When Teddy Bridgewater was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings with the No. 32 pick in the NFL draft, it took the Shutdown Corner's 12th-ranked overall player off the board. But even with that happening, there are still 21 of our top 50 players available.
Here's a look at the talent heading into Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday (numbers are the overall SDC ranking):
19. USC WR Marqise Lee
One of the more polarizing players in this year's crop, Lee went from one of the best players in the country in 2012 to a question mark following a huge production dip — from 1,721 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns to 791 and 4 scores — in 2013. Why the massive dropoff? Well, USC's quarterback play fell off, and Lee was fighting through a litany of injuries, plus teams were determined not to get beat by him. Still, there were opportunities to make plays that he missed this past season, such as concentration drops, that scouts have noticed. So what do we make of Lee overall? He might not time fast, but he plays to that speed and is very shifty and dangerous, even in traffic. Lee might not be your typical No. 1 receiver because of his build, but he has good route-running skills, can run past defenders and has overcome a lot in his life.
His first-round drop could lead to an insurance windfall, according to Yahoo Sports' Rand Getlin:
NFL comparison: Jeremy Maclin, although one respected scout told Shutdown Corner he thinks Lee possesses some "poor man's Marvin Harrison" like ability — high praise indeed
22. Notre Dame NT Louis Nix III
Nix has battled weight problems since high school and will have to answer questions about his stamina and whether he's an effective three-down defender. But he is a stout nose tackle who shows off surprising quickness off the snap and could be the ideal centerpiece up front for a 3-4 defense. Nix is coming off season-ending knee surgery but was in playing shape and looked leaner at his pro day. His personality is big and engaging, but one team mentioned that he was a bit too playful in his meeting with them, so he might not fit with every coach. Still, there's a lot to like.
NFL comparison: B.J. Raji and Vince Wilfork
24. UCLA OG Xavier Su'a-Filo
Although Su'a-Filo started six games at left tackle out of necessity as a junior, he projects best as a guard in the NFL. He's quick, active, powerful and smart and has acquitted himself much better inside than out. Su'a-Filo can project to both man- and zone-blocking schemes and has good quickness out of his stance and a punch to stun defensive linemen. Although he labors a bit and isn't the prettiest girl at the dance, Su'a-Filo often gets the job done and he has conducted himself well, per sources, in team meetings.
NFL comparison: Su'a-Filo compared himself to Logan Mankins at the combine, but we see a lot of Andy Levitre in his play
27. Fresno State QB Derek Carr
The younger brother of former No. 1 overall pick David Carr (younger by 12 years), Derek is a strong-armed, highly productive passer who possesses good athleticism and movement skills in the pocket. He operated a wide-open offense for the Bulldogs and was not afraid to channel his inner gunslinger in the process, which led to ups and downs, but Carr cut his fumbles down from 12 total as a sophomore and junior to only once as a senior and averaged an INT only every 67.9 throws — an excellent ratio. Carr also stood tall at the Senior Bowl and won over evaluators by doing extra work on the side after every practice before he spoke to scouts or media. His stock has been on the rise since a disappointing performance in the bowl loss to USC.
NFL comparison: A less mistake-prone Andy Dalton
32. Boise State DE-OLB Demarcus Lawrence
Lawrence quietly amassed 20 sacks, 34 tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles combined the past two seasons after coming from junior college. He makes his living as an edge rusher, able to dip and drive and use his great balance and long arms to close on quarterbacks. The Broncos used him as a right end, facing off against left tackles, but he also could stand up in a 3-4 defense on the next level. There are questions, however, about Lawrence's power and pop when teams run right at him and his character (three college suspensions) has had to be carefully scrutinized by teams.
NFL comparison: We think Shaun Phillips is a pretty good doppelganger
33. Minnesota DT Ra'Shede Hageman
If Hageman ever fulfills his potential, then this projection will be way off — he'll be one of the 10 best pure football players in this class. But there is enough variation in his play and oddly long gaps between flash plays where Hageman disappears to make NFL teams wonder about whether he ever will put it all together. At his best, Hageman flashes some explosive movement skills (which were backed up by an insane 35.5-inch vertical jump) and raw strength (35 bench reps) that teams drool over. But he also freelances, doesn't dominate lesser competition and can go invisible for long stretches. That said, players with his combination of physical traits simply do not last long on Draft Day.
NFL comparison: At times, he's Richard Seymour, but sometimes he looks like former first-round Giants bust William Joseph
34. Missouri DE-DT Kony Ealy
Ealy was a solid contributor until his breakout junior season in 2013 in which he was first-team all-SEC with 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception run back for a score. He played light on his feet and was a disruptor, able to bend the edge better than teammate Michael Sam, and Ealy routinely faced off against the conference's best left tackles — including top-10 picks Greg Robinson and Jake Matthews, among others. Ealy also kicked inside on passing downs, where he wins with quickness, but he also can play way too high at times and must get stronger to be an interior rusher in the pros. Some 4-3 teams have looked at him as an "under" tackle, and 3-4 teams would consider him as a rush linebacker — it speaks to his versatility and athleticism, even if he might never be an elite playmaker.
NFL comparison: Shares some traits — body- and skill-wise — with Robert Ayers and Michael Bennett
35. Notre Dame DE-DT Stephon Tuitt
There's a noticeable difference between Tuitt's junior-year tape and that from 2013, when he played following hernia surgery and with pain in his left foot. Still, Tuitt put up impressive production the past two seasons combined (20.5 sacks in 28 games), especially when you consider he played mostly as a five-technique while being asked to occupy blockers more than stalk quarterbacks. Still, with his length, stacking ability and great balance and footwork, Tuitt found his way into the backfield a lot. He also has exceptional hands and hand-eye coordination and will be a plus-athlete by NFL standards on the defensive line. Tuitt can play in both 3-4 and 4-3 fronts, though he likely would play more over the guard in the latter.
NFL comparison: A lighter-on-his-feet version of Tyson Jackson
36. Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde
Although Hyde struggled with his weight early on in Columbus and didn't really breakout until this past season, what a year it was. Hyde was a monster throughout but was especially monstrous against the Big Ten (156.1 rushing yards per game in conference play) and ended his college career on a nine-game 100-yard rushing streak. With terrific size, great balance, tackle-breaking ability and surprising short-area quickness, Hyde would seem to be the whole package. But he must prove he can be a reliable pass receiver and blocker, which he has done well but only in small doses because of the role he was asked to play at OSU. Injuries and conditioning also could be long-term issues.
NFL comparison: If you watched the Packers' Eddie Lacy last year, you have a good idea of what Hyde is
37. Florida State DT Timmy Jernigan
Many people first saw what Jernigan was capable of in the national championship game when he battled an illness to post nine tackles despite having to come off the field. It was a strong effort for the stout nose tackle to cap off his one college season of starting in which the junior led the Seminoles in tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He might not be massive, but Jernigan is country strong and can wreck blocking schemes with his good hands and good first step. What Jernigan is not is a pass rusher — and he never really projects to be one, either. But as a one- or two-gapping nose tackle, he's a solid penetrator and run stopper who can hold down the fort for others to make plays.
NFL comparison: He's Brodrick Bunkley all over again
38. Fresno State WR Davante Adams
The junior Adams might not be receiving the same attention as some of the other talented wideouts in this loaded draft class, but he should. Considering Adams led the nation in 2013 in receptions (131) and touchdown catches (24), even in the Wild (Mountain) West, there probably should be more buzz for him. Teams studying QB Derek Carr certainly have seen Adams' great hands, explosion and leaping ability, and even if he's not a burner and doesn't yet possess great strength to beat press coverage, he has the frame and natural athleticism to make it work. Adams could have a Jordy Nelson-like "awakening" in his second or third NFL season with the right guidance and patience.
NFL comparison: Has traits of Hakeem Nicks, Michael Crabtree and DeAndre Hopkins but is younger than all of them coming into the NFL
39. Nevada OG-OT-C Joel Bitonio
A college left tackle, Bitonio is more likely than not going to be an NFL guard — or perhaps even a center, where he has worked out for scouts. He is a quality athlete with a chip on his shoulder and a professional approach to the game whose aggressive style of play shows up on tape. Bitonio studied UCLA pass rusher Anthony Barr all last summer, knowing he'd be facing him in the 2013 opener, and he held Barr sack-less. There's also a great clip of Bitonio chasing down a San Diego State linebacker 40 yards downfield after a turnover — the kind of hustle play that coaches fall in love with. Bitonio's smarts, versatility, nasty streak and movement skills project him to be a quick study in the NFL if he can adjust to playing inside.
NFL comparison: Logan Mankins
40. Alabama OT Cyrus Kouandjio
At one point, Kouandjio was being talked about as a possible top-10 draft pick, and why not? Heading into the 2013 season, he was another year removed from 2011 knee surgery, had the frame of exactly how you'd draw up a left tackle and was not yet 21 years old. And yet, last season was somewhat of a struggle for Kouandjio, with his slow feet and poor balance showing up way too often. It culminated with a bad bowl game in which Kouandjio was abused by Oklahoma pass rusher Eric Striker, and then Kouandjio got more bad news with some shaky medical reports at the NFL combine. But the upside is just too high for some to overlook, and some team till try to mold this long-arms, massive-framed beast into a quality player.
NFL comparison: Could be Anthony Davis (on the high end) or what we have seen of Mike Adams thus far (on the low end)
41. Oregon State DE Scott Crichton
The Beavers' all-time leader in forced fumbles (10) and third all-time sacker (22.5) projected to be a first-round prospect in 2015 before he declared early to help his family, which, as he revealed as the NFL combine, is struggling financially. And though Crichton is still raw despite his production, there's a lot to like. He has a strong build, a nose for the ball and plays with some evident power. Crichton will need work on his technique, specifically polishing his pass-rush moves and learning to work angles better. He certainly will be worth investing in and likely will be better in Year 2 than in Year 1.
NFL comparison: Derrick Morgan, who is not explosive but has turned himself into an effective pro
42. Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro
With one stunningly good season — 106 catches, 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns — Amaro has opened scouts' eyes with his ability to flash down the seam as a massive slot receiver in the Red Raiders' offense. He was a mismatch nightmare for most college teams, and Amaro's length (34-inch arms, too) will translate to the NFL well, too. Amaro appears pretty straight-linish as a receiver, he can be stiff running routes and has had consistency issues with his hands. But he shows good effort as a blocker (though very little of it was as a true, in-line tight end) and the potential to refine his game.
NFL comparison: We're having a hard time coming up with an exact comp, but the VIkings' Rudolph is close
43. Mississippi State OG Gabe Jackson
The SEC run continues with Jackson, who is a short-area mauler — plain and simple. There might not be a lot of prettiness to his game, and honestly, some scouts think he can play with even more pop behind his pads. But Jackson has the look — like the Lions' Larry Warford last year — of being a Day 1 NFL starter who far exceeds his combine test numbers. Jackson is smart, has quick recognition of stunts and blites, adjusts well and can punch to shock defenders despite a lack of foot speed.
NFL comparison: Very comparable to Chance Warmack and Warford, first- and third-round picks in 2013
44. Auburn RB Tre Mason
The Heisman Trophy finalist had about an impressive a three-game span — rushing for 663 yards against Alabama, Mizzou and Florida State down the stretch — as any running back in college football last season. Mason runs extremely low to the ground, is incredibly shifty (he showed some Reggie Bush-like jump cuts last season) and always seems to fall forward. There might be questions about Mason's size, his ability to take a pounding long term (he has a wrist injury that might require surgery) and even his ball security (eight fumbles the past two seasons). But for our money, his explosiveness and home-run ability make him an instant contributor in the NFL.
NFL comparison: Like with Gio Bernard, there's timed speed and there's playing speed, and Mason has the latter
45. Washington RB Bishop Sankey
The Pac-12's leading rusher really gained draft steam at the end of the season after he had scored a touchdown in every game and averaged 143.8 yards on the ground, and Sankey took it to another level with a banner combine workout: 26 reps on the bench, a 126-inch broad jump and blazing times in the 3-cone drill and the 20-yard shuttle. He's built solidly for his size and can pick through holes well, and Sankey showed no wear for such a heavy workload the past two seasons (677 touches). He's not a burner and isn't a complete back yet with pass-blocking issues, but Sankey can find a Day 1 role as a runner and receiver.
NFL comparison: A better runner than Shane Vereen but not quite the receiver
47. Mississippi WR Donte Moncrief
The more we saw of Moncrief, the more we liked him — and it was clear that even with some inconsistent quarterbacking at Ole Miss, he has some special athletic traits. The 21-year-old also spoke confidently at the combine about his abilities as a wide receiver, and he then showed his explosion with an 11-foot broad jump (tied for the most among wideouts). Although he's a bit of a long strider and doesn't always play to his size, Moncrief has some real upside as a top-two wideout in a vertical offense that can use his length and speed well. It's also fun watching him compete on 50-50 balls and as a run blocker.
NFL comparison: A more fleet-of-foot (and maybe not quite as physical) Dwayne Bowe
49. Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo
Garoppolo comes into the NFL like many quarterbacks these days: with less-than-ideal height, having run a fast-break, spread offense in college. The difference with him is that he played his college ball in Charleston, Ill. and was completely under the radar until he lit up Northern Illinois for 450 yards and 6 passing touchdowns at the start of the 2013 season. From there, scouts took note of Garoppolo's lightning-quick release, athleticism, competitiveness and moxie, and he did good work in the offseason at the East-West Shrine Bowl, Senior Bowl, his pro day and the combine. A very interesting project passer who must incubate before being thrown into the fire.
NFL comparison: Tony Romo's body and quick release but not as talented (or chaotic)
50. Notre Dame TE Troy Niklas
The Irish's recent factory of NFL tight ends (John Carlson, Anthony Fasano, Kyle Rudolph, Tyler Eifert) has a new entrant that could, eventually, be the best of the lot if he develops fully. Niklas was a surprise underclassman entry who has a massive frame and yet still is learning the finer points of the position after switching from outside linebacker. After backing up Eifert in 2012, Niklas showed what he's capable of in 2013, but also that he must work on his strength and route running. In time, though, he could be a real gem.
NFL comparison: What you'd get if you combined Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler
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