I've compiled an early list of players that I think are the top 50 in this upcoming draft. These are solely my opinions and thoughts on players I've seen via my DVR, YouTube scouting tape, along with considering scouting reports and comments from reputable and trustworthy draftniks.
For comparison here is our friend and accomplished draft guru Jesse Bartolis' big board: Jesse's Big Board
We also have our SBNation's Draft Site, Mocking the Draft, and their big board by expert Dan Kadar: MTD Big Board
Let me stress, this is not a mock draft. Just the order in how talented these prospects are. For example, I have Chance Warmack very high, but he's not going to go 2nd overall because he's a Guard.
1) Luke Joeckel, OT TAMU - Joeckel reminds me a bit of D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Great blend of size and agility. He can fit in a ZBS or power scheme and succeed. Comparable in talent level to Matt Kalil last year.
2) Chance Warmack, OG ALA - Prototype bulk, strength, and speed. Not impeccable in pass protection, but still well above-average. He is a monster in the run game, and fair to say, a probowler at the next level. Anybody that saw the BCS National Championship could see him get to the next level quickly and take out anybody in his way.
3) Damontre Moore, DE TAMU - Elite blend of power, bend, and first step allowed him to be very highly productive. His skills are also highly translatable to the NFL. Not a great athlete, but he's got that quick twitch ability along with the motor and vision to be successful.
4) Jarvis Jones, OLB UGA - Has spinal stenosis, which will cause him to drop, but I'm rating based only on physical talent on the field. He's like a tornado when it comes to speed and bendability around the edge. His run defense leaves something to be desired, but if he manages to stay healthy, he's got the ability to be Von Miller-esque. He doesn't have the strength that Miller does, but he's got very good vision and has Kamerion Wimbley-esque bend.
5) Bjoern Werner, DE FSU - Werner is country strong. He's shown enough to rag doll guys out of the way to get to the QB. Another quick-twitch athlete that can basically do it all. He's very balanced and very rarely do you see him out of position to make plays (unlike Osi). There are questions about his effort level though.
6) Star Lotulelei, DT UTAH - People compare him to Haloti Ngata. He's not. He isn't athletic enough or productive enough. What he IS, though, is one mean individual. He has been unblockable, and is still disruptive enough to blow up plays while still getting double-teamed. Ideal 1-technique prospect.
7) Sheldon Richardson, DT MIZZ - A bit of a surprise to have him this high, but I stand by that. He's got the fastest first step of any defensive lineman in this draft. Yup, faster than any DEs too. He's not lacking in strength either. Isn't the most accomplished run stuffer, but his game is all about creating havoc in the pocket. Fletcher Cox is the most popular comparison.
8) Dee Milliner, CB ALA - He's not Patrick Peterson or Morris Claiborne, but he's the best corner by a decent margin in this class. He's a technician that uses the sideline very, very well. He's got fluid hips and is intelligent. Also a willing tackler. Doesn't have the ball skills of Peterson or Claiborne, but he's good enough in that area. Not a mind-blowing athlete, but again, good enough.
9) Eric Fisher, OT CM - I bit the bullet and started to believe in Eric Fisher. The guy was unbeatable at the Senior Bowl. After looking at some videos of him (I don't watch Central Michigan games), I really did not see anything I could criticize. Great size, powerful hands that can redirect big guys, and is supremely fluid and graceful. Does not get bullied.
10) Dion Jordan, LB ORE - Most freakish prospect in this draft. I'm wary of him as he's the "boom or bust" guy of this draft, but the speed that he brings is incredible. He's raw as a passrusher, but he's obviously shown natural pass rushing ability. He has the coverage ability to shadow WRs. That's how fast this guy is. In the hands of a creative defensive mind, he can be the ultimate weapon, a 3 down 'backer in the 43 OR 34 that can rush the QB, play the run, or play pass coverage effectively. How many players in this league can say that?
11) Barkevious Mingo, OLB LSU - Was a highly productive player a year ago but had a down year last year. Don't let that fool you, the guy is the complete package. He's athletic and explosive, along with very, very good passrushing technique. He's got a lean frame, and could add a little bit of weight, but knows how to gain leverage. I'd compare him to a very slightly poor man's Demarcus Ware. Similar skillsets.
12) Johnathan Hankins, DT OSU - Doesn't have the stats but watch the tape and you see a guy that can play 3 or 1 tech, anchor down, take on two linemen and still be able to collapse the pocket. He's a young Fred Robbins that can push the pile, and is nasty at the point of attack. His motor is inconsistent, however and takes some plays off.
13) Ezekiel Ansah, DE BYU - His tape isn't great, and neither was his performance at the Senior Bowl. So why is he my 13th overall prospect? Because he has an insane ceiling. The comparison to JPP is a bit unfair, because like the Star and Ngata comparison, Ansah doesn't have the same explosiveness that JPP does. What he DOES have are gorilla like arms, a good understanding of run defense, prototypical size, and incredible agility. He gets his pad level too high, lets blockers into his body, and doesn't drive his legs. However, he's got a good motor, and with good coaching, the technique flaws are fixable.
14) Sam Montgomery, DE LSU - He is the strongest 260 lber I have seen. He's got the best bull rush in this draft, and is probably the best run defender in this draft. He has an injury history and that has rid him of his first step, but he's still a freakish athlete. Incredible motor and physicality, which is why I like him so much.
15) Johnathan Cooper, OG UNC - As athletic as most LTs are, he's quick, nasty, and has very good technique. Giovanni Bernard had most of his success going Cooper's way. I don't think he's big enough, and he's going to get tested by stronger defensive linemen. He would be incredibly successful as a ZBS guard.
16) Kevin Minter, ILB LSU - My highest rated ILB because he's a well-balanced, 5 tool prospect. No real character issues, plays with aggressiveness, exhibits the ability to shed blocks, is athletic, a decent passrusher, and most importantly, shows good intelligence and awareness. Only average closing speed, but he's a sideline-to-sideline player.
17) Xavier Rhodes, CB FSU - I've flip-flopped between Johnathan Banks and Xavier Rhodes, but I'm going with the higher upside player here. He's a poor man's Patrick Peterson, with an incredible size and projected to have a very good 40 time. He has great trailing speed and knows when to flip his hips. I wouldn't say he can track the ball very well, though, and he would be limited to a man cover scheme. Willing tackler, but technique needs to be refined.
18) Johnathan Banks, CB MISS - A natural ballhawk, Banks has a long and lean frame. Will need to add a little bit of weight, because sometimes he doesn't seem physical enough. Has decent technique and would probably fare best in a zone cover scheme where he can keep an eye on the ball and pick it off.
19) Geno Smith, QB WVU - Just because I have him here doesn't mean he won't go 1st overall. I think this is about right for him, because while he had a down year, it still was him completing 72% of his passes for 42 TDs and 6 INTs.
20) Kawann Short, DT PUR - Ultra-productive in his years as a Boilermaker, he's a well polished tackle that will likely be a 3 technique at the next level. He's got a non-stop motor, a low center of gravity, and a proclivity towards making splash plays. He is an opportunist and plays with good technique. Not a fantastic athlete, but certainly has a very good first step and underrated power.
21) Manti Te'o, ILB ND - Forget the off-the-field stuff. On the field, he is worthy of a 1st round pick. He's got fantastic size, very athletic. Great intelligence and instincts. He's a leader on the field. He's not aggressive and has shown inconsistency getting off blocks. He makes a lot of splash plays. He could be compared to James Lauranitis.
22) Jesse Williams, DT ALA - Most draftniks have him around 10 to 15. I don't see it. He's an immovable object when anchoring down. He can be disruptive, but its inconsistent. He doesn't have a vast array of pass rush skills, but he is highly underrated in that aspect. A comparison, I'd say would be Casey Hampton. He's powerful enough and moves well enough that his ceiling would be Pat Williams. And that's a hell of a ceiling.
23) Alex Okafor, DE UT - The most underappreciated player in the draft, I've thought he's been a 1st round caliber player all along. He's been productive, has an insane bull rush and rip move, is smart and disciplined, and has a very solid first step. He was nearly unblockable in the Senior Bowl, and virtually unblockable in Texas' bowl game, where he racked up 4.5 sacks and a FF.
24) Alec Ogletree, ILB UGA - One of Jesse's favorite players in this draft, and I can see why. Probably the 2nd most freakiest athlete behind Dion Jordan. He's ultra-aggressive, which has led him to lose gap discipline at times. He also is too lean for me to be an impact ILB at his current frame of 6'3 230. If he can add another 10-15 lbs while keeping his athleticism, he should be an early 1st round pick. He also has trouble shedding blocks, which is an issue for me.
25) Keenan Allen, WR, CAL - My top rated WR has a strong blend of size and speed. Showed a very good ability to get separation and has very good hands. Exhibited solid body control and a decent catching radius. Not quite on the level of Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd, but close.
26) Barrett Jones, OC ALA - Jones' biggest asset is his versatility. He can effectively play every single position on the line, though he would be best used as a center. He's got great agility and has shown consistent ability to get upfield and block effectively at the 2nd level. He is intelligent and more than capable of making calls at the line. His only weakness, is, well, his weakness. He needs to get stronger.
27) Eric Reid, S LSU - He's my top ranked safety, edging out Vaccaro slightly. I think Reid's range is better and he can cover more effectively. I would tend to believe he's the more athletic of the two, though its close. I'd compare Reid actually to Kenny Phillips, someone that you could put in 1 deep coverage and feel good about it.
28) Kenny Vaccaro, S UT - Like I said, it was very close. Vaccaro will be a 1st round pick. He showcases solid athleticism and instincts. He's more physical than Reid and is a very, very good tackler. He's decent in coverage, but doesn't have quite the range that Reid does.
29) Logan Ryan, CB RUT - Ryan is solidly built and has the potential to be a true shutdown guy. He's probably got the smoothest transition from the backpedal to the run in the draft besides Milliner. He does a very good job hand fighting during the route while not being obnoxiously physical. He's a candidate to go late in round 1.
30) Shariff Floyd, DT FLOR - It's amazing that Floyd, who is my 30th overall prospect is my 6th rated DT. Goes to show how deep this class truly is. The key word is nasty. Great usage of his arms in order to power his way forward with a club move. He's got a great first step as well. He'd be my 3rd ranked 3 tech behind Richardson and Short, but could easily be a 1st rounder.
31) Cordarrelle Patterson, WR TENN - Patterson has been going under the radar, but caught my eye when former scout Daniel Jeremiah had him going 7th overall. He's a smooth route runner that's got very good acceleration out of his breaks. He's got good speed as well, and at 6'3 205, got the size to match it.
32) Matt Barkley, QB USC - Yes, I have Barkley as my 2nd ranked QB. I think while he doesn't have the greatest deep range accuracy or the best arm, he is certainly not Mark Sanchez. He's the best fit for a WCO offense, because he's got very good mid-range accuracy, and has the ability to stand in the pocket and go through his progressions. Has played in a pro-style offense and he has had the support of his teammates multiple times as a natural leader.
33) Johnathan Jenkins, DT UGA - Jenkins was the better of the two porkers in the UGA DL by quite a bit. He's a capable anchor, though I wouldn't say he's as stout as Jesse Williams (despite weighing 30 more lbs). He's a huge guy that moves very, very smoothly and that will have him going near the top of round 2 or even round 1 with teams looking for solid nose tackles.
34) Arthur Brown, ILB KSU - He was the heart and soul of the KSU defense. He's my 3rd ranked ILB despite weighing a miniscule 228 lbs for that reason. I think he'd be better suited for an OLB, if a team likes him as that, he's going to go quite high. He's got speed to burn and probably has the best closing speed of any LB in the draft.
35) D.J. Fluker, OT ALA - We've gone over Fluker at length on BBV. I compare Fluker to Phil Loadholt. He’s nasty and powerful, but kind of slow and would struggle in pass protection initially. He's got inconsistent feet, needs to get his feet out faster when he's doing his kick slide. Very active hands and powerful arms.
36) Desmond Trufant, CB WASH - I'm a noted fan of Trufant and its easy to see why. He's arrogant and talks a lot, but backs it up. Excellent technique, flips hips smoothly, and flashes the ability to redirect his opponent. That's NFL level stuff. He's very smart and slick, and while he isn't the greatest athlete, he makes up for it. He's got decent length, and good ball skills, though not elite by any measure. I'd compare him to very successful rookie Casey Heyward.
37) DeAndre Hopkins, WR CLEM - Hopkins was often overshadowed by the more touted Sammie Watkins, but he's an elite prospect in his own right. Very good acceleration, and creates a ton of YAC. His forte is not route-running, as he gets a bit sloppy but the dude was productive.
38) Khaseeme Greene, LB RUT - Greene is one of those guys that you put on tape, is everywhere, makes impact plays, but you wonder if he can have the same impact on the field. He's essentially the 2013 reincarnation of Lavonte David (who had a good rookie year down in Tampa). He's fast, instinctive, and forces a ton of fumbles. However, he is 6'1 220 lbs. By comparision, Xavier Rhodes is 6'2 217. I don't trust him fully to hold up at the next level, though his penchant for making plays as well as his motor and aggression pushes him all the way up here.
39) Giovanni Bernard, RB UNC - Probably the best comparison one can make to Bernard is David Wilson. Bernard is a bit heavier, I think, but just as explosive. He's got incredible balance as well. I don't know that he'll be able to run back kicks, but he's a dangerous, dangerous player.
40) Tavon Austin, WR WVU - Many compare him to Percy Harvin, and while I disagree with a lot of the popular ones, this one actually makes sense. He's the guy that you can give a short dump off play and he'll take it to the house. Explosive kick returner and basically an all-around weapon. He's short, but Harvin and Welker have thrived, so I can't see any reason why he can't.
41) Tyler Wilson, QB ARK - Ultimately I can see Wilson going in the 1st round due to need, but for our purposes, he's going to be my 3rd ranked QB. He's established himself as a leader, he's got a good arm, and he can make plays with his feet if necessary. He is a bit erratic, and while I don't consider myself an expert on QB mechanics by any stretch of the imagination, his release seems a little wonky to me.
42) Larry Warford, OG KEN - He's a massive specimen that's capable of pancaking people. This is a good draft for guards because the top 3 (Warmack, Cooper, and Warford) all have nasty dispositions and genuinely want to hit people. He came on the map because he absolutely stonewalled Sheldon Richardson when going against him, and showed up again on the Senior Bowl by not losing very much at all. He should be a top of the 2nd round kind of guy.
43) Tyler Eifert, TE ND - Some might think this is a little low for Eifert, but I ask, why exactly should he get a 1st round grade? I'll give him this, he high points the ball like no other and has the skillset to be among the best redzone threats in the league. Very good length, and incredible body control. However, dude can't block. Either that, or is just uninterested in blocking.
44) Matt Elam, S FLOR - There's a lot to like and not to like about Matt Elam. Very easy prospect to scout. He's got a penchant for making plays. He's also intelligent, doesn't give up much in coverage, and is aggressive. Big hitter. Problem is, he's got awful tackling technique, and sometimes bites when he's too aggressive. Gets called for a couple personal fouls IIRC as well.
45) Eddie Lacy, RB ALA - Ready for the player comparison? Ahmad Bradshaw. Almost identical players. Both have great wiggle, are good at breaking tackles, have great stiff arms, decent vision, and play with fire. Lacy has a signature spin move as well to his arsenal. He's a very strong pass protector. He's got the ability to be a 3 down back, though I fear he doesn't have the explosiveness to have a very high ceiling.
46) Cornelius Carradine, DE FSU - He's mainly down here because of his injury, so we can't tell how he's been developing. However, he's got a chiseled frame, and has an excellent motor. He was a polished passrusher who had a signature swim move that was very successful. Nothing to write home about regarding run defense, but he's got more or less everything you could want in a strong pass rusher.
47) Margus Hunt, DE SMU - He's a huge risk, right off the bat. He's an imposing, imposing specimen at 6'8 280 lbs and was a previous track star so he's going to kill the 40. That being said, there are a ton of issues with him that include having an awful center of gravity. Too high, and that essentially negates his strength at the point of attack. He was handled quite easily. He also doesn't have a great first step. It's good, but not elite, and that will hurt. He sometimes flashes pass rush technique but gets by with raw athleticism. He's got a hot and cold motor. He shows up big in big games, so that's definitely a plus, but you want more consistency out of him. He makes the top 50 because of the potential and also because his flaws are somewhat correctable.
48) Bennie Logan, DT LSU - Logan was often the forgotten man on the LSU defensive front, but quietly, he had a very strong season. He was the one who kept getting push up the middle, which is surprising given his lean 6'3 287 lbs frame. He's got violent hands and had the 2nd best first step of anybody on that LSU line behind Barkevious Mingo. He's got some work to do in run defense, as he got pushed around, but if he adds some weight, he'd be great as a 43 3-tech. He could stay at the same weight, be successful as a 5 tech in a 3-4 scheme also.
49) Lane Johnson, OT OU - Yeah, I don't see Johnson as a 1st round pick. He has the size and the athleticism, being a former TE, but he seems weak to me. He'll strongly greatly against stronger passrushers. He did give up pressures last year, and he doesn't have that nasty attitude you want. Doesn't drive well with his legs and doesn't finish blocks well. He's a strong pass protector and he mirrors well because he has left tackle feet. I think of him as an early to mid 2nd round prospect, but because of the dearth of tackles in this draft, he'll probably go in the 1st round.
50) Datone Jones, DE UCLA - Built like a tank at 6'4 275 lbs, Jones is a prototype LDE. Very good motor and extremely good short area quickness. He's very good in pursuit, which says something about his athleticism. I think he's a very good run defender that can set the edge, but could use some coaching up as a passrusher. Also, despite good run defense, there definitely are times where he gets swallowed up. He profiles as a very rough around the edges Justin Tuck.