The college football regular season is somehow almost over meaning seniors, juniors and even redshirt sophomores have had many chances to showcase their skills for the NFL. With the season a ways in, I thought it would be a good time to take stock on where the (draft eligible) Pac-12 NFL prospects stand heading into the home stretch of the season.
- Adoree’ Jackson Jr. CB USC - No question here, the Olympic athlete of Jackson is the top Pac-12 player in this year’s draft. He has helped his stock even more this season by showing elite ball skills. Range: Round 1 5-10
- JuJu Smith-Schuster Jr. WR - JJS-S started slow but has come on like the monster he is as of late. He’s 6’2 220 with world-class speed and athleticism and should be the first receiver taken in the draft. Range: Mid-first round
- Sidney Jones Jr. CB Washington - Jones is showing he is clearly one of the best cover corners in the nation this year. Long and rangy with ball skills, teams are barely even throwing against him this season. Range: Mid-to-late-first round
- Christian McCaffrey Jr. RB Stanford - It has been a disappointing season for McCaffrey, but only because of the insane bar he set in 2015. He is still likely a first round prospect and a very enticing one at that as a player with a unique skill set and elite athleticism. Range: Mid-to-late-first round
- John Ross Jr. WR Washington - If you didn’t see what Ross did to Cal, you need to go watch right now. He is a legit 4.2 speedster who put it together as a full-package receiver. He is the easy choice for the top smaller, big play receiver in this year’s draft. Range: Late-first to early-second round.
- Chidobe Awuzie Sr. CB Colorado - I need to send out a genuine apology for not have Awuzie even on the second-team of my All-Pac-12 team. The guy is a potential All-American who has turned Colorado into a Pac-12 championship contender. Oh, and at 6’0 200, he is a legit first round prospect. Range: Late-first to early-second round.
- Takkarist McKinley Sr. DE UCLA - Another unsung Pac-12 hero who is working his way into the first round with flat out play this season. He has an interesting body at 6’2 265/70, but he can just plain play and bring it off the edge when a lot of the teams in this year’s draft will be looking for that exact skill set. Range: Late-first to early-second round.
- Davis Webb Sr. QB Cal - He has had ups and downs in his one season at Cal, but the bottom line is he is a big, big-armed quarterback with accuracy and that is exactly what the NFL needs right now. He would be a nice snag for a team looking for a future QB in the second round. Range: Early-to-mid second round.
- Elijah Qualls Jr. DT Washington - Mel Kiper seems to be the only one who notices Qualls as he has him him on his board. Qualls isn’t a stat guy, but one who makes a huge impact in the run game and pass pressure with his presence as a 320-pound guy who can play inside or on the edge. Range: Early-to-mid second round.
- Royce Freeman Jr. RB Oregon - Freeman is hard to peg. He still looks like the 230-pound monster who has rushed for thousand of yards, but he is having a really unproductive season and is really banged up and I don’t know how much that will change his draft stock. Range: Mid-to-late second round
- Kevin King Sr. CB Washington - King looks like a rangy, 6’3 shooting guard who just happens to be a lock-down cornerback. His length, height and unique skill set make him a really intriguing NFL prospect. Range: Late-second to early-third round.
- Azeem Victor Jr. LB Washington - The best tackler in the Pac-12 is a scary hitter who can play inside at the next level and intimidate offenses. Victor is a lot like a less-crazy Vontaze Burfict. Range: Late-second to early-third round.
- Budda Baker Jr. S Washington - The Husky prospects just keep on coming and Baker is another very interesting one as one of the nation’s best safeties at only 5’10 185. He’s not an Earl Thomas-level player, but he has the speed and skill to push himself into the second round as an undersized prospect. Range: Late-second to early-third round.
- Conor McDermott Sr. T UCLA - It has been an atrocious year for the UCLA offensive line, but McDermott is still a huge NFL prospect since he is 6’9 310 and can play left tackle. Range: Late-second to early-third round.
- Luke Falk Jr. QB Washington State - I honestly have no idea what to do with Falk. I think he is just as good, if not better than the quarterbacks I see being projected in the first round, but he also is as beat-up of a quarterback as there is in the country and will have a very tough time shaking the Leach system label (fair or not). I could legitimately see him being a Top 10 pick, an undrafted free agent and a guy who retires after his junior season all at the same time.
On the edge
Marcus Williams Jr. S Utah
Joe Williams Sr. RB Utah
Lowell Lotulelei Jr. DT Utah
Solomon Thomas Jr. DE Stanford
Johnny Caspers Sr. G Stanford