I was reading an article from FOX Sports’ Peter Schrager and he has ranked the top 50 prospects heading into the NFL Combine. It’s pretty well done, but not entirely relevant to us Jags fans. Only 32 people get selected in the first round and a couple of those guys may not be in Schrager’s top 50, of those top 50 the Jags only get one pick so I’ll highlight the ones that are most relevant to the Jags. Click the link for his full 50.
1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State
The more and more I watch film of Werner, the more I see the next Jared Allen. At 6-4, 260 pounds, the relentless pass rushing defensive end can get to the quarterback and stop the run. A one-time high school foreign exchange student from Germany, he’s already married and can make an impact immediately. A can’t-miss prospect.
3. Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
A great story, already, Jones transferred from USC to Georgia after suffering a neck injury and being unsure whether he was in Lane Kiffin’s plans a few years back. At UGA, he excelled. He can play either inside or outside linebacker at the next level and will excel both in pass rush and coverage situations. He led the nation in sacks, tackles for a loss and forced fumbles in 2012. He can flat out play.
6. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
At the end of the college season, I had Ansah graded as a second- or third-round pick. After watching his tapes and speaking to some sources around the league, I’ve bumped him all the way up into the top 10. Raised in Ghana, he showed up at BYU and tried out for the basketball team. When he didn’t make the squad, he gave football a shot. It took a bit of time, but he blossomed into a pass rushing phenom in 2012. Still very raw, the 6-6, 270 pound athletic specimen has drawn comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul. The sky’s the limit. Which team is going to take the roll of the dice?
7. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Though he struggled with getting his weight under control early in his college career, Lotulelei proved to be a menacing force to be reckoned with the past two seasons. Compared favorably to Haloti Ngata, the 6-4, 320-pound defensive tackle could be a fit in either a 3-4 or a 4-3. He’s married with two kids and is mature well beyond his 23 years of age. Lotulelei recorded 20.5 tackles for a loss the past two years. He’ll be highly coveted come April’s draft.
10. Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M
Moore’s another Aggies player where you pop the tape in to watch Manziel, and you walk away shaking your head in amazement at the talented defensive end on the other side of the ball. He played both linebacker and defensive end in college, and though he was overshadowed by teammate Von Miller at times, there were flashes of brilliance. His versatility makes him very intriguing at the next level.
When looking at the five guys outlined above, I think it’s pretty hard for the Jags to go wrong with the second overall pick. There are some other guys who may sneak in, like Chance Warmack, but it’s likely that the Jags play it safe and strike gold with the talent along the defensive line.
The combine is by no means going to be the perfect indicator of success for drafted players, but, as Zain notes, it can help or hurt you. Let’s hope that the top guys in Schrager’s top 50 just prove to be even better.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims