clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Top 2016 Pac-12 NFL prospects: JuJu Smith-Schuster & Adoree Jackson first round material

These are the best NFL prospects in the Pac-12 going into 2016.

Jennifer Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

One of my favorite things during the Pac-12 season is to watch the draft stock of players go up and down week-by-week. Before things start to get messy, here is how I think the Pac-12's top NFL prospects stack up heading into the season.

Note, that I am only considering those eligible for the 2017 draft, so no Josh Rosen.

1. JuJu Smith-Schuster Jr. WR USC - JJS-S appears to be the top receiver prospect in 2017's draft unless something else develops. It should be no surprise, the 6'2 215 target has speed to match his size and should get well past the 1,000-yard-mark again in 2016.

2. Adoree Jackson Jr. CB USC - The Trojans just happen to have two out of this world athletes in their junior class. Jackson is a Top 3-5 cornerback in this draft class at worst and could push himself into the Top 5 of the draft  with a big enough 2016 season.

3. Christian McCaffrey Jr. RB Stanford - This human highlight reel has a lot of Reggie Bush disease which will hurt his draft stock but I still think he is a late-first-rounder at worst. His versatility should actually be a plus in an NFL which is moving away from three yards and a cloud of dust.

4. Lowell Lotulelei Jr. DT Utah - He might be a Top 5 pick in the least 5-10 years ago, but the game has changed. Still, a massive, run stuffer like Lotulelei is still the kind of player who goes off the board in the first round these days.

5. Luke Falk Jr. QB Washington State - People might throw around the term system quarterback with Falk, but that's not what he is. He is a fantastic quarterback with NFL size and intangibles who just happens to play in Mike Leach's system. With the NFL thirsting for quarterbacks coming out of college with accuracy, I think he has first round potential if he can stay healthy in 2016.

6. Royce Freeman Jr. RB Oregon - Another player who may have had higher stock in the recent past, Freeman is a yardage and touchdown machine who to me is a second round pick at absolute worst. With his size, durability, speed and vision, he might have the least bust potential of any prospect on this list. Seems like a guy who no doubt will at least be a Jonathan Stewart at the next level.

7. Sidney Jones Jr. CB Washington - Budda Baker might get more attention, but Jones looks to be the next Husky cornerback who goes very high in the draft. NFL teams love his length, ball skills and physicality. A guy who could easily sneak into the first round.

8. Conor McDermott Sr. T UCLA - He is the Zach Banner you maybe haven't heard of yet as a 6'9 All-Pac-12 tackle. He actually has more NFL potential than Banner as he plays left and not right tackle.

9. Eddie Vanderdoes Jr. DE UCLA - Vanderdoes is your standard 300-pound defensive lineman who could play just about any spot on the unit with exceptional athleticism. The sky is the limit with him if he can stay healthy in 2016 and dominate the way he has the potential to.

10. Zach Banner Sr. T USC - There's Banner. 6'9 tackles who are first-team all-conference as juniors are generally huge NFL prospects. Banner is still a potential first rounder, but playing right tackle might limit his ceiling.

11. Darren Carrington Jr. WR Oregon - We haven't seen this guy really shine for more than a few games at a time yet, but the NFL has taken notice. 6'2 receivers with speed and the ability to track the ball in the air he has are hot commodities any year.

12. Budda Baker Jr. S Washington - Baker is a unique prospect who plays safety at 5'10 185, but still has NFL game. His blazing speed and instincts make up for his lack of size as he will be especially valuable in pass defense at the next level.

Others to Watch

Salamo Fiso Sr. LB Arizona State

J.J. Dielman Sr. T Utah

Gabe Marks Sr. WR Washington State

Demario Richard Jr. RB Arizona State

Nick Wilson Jr. RB Arizona