It's finally here, after initial delay, THE annual Chris Kiper Kole Top 10 prospects list has been posted for your pre-draft pleasure. And it's more diverse than ever. You got O-lineman, you got D-lineman, you got LBs, you got Safeties, hell you even got a RB in there! Without much further ado, here is Kiper Kole's top 10 favorite prospects (in no particular order).
10. Hakeem Smith S - LOU
Rangy player, with impressive athleticism. At 6'1 he has the height to match up with tight ends and is a very solid tackler in run support. He also has very nice fluid hips. He still is very raw as a prospect and needs some polishing up, but the athleticism is there to be a very good SS.
9. Storm Johnson RB - UCF
2 words I use to describe Storm Johnson. LATERAL AGILITY. His cut backs are absolutely sick. This guy has incredible vision and very good balance as a runner. He reminds me of Pierre Thomas the way he's able to break tackles and get YAC. He also has the ability to catch the ball out of the back field so he isn't a one trick pony. And at 6 '0 ft, 215 lbs, he's the perfect blend of size, speed, and power. I don't see him as a lead back, but he could be an excellent slasher in a 2 back, 3 back system.
8. Devin Street WR - PIT
One of the most underrated abilities as a receiver is the ability to catch the ball, and Devin Street has that in spades. In fact he is one of the best pass catchers in this entire draft, He consistently high points the ball and has shown the ability to compete with contested catches. He is a solid route runner, smart and savvy player, who was productive despite some sub-par QB play, and was a down the field playmaker for his team. Combine all that with his excellent 6'3 height, and you've a player who has serious potential to make plays at the next level.
7. Dion Bailey S - USC
I don't like a lot of safeties in this class, seeing as many of them are either undersized, lack coverage skills, or both. Dion Bailey is not one of them. He's was split between SS and LB during his collegiate career, but always acted as an extra defender in the box. What I like about Bailey are his man coverage skills against backs and TE, his football IQ, and his versatility. He still is a bit raw as a safety, b/c he really hasn't played much at that position, but I think he could develop into a fine SS.
6. Jeremiah Attachou DE - GT
This guy is a pure polished pass rusher. He can come in day one and get to the QB. At 6'3 252 lbs, Attachou isn't a perfect scheme fit and is more in the Ninko mold as an undersized DE, but his overall ability makes up for what he lacks in size. He was THE GUY to stop on defense, consistently seeing TE chips, double teams, cuts blocks, etc and still was very productive. ACC offenses just couldn't keep Attachou out of the backfield. He's got a non-stop motor, elite burst, and natural explosiveness, that make him one of the premier pass rushers in this draft..
5. Troy Niklas TE - ND
Despite not being considered part of the "big three" of this TE class, Troy Niklas is more than big enough to be an impact player at the TE position. At 6'6 270, Niklas is a load for defenders to handle, especially when he gets some steam going, What separates Niklas from most other prospects is his superior blocking ability. He is BEAST in the run game, sealing off DEs, dominating LBs, even keeping certain undersized DTs at bay, the man can block. His receiving game aint to shabby either. Despite only having one full year at the position, he has already shown the ability to be a reliable target in the middle and in the red zone. Although he's not a burner, he has sneaky athleticism, and uses his big Power Foward-like frame to box out smaller defenders for the ball. The most intriguing part of Niklas is how much better of a receiver once he learns the nuances of playing the position. It will be interesting to see how he develops.
4. Stephon Tuitt DE - ND
This big, strong, scheme versatile, highly athletic DE seems like the perfect fit for the patriots. He can play any position on the D-line, he can collapse the pocket, he rush the passer as well as stuff the run, he can do it all. Not only is he talented, his technique is rock solid. The guy has pro bowl potential as a prospect and won't fall far beyond the 1st round. The only real concerns I have for Tuitt are in his ability to get to the passer. Although he has the ability, he doesn't get there as much as you'd like. Despite those concerns, you can't go wrong with picking this power pig in the top 40 of the draft.
3. Gabe Jackson G - MS
Gabe Jackson is a smart, durable, blue chip guard who excels both in pass protection and run blocking, One of the best O-lineman in the entire draft. Was a fixture on the All-SEC team. Did not allow a single sack his last two seasons despite playing in toughest conference in football. Is an absolute mountain of a man at 6'3 330 lbs. He can handle any power pig that comes his way. Jackson is also very technically sound, understands how to play with leverage, keeps his knees bent and shoulder square. Very good hand placement.
2. Marcus Smith LB - LOU
My favorite pass rusher in the draft. Another high motor DE/OLB sack specialist. He was moved all around Louisville's defense. Had some unblocked sacks, but still had little trouble making his own plays. Has great agility and lateral quickness, coupled with a sick burst off the line. Has shown the ability to convert speed to power, set the edge, and drop back into coverage. In fact he torn it up at the Senior Bowl as a stand up 4-3 OLB, moving very well in space.
None of the potential tweeners of 4-3 college defensive ends at the Senior Bowl was more convincing in their ability to drop back into pass coverage than Marcus Smith of Louisville. Whether he was step-for-step down the seam 20 yards downfield with a tight end or sliding out into the flats to cover a running back on a swing pass, Smith showed the best agility among outside LB converts in his change of direction and play recognition.By Robb Hoff
He could very well develop into a solid coverage LB. He certainly has the athleticism to do it, as well as rush the passer and stuff the run. His skills as a pass rusher couple with his potential as a coverage LB, puts him higher in my opinion that other similarly rated guys like DeMarcus Lawrence and Telvin Smith.
1. Donte Moncrief WR - Ole Miss
MONCRIEF! He's got size, he's got the speed, he's got the height, he's got the hands, can beat press coverage, he's makes the plays, he's a bona fide #1. It's amazing how he's not a first round pick. He runs a 4.3 40, he's 6'2, 220 lbs, he's pretty much a slightly rawer version of Dez Bryant. He has seen his fair share of NFL caliber DBs playing in the SEC, and has passed the eye test vs most of them. The kid can play. He has concentration drops at times, but most has solid hands, and pretty good route running. Again he's a bit raw, but should emerge as a team's #1 or at least a pretty solid number 2 within the first two years. Very underrated player, his floor is Mario Manningham, his ceiling is Dez Bryant, he is one of the better WRs in the draft is one of my favorite prospects,
Austin Seferian Jenkins TE - WAS (2nd)
DaQuan Jones DT - PSU (3rd)
Jimmy Garapolo QB - EIU (4th)
Louchiez Purifoy CB - FU (4th)