Top 10 ACC Draft Prospects – Pre-Combine.

Prospects have begun to arrive in Indianapolis for the 2015 NFL Combine. The “underwear olympics” as Mike Golic calls the combine, gives prospects perhaps their best opportunity to impress scouts and GM’s before the NFL Draft. This is a look at who I view to be the 10 best ACC prospects in the 2015 draft class. For this article, I put on the hat of a GM and try to decide who has the most talent and who will have the best career in the NFL.

One name you will not see on this list is Jameis Winston. If I’m a GM (and for this article I am) I don’t draft Winston. Maybe as a 7th round flyer, but another team will have taken him much earlier. Regardless of the on-field talent, the off-the-field issues are too much for me to trust him with the keys to my franchise. I have seen no increase in maturity during his time at FSU. In the NFL, he won’t have a college community protecting him, so any screw up will be met with major consequences. He may be the next Manning, Rodgers, Brady, but if he’s not, he sets a franchise back five years.

#1. Devante Parker, WR-Louisville

Aside from Amari Cooper, Parker is the most talented receiver in this year’s draft. I actually believe Parker will have a better career than Cooper. Cooper had more than his fair share of drops, and his stats were inflated by being fed the ball early and often in Lane Kiffin’s offense. As for Parker, he should grow into a #1 WR early in his career. While he does not have elite speed, Parker does possess an impressive 80 inch wingspan and the ability to outjump and outfight defenders for the ball. Parker rarely drops a pass, three to be exact in the last two seasons. Parker is fluid in his routes and is a natural receiver rather than being an athlete who can catch. Devante Parker is worthy of being a 1st round pick and will represent the ACC well in the NFL.

#2. Ereck Flowers, OT-Miami

Which ACC Tackle is best suited for the NFL? That debate comes down to two men, Ereck Flowers of Miami and T.J. Clemmings from Pitt. Most experts have Clemmings listed in front of Flowers, but after everything I’ve seen, Ereck Flowers is the guy I’d choose to anchor my line for the next 10 years. Flowers is an early entry guy who has a lot of untapped potential. He is already a very good run blocker and can hold his own in pass protection. As of right now, he is a bit under the radar, but I look for a good Combine performance out of Flowers to elevate his draft stock and to get his name in a few more conversations.

#3. Vic Beasley, OLB-Clemson

I have pegged Vic Beasley as a Bruce Irvin type player for a while, and seems to agree. Beasley has two major things going for him; his explosive athleticism and his versatility. Another comparison would be Von Miller, though obviously to a lesser degree. Beasley should be effective as a pass rusher from day one, but the question is where will he line up. A creative defensive coordinator will love a player like Beasley. Whether he ends up as a rush outside linebacker in a 3-4 or a more traditional outside backer in a 4-3, Beasley should be able to carve out quite a career around taking down QB’s. If he improves his pass coverage skills, he’ll be an all-pro.

#4. T.J. Clemmings, OT-Pittsburgh

Clemmings was on fire as a prospect heading into the Senior Bowl. His stock had risen as high as a top 10 pick, with scouts envisioning him as a premier left tackle. Those dreams took a huge hit in Mobile, Alabama, as Clemmings struggled in pass protection especially in relation to a move to left tackle. Clemmings still has a place in the NFL, but that is as a road-grating run blocking right tackle. A switch down the line is not out of the question, as Clemmings is still somewhat inexperienced, having only played on the offensive line for two seasons, after moving from the defensive line. However, if a team drafts him as a left tackle from day one, then there is huge bust potential for Clemmings. That’s the reason why Flowers grades out in front of Clemmings. He is talented enough to be 1st on this list, but as a low-floor/high-ceiling prospect, Clemmings finds himself 4th on my list.

#5. Denzel Perryman, LB-Miami

Denzel Perryman is an example of everything that infuriates me about the scouting process. If Perryman was four inches taller, he would be a lock for a top-10 pick. The fact that he is 5’11” is hurting his draft stock, but I have yet to figure out how height is such a benefit to a linebacker. Yes, it helps you get into the backfield, but it also makes it easier for blockers to get underneath you for leverage, especially shorter fullbacks. The opposite also holds true for Perryman. His height allows him to use great leverage when shedding blocks or tackling. On top of great leverage, Perryman brings 250 lbs worth of raw power to every collision. He plays with a great motor and has good instincts. Denzel Perryman is as good as any inside linebacker in this year’s draft, regardless of size. I look forward to watching him prove it on Sundays.

#6. Philip Dorsett, WR-Miami

This is the 3rd Miami player on the list, which makes you wonder just what Al Golden is doing in Coral Gables. As for Dorsett, he can run 40 yards faster than you can read this sentence. Expect Dorsett to crush the Combine and continue his meteoric rise up the draft boards that started when he blew scouts away during Senior Bowl practices. Mid-season, Dorsett was thought to be a 4th-5th round pick, but the more scouts see of Dorsett, the more they love him. Dorsett’s elite speed will allow him to take the top off of defenses, opening up the field for whatever team drafts him. Don’t be surprised if Philip Dorsett bursts onto the scene with the same kind of productive season as John Brown for the Arizona Cardinals.

#7. Kevin Johnson, CB-Wake Forest

I’m sure Kevin Johnson here comes as a surprise to many, but much like Dorsett, Johnson’s name is rocketing up draft boards, and with good reason. Johnson has the makings of #1 corner. At 6’1″, he has the length that is coveted at the CB position. Johnson could stand to add some weight as he comes in around 175 lbs at this point, but as Johnson’s game isn’t based on top end speed, that weight would only help him. Pay attention to Johnson this week in Indianapolis, particularly his 40 time. If he can run 4.50 or less, he’ll be locked into the 2nd round.

#8. Laken Tomlinson, G-Duke

If you had a chance to read any of my Senior Bowl pieces, then you already know I’m a huge fan of Laken Tomlinson. There is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to the draft, but Tomlinson is as close as it gets. He doesn’t possess one elite trait, but Tomlinson is really good at just about everything. Both his pass blocking and run blocking are on par with NFL starters. Tomlinson has adequate agility and mobility as a guard, and should find success in just about any scheme in the NFL. Throw in his Duke education, and he has the mind for the game as well. Tomlinson is another guy who helped himself in Mobile, Alabama, cementing himself as at the very least a 3rd round pick, who could go has high as the top of the 2nd round.

#9. Eddie Goldman, DT-FSU

Eddie Goldman is a tremendous talent. He is a rare combination of size, speed, strength, explosiveness, and versatility. At 6’4″ 314 lbs, He has the size to play DT in the 4-3 and the strength to play in the 3-4. He’s extremely active for a defensive tackle and will make a major impact as a run stuffer and a pass rusher. Goldman can solidify his place in the 1st round with a good showing this week. It would take a horrible showing from Goldman to slip into the 2nd round.

#10. Eli Harold, DE/OLB-UVA

Eli Harold left the Cavaliers in a tight spot when he decided to forego his Senior year. I can’t fault his decision though, as early entry guys get the benefit if the doubt when it comes to upside. Harold is a raw athlete at the moment, but he has all the necessary tools to develop into a terrific pass rusher. Harold is another extremely versatile prospect who could play defensive end in a 4-3 or OLB in a 3-4. Standing 6’4″ 250 lb, Harold has great length for either DE or OLB, but has surprising strength to set the edge as a 4-3 end. Look for Harold to destroy the combine and potentially work his way into the bottom of the first round. He’s at the very least a 2nd round pick.

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