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Top 5 at Each Position – Bowl Edition

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater

By Dwayne Wilton

The bowl season is upon us. Prior to the season I did a top 5 ranking of players at each position. It’s time now to update those rankings, taking into account the performances of the 2013 college season.

Quarterback:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Preseason Ranking

Current Ranking

Teddy

Bridgewater

Louisville

Jr

1

1

Derek

Carr

Fresno St

Sr

2

Blake

Bortles

UCF

Jr

3

Zach

Mettenberger

LSU

Sr

4

Johnny

Manziel

Texas A&M

RSS

5

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Analysis: Only Bridgewater stayed from my preseason rankings. He is still the top QB in the class and seems to pro ready. He has tremendous poise and leadership qualities for a quarterback his age. The only blemish on his record this year was a home loss to UCF, otherwise he could be playing for a national championship. Carr had a great year at Fresno State. He led the country in passing yards and passing TD’s, but you have to wonder about the competition he’s played against. He will also have to fight the comparisons to his brother David who never lived up to the #1 overall pick. Bortles has UCF in their first ever BCS bowl and has proved that he can bring his team from behind. Mettenberger has blossomed under offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. He has grown leaps and bounds in the last year. Manziel is eligible due to his redshirt year. It will be interesting to see how many teams shy away from him due to the drama that surrounds him. Will talent win out or will there be too many red flags?

Running Back:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Preseason Ranking

Current Ranking

Carlos

Hyde

Ohio St

Sr

1

K’Deem

Carey

Arizona

Jr

1

2

Melvin

Gordon

Wisconsin

RSS

3

Lache

Seastrunk

Baylor

Jr

3

4

Charles

Sims

W Virginia

Sr

5

Analysis: Hyde is a physical workhorse that averaged 140 yards per game. He has surprising feet for a man of his size and he averaged over 7.5 yards per carry. Carey led the country in rushing in 2012 and had a “down” year with “only” 1,716 rushing yards this year. He may be the best running back you’ve never heard of. Despite sharing time with James White, Gordon had a spectacular year. He rushed for over 1,400 yards and averaged over 8 yards per carry. He is tough to defend on outside runs. Seastrunk had a bit of disappointing year, but he still rushed for over 1,000 yards. He has a good combination of power and speed. Charles Sims transferred from Houston to West Virginia in 2013. He led his team 1,095 rushing yards and 11 TD. He is a versatile back with good hands and is a handful when he gets into space.

New: Carlos Hyde, Melvin Gordon, Charles Sims

Down: Ka’Deem Carey, Lache Seastrunk

Out:  De’Anthony Thomas, Silas Redd, Damien Williams

Wide Receiver:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Preseason Ranking

Current Ranking

Sammy

Watkins

Clemson

Jr

2

1

Mike

Evans

Texas A&M

RSS

4

2

Marqise

Lee

USC

Jr

1

3

Jordan

Matthews

Vandy

Sr

3

4

Paul

Richardson

Colorado

Jr

5

Analysis: Sammy Watkins is a versatile receiver that had over 1,500 all-purpose yards. He has a rare ability to get to top speed in only a step or two and he’s a threat to score on any play. Mike Evans is a huge, physical receiver. He uses his 6-5, 200 pound body to intimidate defensive backs and shield them from the ball. The former basketball player understands how to box out smaller players to come down with the ball. Due to issues at quarterback, Marqise Lee did not put up the same numbers this year. The talent, however, is unmistakable.  He is special when he gets into the open field. Jordan Matthews was #4 in the country with 107 receptions and #7 in receiving yards with 1,334. He has good size and better than average speed. Paul Richardson was #2 in the Pac-12 in receptions with 83 and also #2 in receiving yards with 1,343. He put up those numbers despite have a freshman quarterback for the last 8 games.

New: Paul Richardson

Up: Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans

Down: Marqise Lee, Jordan Matthews

Out: Brandon Coleman

Tight End:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Preseason Ranking

Current Ranking

Jace

Amaro

Texas Tech

Jr

1

Eric

Ebron

N Carolina

Jr

3

2

C.J.

Fiedorowicz

Iowa

Sr

5

3

Austin

Sefarian-Jenkins

Washington

Jr

1

4

Arthur

Lynch

Georgia

Sr

5

Analysis: Jace Amaro flourished after Kliff Kingsbury took over at Texas Tech. Amaro became the top receiving tight end in the country. He had more receptions (98) and yards (1,240) than any other tight end. Eric Ebron was #2 in the country among tight ends with 55 catches for 895 yards. He put up those numbers even after they lost starting quarterback Bryn Renner in early November. C.J. Fiedorowicz plays in a predominately run oriented attack, so he doesn’t put up the kinds of stats that some tight ends do, however, he is a very good blocker and has better receiving skill that he’s given credit for. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins missed the first game of the year for a suspension for a DUI. He never seemed to quite get up to speed the rest of the year. He ended up with only 33 catches for 413 yards. Much more was expected out of a preseason All-American selection. You can’t deny his athleticism and big 6-6, 276 pound body though. Arthur Lynch is a versatile tight end that can do anything for you, including play special teams.

New: Jace Amaro, Arthur Lynch

Up: Eric Ebron, C.J. Fiedorowicz

Down: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins

Out: Jacob Pederson, Colt Lyerla

Fullback:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Preseason Ranking

Current Ranking

Trey

Millard

Oklahoma

Sr

1

1

J.C.

Copeland

LSU

Sr

3

2

Jalston

Fowler

Alabama

Jr

3

Jay

Prosch

Auburn

Sr

4

4

Ryan

Hewitt

Stanford

Sr

2

5

Analysis: Despite being lost for the year with a torn ACL, Millard is the most talented fullback in their years’ class. He can do everything, running, catching, blocking and special teams. J.C. Copeland is huge for a fullback. The former defensive lineman is more nimble that you think. He is a powerful lead blocker, has decent hands and is tough to stop in the red zone. Jalston Fowler lines up all over for Alabama. He sets the physical tone for the Crimson Tide. They even used him in some one back sets to pound at the defense. Jay Prosch is a coach’s dream. They love this guy who is a throwback, old school football player. Ryan Hewitt is another guy that lines up all over and does a lot of things to make his team successful.

New: Jalston Fowler

Up: J.C. Copeland

Down: Ryan Hewitt

Out: Chad Abram

Offensive Tackle:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Preseason Ranking

Current Ranking

Jake

Matthews

Texas A&M

Sr

2

1

Taylor

Lewan

Michigan

Sr

3

2

Cyrus

Kouandjio

Alabama

Jr

1

3

Cameron

Erving

Florida State

Jr

4

Antonio

Richardson

Tennessee

Jr

5

Analysis: For the second year in a row Texas A&M has one of the top tackles in the draft class. Matthews played right tackle earlier in his career and switched to left tackle this year. He has the versatility to play either side. Lewan is a better right tackle than left tackle. Speed rushers can give him fits, but the kid is a hard worker and is a nasty run blocker. Kouandjio had high expectations going into the season. He has slipped a little bit, but is still a very good tackle. Erving has had a good year protecting the blind side of Jameis Winston and keying that Seminole run game. Richardson is a massive 6-6, 327 pound tackle with a ton of athleticism.

New: Cameron Erving, Antonio Richardson

Up: Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan

Down: Cyrus Kouandjio

Out: James Hurst

Guard:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Preseason Ranking

Current Ranking

Cyril

Richardson

Baylor

Sr

1

1

David

Yankey

Stanford

Sr

2

2

Gabe

Jackson

Mississippi St

Sr

3

3

Tre’

Jackson

Florida St

Jr

4

La’el

Collins

LSU

Jr

5

Analysis: No changes in the top three. Richardson is a nasty run blocker that controls the middle of the line for the Baylor running attack. Yankey is a versatile player that has played left tackle. He is probably more suited to play guard or right tackle at the next level. Jackson is another nasty run blocker who has better feet that you might think. Jackson teams with Cameron Erving and Bryan Stork to give the Seminoles one of the best offensive lines in the country. Collins has played both offensive tackle and guard. He seems better suited to play guard in the NFL.

New: Tre’ Jackson, La’el Collins

Out: Xavier Su’a-Filo, Anthony Steen

Center:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Preseason Ranking

Current Ranking

Travis

Swanson

Arkansas

Sr

2

1

Weston

Richburg

Colorado St

Sr

2

Hroniss

Grasu

Oregon

Jr

3

Bryan

Stork

Florida St

Sr

1

4

Russell

Bodine

N. Carolina

Sr

5

Analysis: Swanson is an experienced anchor for the Razorbacks, starting every game of his career and is a two year team captain. Richburg has started 49 games for the Rams and was a first team All-Mountain West selection. He is a powerful run blocker, known for his pancake blocks. Grasu doesn’t have great size, but has good mobility. He would be a good fit for a team running a zone scheme. He is a two time All-Pac12 selection. Stork also doesn’t have great size, but has very good quickness and great feet. He has the versatility to play center, guard or right tackle. Bodine played both guard and center this year for the Tar Heels. He grades out extremely well and has a good motor.

New: Weston Richburg, Hroniss Grasu, Russell Bodine

Up: Travis Swanson

Down: Bryan Stork

Out: Tyler Larsen, Gabe Ikard

Defensive End:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Preseason Ranking

Current Ranking

Jadeveon

Clowney

S Carolina

Jr

1

1

Stephon

Tuitt

Notre Dame

Jr

2

2

Kony

Ealy

Missouri

Jr

3

Scott

Crichton

Oregon St

Jr

5

4

Michael

Sam

Missouri

Sr

5

Analysis: Despite the red flags for lack of effort, Clowney remains the top rated defensive end. There is no denying the talent, but the lack of a motor is troubling. I’m hoping he doesn’t turn out to be another Albert Haynesworth. Stephon Tuitt is a prototypical 3-4 defensive end with pass rush skills. Ealy and Sam were big parts of the Missouri turnaround this year. Ealy is a good combination of size and speed and could play in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. Sam is a little smaller and could likely make the transition to outside linebacker in a 3-4. Crichton could play 4-3 defensive end or could also make the transition to 3-4 linebacker.

New: Kony Ealy, Michael Sam

Up: Scott Crichton

Out: Aaron Lynch, Morgan Breslin

Defensive Tackle:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Preseason Ranking

Current Ranking

Louis

Nix III

Notre Dame

Jr

1

1

Ra’Shede

Hageman

Minnesota

Sr

2

Will

Sutton

Arizona St

Sr

4

3

Aaron

Donald

Pitt

Sr

4

Timmy

Jernigan

Florida St

Jr

2

5

Analysis: Louis Nix III is a mountain of a man in the middle. He would make a great NFL nose tackle. He demands double teams, is hard to move and has better movement skills than you would think. Ra’Shede Hageman is a versatile player that could either be a 3 technique in a 4-3 or could move outside to end in a 3-4 scheme. Sutton is a two-time All-Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Last year, he was a bit light and he added some weight. That has slowed him down a little bit, but you still see his ability to dominate. Donald is a very disruptive player. He was #4 in the ACC with 10 sacks and led the entire country with 26.5 tackles for loss. Jernigan is part of a very talented Seminole defense. He had 4.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss.

New: Ra’Shede Hageman, Aaron Donald

Up: Will Sutton

Down: Timmy Jernigan

Out: Anthony Johnson, Daniel McCullers

Outside Linebacker:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Preseason Ranking

Current Ranking

Anthony

Barr

UCLA

Sr

1

1

C.J.

Mosley

Alabama

Sr

2

2

Khalil

Mack

Buffalo

Sr

3

Kyle

Van Noy

BYU

Jr

4

Trent

Murphy

Stanford

Sr

5

Analysis: Barr is a former running back that has only played linebacker for two years, but you wouldn’t know it by the way he plays. He has speed and range and is a very good pass rusher. Mosley is a versatile linebacker that is good against the run and dropping into coverage. Some scouts also have him listed as an inside linebacker. Mack is a stud that most people haven’t heard of, but you will. Just ask Ohio State. I’ve been following Van Noy for three years now. This kid is amazing. He is a playmaker that can do it all on the field. He can contribute just about any way you can think of defensively. Murphy led the nation with 14 sacks and was #3 nationally with 21.5 tackles for loss.

New: Khalil Mack, Kyle Van Noy, Trent Murphy

Out: Ryan Shazier, Lamin Barrow, Adrian Hubbard

Inside Linebacker:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Preseason Ranking

Current Ranking

Shayne

Skov

Stanford

Sr

5

1

A.J.

Johnson

Tennessee

Jr

2

Yawin

Smallwood

UConn

Jr

3

Eric

Kendricks

UCLA

Jr

4

Chris

Borland

Wisconsin

Sr

5

Analysis: Shayne Skov is the emotional leader of the Cardinal defense. He led his team with 100 tackles and had 10 tackles for loss. Johnson led the SEC in tackles in 2012 and was #3 this year with 106. He was a 2nd team All-SEC selection in 2012 and was 1st team this year. Smallwood is a player that finds the ball. He is a three year starter that has 332 career tackles. Kendricks has football in his blood. His dad led UCLA in rushing in 1970 and 1971 and his brother Mychal is a linebacker for the Eagles. Borland lacks ideal height, but he runs sideline to sideline and keeps the ball in front of him. He was #5 in the Big Ten with 102 tackles.

New: A.J. Johnson, Yawin Smallwood, Eric Kendricks, Chris Borland

Up: Shayne Skov

Out: Trey DePriest, Max Bullough, Andrew Jackson, Lamin Barrow

Cornerback:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Previous Ranking

Current Ranking

Justin

Gilbert

Oklahoma St

Sr

1

Jason

Verrett

TCU

Sr

4

2

Darqueze

Dennard

Michigan St

Sr

3

Ifo

Ekpre-Olomu

Oregon

Jr

         3

4

Bradley

Roby

Ohio St

Jr

1

5

Analysis: Gilbert has ideal size and is very fast and athletic. He plays good tight man coverage. He led the Big 12 and tied for #4 nationally with 6 interceptions. Verrett is a fluid corner that can stay step for step with receivers and uses good technique. Dennard’s nickname is “No Fly Zone”. I think that pretty much says it all. He is an aggressive lock down corner that normally shuts down the opponent’s best receiver. Ekpre-Olomu is a playmaking corner with good ball skills. He has 7 interceptions in the last two years. Roby struggled a little bit this year. You can still see the talent and he is a very good special teamer who specializes in blocking punts.

New: Justin Gilbert, Darqueze Dennard

Up: Jason Verrett

Down: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Bradley Roby

Out: Aaron Colvin

Safety:

First Name

Last Name

School

Year

Previous Ranking

Current Ranking

Haha

Clinton-Dix

Alabama

Jr

2

1

Lamarcus

Joyner

Florida St

Sr

2

Deone

Bucannon

Wash St

Sr

3

Calvin

Pryor

Louisville

Jr

4

Ed

Reynolds

Stanford

Jr

1

5

Analysis: Clinton-Dix is a ball hawk that is a good center fielder. He keeps the ball in front of him and does a good job breaking on the ball and picking it off. Joyner doesn’t have great height, but he makes plays. He has played corner and safety and is very good covering and blitzing from the slot. Bucannon does a good job finding and coming up with the football He tied for #4 nationally with 6 interceptions and has 15 interceptions in his career. Ed Reynolds had 3 pick sixes in 2012, but only had 1 interception this year. However, his tackles increased from 47 to 76. He is a versatile safety that is good against the run or the pass.

New: Lamarcus Joyner, Deone Bucannon, Calvin Pryor

Up: Haha Clinton-Dix

Down: Ed Reynolds

Out: Ty Zimmerman, Craig Loston

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