The 2015 NFL Draft will see a depleted class after 96 juniors left school early for the 2014 draft, but that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of top-end talent. The class should see a handful of potentially dangerous edge rushers, a versatile receiver prospect and yet another Texas A&M offensive line product atop teams’ pre-season draft boards.
1. Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M
Another draft, another Aggies offensive tackle in the top-10 discussion. Ogbuehi has played both guard and right tackle for Texas A&M, but all signs point to him taking over at left tackle. A thick, well-built, strong-handed blocker, Ogbuehi has the skill-set and upside to potentially be the best of his past teammates-turned first-rounders.
2. Randy Gregory, DE, Nebraska
The 6-6 edge rusher was easily Nebraska’s best defensive player last year, at times a one-man show as a pass-rusher and edge container. With outstanding length and body control in pursuit, Gregory looks the part of a top-10 worthy defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker, and another strong season could put him atop draft boards in 2015.
3. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
One of the country’s best cornerbacks last year, it was a major surprise when Ekpre-Olomu opted to stay in school another year. Had he come out, he would have been strongly in the mix as the top cornerback in 2014. Now, the fluid, physical corner will have a chance to grow further as a prospect, and could emerge in 2015 as a top draft pick.
4. Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
Beasley was firmly in the late-first round discussion for the 2014 draft, but instead chose to stay in school for his senior season. After a 13-sack season, he may find it difficult to put up a repeat performance, but the aggressive, speedy rusher (probably best suited for a 3-4 defense in the NFL) should continue to excite teams nonetheless.
5. Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State
Built like an NFL offensive tackle, the long, powerfully thick Erving would’ve been in the first-round discussion had he left Florida State this past season. Instead, the athletic run blocker with the length to have success on the edge opted to stay in school, and if he can make the necessary developments, could be one of the premier blockers of the 2015 draft.
6. Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State
Ohio State has had a strong history of producing interior defensive line talent, and Bennett could be another impact defender for the Buckeyes. Playing multiple interior spots in the versatile Ohio State defensive scheme, Bennett’s pop off the line, strong hands and lateral control could make him highly coveted in next year’s draft.
7. Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford
An explosive, speedy receiver, Montgomery routinely made plays for the Stanford offense as both a receiver and returner last year. The usually power-running team saw Montgomery provide a unique wrinkle, one that should be kept this season. Look for he and quarterback Kevin Hogan to put up impressive numbers together.
8. Trey Flowers, DE, Arkansas
The SEC has become the staple for top-tier pass rushers in recent years, and 2015’s senior rusher to know in the conference is Flowers. He has the body type, length, closing speed and finishing ability in the run game to be viewed as a complete defensive end prospect. If he can step his production up, the top-20 could be calling.
9. Henry Anderson, DE, Stanford
Finding 5-techniques is difficult for 3-4 defenses, because it’s a position that demands length, lower body strength and some pass-rushing ability. Anderson of Stanford is one of the few prospects who played the position, so not only does he possess the required size and skills, but he boasts experience. He’s been a key part of the Stanford defensive success, and has the talent to be a top-20 pick.
10. Denzel Perryman, ILB, Miami (FL)
Miami has a rich history of putting top-tier linebackers in the NFL, and Perryman could be next in line as a potential first-round pick. While he just reaches the 6-foot threshold for the NFL transition, Perryman displays elite athleticism, quickness and explosive tackling ability to potentially be a top-20 worthy linebacker.
Top Five Juniors
1. Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford
2. Leonard Williams, DT, USC
3. Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
4. Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
5. Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia