Bob Gaughan watches more college football than anyone you know. We asked him for his quick thoughts on the top prospects in this year’s NFL Draft. (If you start following him on Twitter, maybe he’ll even start tweeting.)
Dee Milliner, Alabama – Top 10 pick. Only started last year and a half. How deep is Alabama on defense? A shut down corner that is a ball hawk and will attack the run. Charles Tillman of Bears would be a good comparison.
Xavier Rhodes, Florida State – Tapes show QB’s were avoiding Rhodes all year. Only 3 interceptions in ’12 but because other teams respected him. Can play physical on big NFL receivers.
Desmond Trufant, Washington – Corner with attitude. Loves to talk. Big ego. Had a big week at Senior Bowl. Has two brothers already playing in the NFL. Like Rhodes, his stats aren’t that impressive because teams stayed away from him.
Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State – Half of step down from Top 3. Tall and lean. Saw him get burned a few times with eyes in backfield against Ole Miss late in the year. Starter for 4 years in the SEC.
Jordan Poyer, Oregon State – Fiery personality and very productive. Starter at CB for two years after moving over from safety. Can return punts too. Had an 85 yarder vs UCLA for a TD two years back.
Darius Slay, Mississippi State – Only one year of experience. Got many opportunities opposite Banks. Did return a big interception for a TD vs Georgia. Intercepted five on the season. Don’t like the way he plays the run. Too much Deion Sanders technique vs the run if you know what I mean.
Robert Alford, SE Louisiana – Diamond in the rough that shined at the Senior Bowl. Left scouts buzzing. How rare is it for someone from SE Louisiana to be invited the Senior Bowl? He was the first since 1970.
Logan Ryan, Rutgers – His coach says “he’s tough, smart and disciplined with a tremendous work ethic and talent to go along with it.” Sign me up. Ended his career with three pass break-ups and seven tackles against Virginia Tech in bowl game. I like DB’s that were once quarterbacks. Lack of elite speed keeps him from being higher on this list.
Bildi Wreh-Wilson, Connecticut – Laid an egg at Senior Bowl practices. Looked slow. Got burned in man coverage and wasn’t much better in zone. Stock took a hit.
David Amerson, NC State – Was rated top corner in country before this year. Got burned by Patterson twice in opener in loss to Tennessee. Not elite speed.
Kenny Vaccaro, Texas – Teams hoping he’s the next Earl Thomas, the man he replaced. Longhorns defense really struggled this year but still expect Vacarro to make it into the first round. Not quite as good as Thomas in terms of speed and as a ballhawk.
Matt Elam, Florida – Not a big man, but he has a knack for making big plays. Will run through a wall for you, but might make a small hole.
Johnathan Cyprien, Florida International – Very physical at Senior Bowl practices. Really answered the question if he was capable of answering the bell with a step up in competition. Doesn’t hurt that WR TY Hilton came from this school and had a decent year with the Colts this year.
Philip Thomas, Fresno State – led FBS with eight interceptions and returned three of them for scores. Like this guy. Can’t argue with production. 13 interceptions, six forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. 20 turnovers total. Enjoyed a good Senior Bowl week like Cyprien. Can’t teach his instincts.
Eric Reid, LSU – LSU record in the 3 yrs Reid was there was 34-6. Remember the big INT at the goal line in Alabama that helped the Tigers beat ‘Bama in the regular season two years ago. Had a key INT late to beat South Carolina victory this year. Love his aggressiveness.
Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma – Although leaving as after his junior season still has 33 starts under his belt. Not a big Ed Reed punishing safety. A little thin but not afraid to put his head in there. Led Sooners this past year with 119 tackles.
Shawn Williams, Georgia – Looks the part. An impressive physical specimen. 11 tackles and a blocked punt in his final game against Nebraska. Rambo got a lot more publicity but Williams might be the better pro. Didn’t have an interception as a senior. Did have four as a junior including intercepting Kirk Cousins in the bowl game two years back.
Bacarri Rambo, Georgia – Failed drug tests twice. Missed first four games of last season. Very much a gambler. Had 16 career interceptions. Took advantage of a great pass rush of Jones and company. Not a fan.
Zeke Motta, Notre Dame – Mike Mayock a bigger fan of this guy than most. Don’t think he is nearly as good as Harrison Smith that went 29th last year to Minnesota. Not nearly as good of cover man. Like Rambo, I think he benefited from a good pass rush by the Irish. Like T’eo the Alabama game didn’t help this guy.