football Edit

Breaking down the first round

Mariota was a three-star recruit in the Class of 2011 and the No. 2 recruit coming out of Hawaii. He was also ranked as the No. 12 dual-threat quarterback nationally.
Verdict: Draw. A draw? For a quarterback to go No. 2 overall and be a three-star? Yes. Mariota didn't start until his senior year in high school, he attended one evaluation camp on the mainland and chances to scout him were limited. Three stars was right on target based on how he came out of high school.
3. LB
Dante Fowler Jr.
St. Petersburg (Fla.) Lakewood, 2012, Florida
Dante Fowler Jr.
Fowler was a five-star prospect in the Class of 2012. He was the No. 28 recruit nationally, the No. 3 weakside defensive end in the country and the No. 5 recruit in Florida.
Verdict: Win. Fowler was a five-star for most of the process, but he dropped to a four-star after an average senior season. However, in a very rare case, he jumped back up to a five-star after a great Under Armour All-America week. A five-star going No. 3, that's a win.
4. WR
Amari Cooper
Miami (Fla.) Northwestern, 2012, Alabama
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Cooper was a four-star prospect in the Class of 2012. He was the No. 45 recruit nationally, the No. 6 wide receiver in the country and the No. 8 recruit in Florida.
Verdict: Win. As a top 50 national recruit and a top 6 receiver, Cooper was properly ranked. He emerged late in the process and I can remember him blowing up following his junior season on the camp circuit. He just got better and better each year after high school, but you can't complain about a high four-star ranking.
5. OG
Brandon Scherff
Denison, Iowa, 2010, Iowa
Coming from Iowa and playing for the Hawkeyes, Scherff was a three-star recruit in the Class of 2010. He was ranked as the No. 4 overall recruit to come out of Iowa that recruiting year and the No. 44 offensive tackle nationally.
Verdict: Loss. The top offensive tackle taken in the draft should have been ranked at least a four-star back in the day, so Scherff's three-star status and No. 44 ranking at his position is a loss even if he played quarterback a lot of his high school career.
6. DE
Leonard Williams
Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland, 2012, USC
Williams was a four-star prospect in the Class of 2012. He was the No. 53 recruit nationally, the No. 5 strongside defensive end in the country and the No. 9 recruit in Florida.
Verdict: Win. Nearly a top 50 national recruit and a high four-star, Williams was in the top 5 at his positon and top 10 in state. As the No. 6 overall pick, he should be a four- or five-star guy and Williams fits that bill.
7. WR
Kevin White
Scranton (Pa.) Lackawanna C.C., 2013, West Virginia
Kevin White
Coming from the junior college ranks, White was a three-star, the No. 56 overall JUCO recruit and the No. 9 wide receiver nationally in the Class of 2013.
Verdict: Loss. Being a three-star recruit doesn't fit with being a top 10 NFL Draft pick. Despite being lightly recruited and having to head the JUCO route, White had the physical skills that stood out and he could have easily been a four-star kid.
8. LB
Vic Beasley
Adairsville, Ga., 2010, Clemson
Beasley was a three-star prospect in the Class of 2010. As an athlete, he was ranked No. 37 nationally at the position and also No. 37 coming out of Georgia.
Verdict: Draw. While he's a top 10 pick at linebacker, Beasley was an athlete coming out of high school and played running back, wide receiver and was a standout on offense. It was unclear as to what his positional projection would be. In fact, Clemson talked to him more about tight end than anything else.
9. OT
Ereck Flowers
Miami (Fla.) Norland, 2012, Miami
Flowers was a four-star in the class of 2012. He was ranked as the No. 205 overall recruit nationally, the No. 20 offensive tackle nationally and the No. 33 recruit in Florida.
Verdict: Win. Flowers was a Rivals250 prospect in 2012, a four-star kid and top 20 at his position. Sure, being a top 10 NFL draft pick seems higher than his ranking out of high school, but this wasn't a kid we slept on. We didn't know he'd be drafted this high, but we aren't embarrassed at all about his ranking.
10. RB
Todd Gurley
Tarboro, NC, 2012, Georgia
Todd Gurley
Gurley was a four-star in the Class of 2012. He was ranked as the No. 42 overall recruit nationally, the No. 5 running back nationally and the No. 3 recruit in North Carolina.
Verdict: Win. Rivals had Gurley ranked higher than any recruiting service by far, but he is still one of my biggest ranking regrets as I almost pushed for him to be a five-star but didn't pull the trigger. He was upright out of high school, but he was so fast and big, it was clear he was special. While everyone else drooled over fellow NC product Keith Marshall, also a Georgia commitment, that year, we favored Gurley.
11. CB
Trae Waynes
Kenosha (Wisc.) Bradford, 2011, Michigan State
Waynes was only ranked as a two-star when he came out of Wisconsin in the Class of 2011 as a safety. He was ranked as the No. 14 overall recruit in Wisconsin that recruiting season.
Verdict: Loss. Obviously a two-star going in the first round is always a loss and Michigan State has produced back-to-back cornerbacks that have made us look bad (Darqueze Dennard). Waynes earned his offers from the Spartans, Wisconsin and others out of summer camps, but he clearly should have been ranked higher.
12. DT
Danny Shelton
Auburn, Wash., 2011, Washington
Shelton was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2011. He was ranked as the No. 120 overall recruit in the country, the No. 10 defensive tackle nationally and the No. 3 recruit to come out of Washington in 2011.
Verdict: Win. A four-star prospect just outside the Rivals100 and a top 10 prospect at his position is a high ranking and certainly fits with a first-round grade. He was also from Washington, not known for great football or for numerous eval opportunities, so having him that high from a remote area is fine by us.
13. OT
Andrus Peat
Tempe (Ari.) Corona Del Sol, 2012, Stanford
Peat was a five-star recruit in the Class of 2012. He was ranked as the No. 32 overall recruit in the country, the No. 6 offensive tackle nationally and the No. 1 recruit to come out of Arizona in 2012.
Verdict: Win. A five-star prospect coming out of high school in one of the best offensive line classes I've scouted, Peat is a home run. He was No. 6 at OT, No. 32 overall and easily the top player in his home state.
14. WR
Devante Parker
Louisville (Kent.) Ballard, 2011, Louisville
Parker was a three-star recruit in the Class of 2011. He was ranked as the No. 77 wide receiver nationally and the No. 6 recruit in Kentucky during that recruiting cycle.
Verdict: Loss. Parker was a national top 100 receiver out of high school, but being ranked No. 6 in an average talent-producing state like Kentucky and being a three-star who ends up as a top 15 NFL Draft pick is certainly a bit lacking.
15. RB
Melvin Gordon
Kenosha (Wisc.) Bradford, 2011, Wisconsin
Melvin Gordon
Gordon was a four-star in the Class of 2011. He was ranked as the No. 24 running back nationally and the No. 2 recruit in Wisconsin.
Verdict: Draw. Despite the fact that Gordon was upright and tall as a runner about a year before that became more of the norm, we had him as a four-star prospect and one of the top 25 at his position overall. But he is the No. 2 running back in the draft, a top 15 pick and clearly wasn't as highly regarded as he should have been. Still, you can't fault us for a four-star.
16. CB
Kevin Johnson
Clarksville (Md.) River Hill, 2010, Wake Forest
Johnson was a two-star in the Class of 2010. He was not ranked nationally, at his position or in Maryland. He also held offers from Minnesota, Syracuse, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Verdict: Loss. Johnson was a 150-pounder out of high school who was not a very good tackler, but had good coverage skills and good instincts. However, despite the offers, he has surprised everyone and as a first-rounder. He should have been higher than a two-star. Great job by Wake to coach him up.
17. DT
Arik Armstead
Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove, 2010, Oregon
Armstead was a four-star defensive end in the Class of 2012. He was ranked the No. 61 overall recruit nationally, the No. 6 strongside defensive end nationally and the No. 10 recruit in California.
Verdict: Win. Armstead was discussed many times as a possible five-star prospect, but we felt he might be better served on the offensive side of the ball because of his height and he played high with a lack of physical aggression. But his athleticism was unquestioned and a high four-star and top 75 national prospect out of high school is a good rating and on the button.
18. CB
Marcus Peters
Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds, 2011, Washington
Peters was a three-star in the Class of 2011. He was ranked as the No. 30 cornerback nationally and the No. 43 recruit in California.
Verdict: Loss. Peters was a high three-star prospect and top 30 national cornerback, but being a top three corner in the NFL Draft, even with all his off-field issues, definitely surpasses his high school projection. Cornerback is the toughest position to grade out of high school aside from quarterback and it's because guys like Peters don't get tested often and stand out more on offense.
19. C
Cameron Erving
Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County, 2010, Florida State
Cameron Erving
Erving was a three-star defensive tackle in the Class of 2010. He was ranked as the No. 74 recruit in Georgia, but was not ranked nationally.
Verdict: Draw. Even though he was a three-star prospect out of high school and barely cracked the Georgia top 75, Erving started off his career as a defensive lineman, moved to offensive tackle and then flourished as a center, something we could never have predicted. He played like a three-star on defense and like a high four-star on offense, so we'll call this one a draw.
20. WR
Nelson Agholor
Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep, 2012, USC
Agholor was a five-star recruit in the Class of 2012. He was ranked as the No. 18 overall recruit nationally, the No. 3 wide receiver nationally and the No. 2 recruit in Florida.
Verdict: Win. The second highest rated recruit taken off the board through the top 20 picks after Winston, Agholor was No. 3 at wide receiver nationally, No. 2 in his state and had a top 20 overall ranking. Can't get much better than that.
21. OT
Cedric Ogbuehi
Allen, Texas, 2010, Texas A&M
Ogbuehi was ranked as the No. 82 player overall in 2010, No. 13 at his position and No. 11 in the state of Texas and a four-star prospect.
Verdict: Win. Another four-star in the first round, so we'll take it. A Rivals100 prospect and one of the top players at his position and in his state, landing in the first round isn't a big stretch even if he is deemed a reach for the Bengals by some analysts.
22. LB
Alvin Dupree (Bud)
Irwinton (Ga.) Wilkinson County, 2011, Kentucky
Dupree was a three-star tight end in the Class of 2011. He was ranked as the No. 59 recruit in Georgia, but he was not ranked at his position or nationally.
Verdict: Draw. Being recruited by most as a tight end and with even Kentucky not sure what position he'd play, Dupree was a tough projection. A big, tall kid who was a big-time athlete, his three stars might look low especially with no national position ranking for a first-rounder, but trust me when I say I feel good about this ranking.
23. DE
Shane Ray
Shawnee (Kan.) Bishop Miege, 2011, Missouri
Shane Ray
Ray was a three-star prospect in the Class of 2011. He was the No. 3 recruit coming out of Kansas that year and also the No. 17 weakside defensive end nationally.
Verdict: Loss. Ray wasn't a national recruit despite his offer from Notre Dame and we did have him as a high three-star, but based on his college productivity and his first-round grade even after being busted with marijuana a few days before the draft, this guy was clearly coveted. If getting arrested the Monday before the draft doesn't drop you out of the first round, you're a special prospect and a four-star grade would have been on the money.
24. OT
D.J. Humphries
Charlotte (NC) Mallard Creek, 2012, Florida
Humphries was a five-star in the Class of 2012. He was ranked as the No. 2 overall player in the nation, the No. 1 offensive tackle nationally and the No. 1 recruit in North Carolina.
Verdict: Win. The highest-ranked player off the board so far, Humphries was No. 2 in 2012 being only Dorial Green-Beckham. The No. 1 offensive tackle in the country is a first round draft pick. That's the way it's supposed to work.
25. LB
Shaq Thompson
Sacramento (Calif.) Grant, 2012, Washington
Thompson was a five-star recruit in the Class of 2012. He was ranked as the No. 4 overall recruit nationally, the No. 1 safety nationally and the No. 1 recruit in California.
Verdict: Win. Another five-star lands in the first round as Thompson was a freak out of high school and lands just behind Humphries as the second-highest ranked prospect selected in the draft at No. 4 overall. No. 1 in Cali, No. 1 at his position, first-rounder. Boom.
26. WR
Breshad Perriman
Lithonia (Ga.) Arabia Mountain, 2011, UCF
Breshad Perriman
Perriman was only a two-star recruit in the Class of 2011, and he was not ranked nationally or in Georgia.
Verdict: Loss. Perriman had no other offers out of high school and broke his leg his senior year, but any two-star in the first round is a miss and a loss. No one could have projected his rise based on workouts because he dropped a lot of passes, but that's not our excuse. This kid was simply never on our radar.
27. CB
Byron Jones
Bristol (Conn.) St. Paul Catholic, 2010, Connecticut
Jones was a two-star wide receiver in the Class of 2010. He was not ranked nationally, but he was the No. 9 recruit in Connecticut that year.
Verdict: Loss. Another two-star whose stock rose with freak workouts, he was not on the radar of anyone else but UConn and I had never seen or scouted him much.
28. OL
Laken Tomlinson
Chicago (Ill.) Lane, 2010, Duke
Tomlinson was a high three-star recruit in 2010, ranked as the No. 29 offensive guard and No. 12 player in his home state.
Verdict: Draw. Tomlinson had some nice offers, but was always focused on academics so he didn't look beyond many of the top smart schools and wanted to be pre-med. While many considered his commitment to Duke a stunner, it was the perfect fit for him and he might have had to wait to develop at schools like Ohio State, Tennessee and Stanford. A high three-star is a bit of a reach for a draw in round one, but this one fits.
29. WR
Phillip Dorsett
Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, 2011, Miami
Dorsett was a three-star recruit in the Class of 2011. He was the No. 38 wide receiver nationally and the No. 57 recruit in Florida.
Verdict: Draw. A high three-star from a great program, Dorsett was ranked as the second-highest non-four-star at his position and fell short only because of his size. But No. 38 at wide receiver and top 60 in Florida isn't bad. With so many more three-stars ranked each year than four- and five-stars, I'm not labeling this one a loss.
30. S
Damarious Randall
Mesa (Ariz.) Mesa C.C., 2013, Arizona State
Randall was ranked as a low three-star out of Junior College and didn't crack the JUCO top 100 despite some solid offers.
Verdict: Loss. As a late first-rounder and one of the top cover safeties in the draft, this one can go down as a loss. JUCO prospects are actually supposed to be a bit easier to rank because they are closer to being college ready and Randall's double-digit interceptions the year before he enrolled at ASU should have led to a higher grade.
31. LB
Stephone Anthony
Wadesboro (N.C.) Anson, 2011, Clemson
Anthony was a five-star prospect out of high school, ranked as the No. 3 outside linebacker in the country, No. 24 nationally and No. 2 in his home state in 2011.
Verdict: Win. Another five-star in the first round is always nice to see and Anthony was one of the better guys we have seen at linebacker who could play inside or outside at the next level. He was tough, physical and sure tackler and has clearly panned out.
32. DT
Malcom Brown
Brenham, Tex., 2012, Texas
Brown was a five-star in the Class of 2012. He was ranked as the No. 26 overall recruit nationally, the No. 5 defensive tackle nationally and the No. 4 recruit in Texas.
Verdict: Win. Finishing out the first round with another five-star, Brown was No. 26 overall in 2012, top 5 at his position and in his state and a beast coming out of high school. Defensive tackle is usually a much more coveted position than it was in this draft, but finishing with a boom is nice.
Final tally -- 8 five stars, 8 four stars, 12 three stars and 4 two stars.
That's a very, very good ratio when you consider there are more two-stars than three-stars every year and many, many more three stars overall than fours and fives combined each year. It is always expected to have the highest number be the three-stars, but for the fours and fives to be that close in number and to combine to outnumber the threes? That's damned impressive stuff, especially when we are ranking prospects at 17 years of age and with all the perils and obstacles ahead in college (injuries, depth chart, lack of adjustment, coaching changes, transfers/impatience, attitude, etc. etc. etc.). Pat on back, self congrats all around.
And how did we do in wins, losses and draws? 15 wins, 10 losses and 7 draws.
With first-round projections Eddie Goldman, Landon Collins, T.J. Clemmons, Ronald Darby and La'el Collins amongst a few others sliding out of the first round, there are a lot of wins left on the board that will end up in round two. But that's the world of scouting and it will be interesting to see if a player like Waynes or Perriman turn out to be the next JJ Watt, a two-star who becomes a megastar, and if Winston becomes the next Jamarcus Russell. Gotta love the draft.
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Farrell: NFL's top 15 five-stars
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Farrell: NFL's top 15 four-stars
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Farrell: NFL's top 15 three-stars
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Farrell: NFL's top 15 two-stars
Mike Farrell
National Recruiting Director