2015 SEC Top NFL Draft Prospects
By Matt Osborne
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Ranking the top ten NFL Draft prospects in the SEC for the upcoming season.
1. Alabama WR Amari Cooper – Cooper’s talents are perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that he has led an incredibly talent-rich Alabama program in receiving in each of his first two seasons. At six-foot-one, his elite athleticism is nicely complemented by a frame which is desired by NFL executives. Cooper is a legitimate contender to be the top receiver selected in 2015.
2. Texas A&M OT Cedric Ogbuehi – The Aggies have had an offensive tackle selected in the top ten in each of the past two drafts, and it certainly isn’t out of the question that Ogbuehi will make it three in a row. Having started his career at guard, Ogbuehi is still learning the finer details of playing tackle. His natural talent and athleticism, however, are undeniable.
3. Alabama S Landon Collins – A consensus five-star recruit coming out of high school, Collins has undoubtedly lived up to the hype in Tuscaloosa. One of the most feared hitters in the SEC, Collins uses his football instincts and speed to arrive at the football in a hurry. Though by no means a bad defender in coverage, he must continue to work on his skills in pass defense for the next level.
4. Georgia RB Todd Gurley – If Gurley didn’t have a past history of injuries, he very well may have been ranked even higher on this list. Gurley is an above-average athlete in every way, but his greatest attribute is his power. He easily runs through arm tackles, and he almost always falls forward when he goes to the ground. He likely will be the first running back taken in the first round in the last three years.
5. LSU OT La’el Collins – Like Ogbuehi at Texas A&M, Collins started his career at guard before making the transition to the outside. He is a powerful blocker in the run game, and he continues to improve his footwork in pass protection. It is not out of the question to think that he could surpass Ogbuehi as the SEC’s top tackle prospect by the end of the season.
6. Florida DE Dante Fowler, Jr. – Fowler’s statistics may not jump off the sheet, but much of that has to do with the amount of attention that he receives from opposing teams. An exceptional athlete with great burst off the edge, he has an excellent chance of developing into an elite pass rusher in the NFL. His 266-pound frame also allows him to hold his own in the ground game.
7. Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon – In the storied history of Alabama football, no freshman running back has turned in a better campaign than Yeldon. Though he does not possess quite as much power as Gurley, Yeldon is likely the better runner in the open field. His versatility will be a huge commodity at the next level, as he is considered to be an “every down” back.
8. Arkansas DE Trey Flowers – Slightly undersized at just 244 pounds, Flowers is spending his final offseason in Fayetteville adding weight to his frame. Already considered one of the SEC’s best athletes off the edge, Flowers possesses a quick first step and an expensive repertoire of rushing moves. He will have a chance to shine this fall with the departure of teammate Chris Smith.
9. Missouri DE Markus Golden – After playing behind Kony Ealy and Michael Sam a year ago, Golden will finally have an opportunity to shine in 2014. Even as a backup in 2013, Golden still managed to chip in with 6.5 sacks. He is an incredible speed rusher off of the edge, although he does need to continue to develop his counter moves.
10. Georgia LB Jordan Jenkins – Jenkins’ sophomore season in Athens was considered to be a bit of a disappointment, but that certainly does not mean that he was unproductive. A freak of an athlete, Jenkins is best known for his abilities rushing the passer. He has continued to develop the other aspects of his game, though, and should be in for a big 2014 season with new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.