some doubt, but the tape he produced in 2014 is impressive enough to think he can start in the NFL.

7. Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State (6-2, 293, 4.97)

The son of parents who each graduated from West Point, Bennett played both the three- and one-technique positions at Ohio State, starting 30 games over his career. His initial quickness and fluid movement skills are his best assets, but he can be controlled by single blockers and lacks the natural power to work through bodies. Although he can play above his measureables, Bennett needs to turn those flashes into consistency, struggling to answer if he doesn’t win off first movement and blockers are able to take away angles. He has starting potential as a three-technique in a 4-3 scheme and is viewed as a potential nose tackle by other squads.

6. Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State (5-11, 182, 4.53)

The leading receiver on three ACC Championship teams and one national title team, Greene leaves Tallahassee with a number of Florida State records, including career catches and receiving yards. Although his top-end speed is average, his route coordination and short-area quickness to create separation are his best strengths. Greene will fight the ball at times, especially when he lets it come to him, but he has soft hands and the hand/eye coordination to improve his ballskills. Greene has the skillset ideally suited for the slot, where he can be an impact player in the NFL, but his lack of size and physicality are question marks in his transition and will scare off some teams.

5. Grady Jarrett, DT, Clemson (6-1, 304, 5.06)

A barrel-chested bowling ball, Jarrett didn’t have the production of Vic Beasley or Stephone Anthony in Clemson’s front seven, but the coaches say he was the glue of the Tigers’ defense and the type that out-works everyone in the locker room. He grew up around the NFL game and benefited from the tutelage of his father (Jessie Tuggle) and adopted uncle (Ray Lewis). He has a “little tea cup” skillset (short and stout) with a wrestling background, using his initial quickness, natural leverage and pad level to attack gaps and win angles. Jarrett is limited to a one-gap scheme and lacks the brute strength to overwhelm blockers, but projects as a poor man’s Aaron Donald, shooting gaps and disrupting the backfield.

4. Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas (6-2, 266, 4.85)

Although he doesn’t have the gaudy production of other defensive end prospects, Flowers has NFL size/strength dimensions and was consistently effective since arriving at Arkansas, doing his best work against the run. He doesn’t cheat himself and uses every asset in his bag of tricks to make plays, showing the mentality for the trenches to do the dirty work. Flowers isn’t a dynamic athlete, but he plays passionate and tough with the high energy level to always play at full speed. He projects best as a 4-3 defensive end who is at his best taking on blocks and setting the edge as a stout run defender.

3. Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State (6-0, 221, 4.57)

Ajayi is a case of another very talented player who won’t be drafted as high as he should because of injuries. This past season, he became the first player in FBS history to rush for 1,800-plus yards and collect 500-plus receiving yards. However, several teams have dinged him for a knee injury earlier in his career that has progressively gotten worse. He is healthy right now, but the question is longevity and teams wonder if he’ll be able to play out his full rookie contract. Ajayi should be drafted soon on day three, but it’s an unfortunate set of circumstances for a talented player.

2. La’el Collins, OT, LSU (6-5, 305, 5.12)

A wrecking ball in the run game, Collins isn’t always the most controlled, but he sells out to eliminate bodies in his path that are wearing the other color jersey. He needs to show better bend and consistency in pass protection, too often falling off balance with limited range in his kick-slide, but there is no question about his 100 percent effort and mean streak. Collins is a first-round talent, but because of his connection with an off-field incident, it appears he will remove himself from this draft to re-enter next year.

1. T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh (6-5, 309, 5.14)

A former defensive end, Clemmings has explosive upper-body strength and powerful hands to dominate and knock defenders off their feet, playing like a strong oak tree made out of muscle fibers (once he gets his hands on you, it’s over). He’s very raw in several areas, but he has untapped potential with moldable traits to be a long-term NFL starter at offensive tackle or guard. A stress fracture in his foot appears to be the reason for Clemmings’ drop down boards.

–Dane Brugler is a Senior Analyst for www.NFLDraftScout.com, a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com.


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