Alex Hurst, OT – Has started at RT the past two seasons and along with Chris Faulk makes up one of the top tackle tandems in America. Hurst is a much better run blocker than pass blocker. He gets good movement off the line and simply out muscles and over powers defenders in the run game. Hurst’s footwork is a little suspect and is slow to set up against more athletic pass rushers. Hurst has been recognized as one of the “weight room warriors” and one of the hardest workers in the program. Hurst is a RT only prospect who will likely be a mid-round draft pick.
Lavar Edwards, DE – Edwards is much less heralded than Mingo and Montgomery and has been overshadowed, but he definitely has NFL potential. He has a 6’5″ 260 pound frame and exhibits good speed off the edge. He has a very good motor and often closes from the blindside. While he figures to only play in a situational role in 2012, he could be a much better pro than college player.
Russell Shepard, WR – Shepard is another player who could be a better pro than college player. One of the best athlete coming out of high school, Shepard has been hurt by LSU’s erratic QB play. Shepard has excellent top end speed and also can return kicks. He won’t be a high pick in the NFL draft, but is someone to keep an eye on when he has a legitimate QB throwing him the ball.
Jamal Mosley, TE – Ole Miss is in a state of rebuilding so there aren’t many NFL prospects that our Seniors. Their best NFL prospect might be Mosley who is a JUCO transfer and really started to emerge as a play-maker at the end of last season. Mosley finished the season with 12 catches for 166 yards (4th on team) and 1 touchdown. He is raw as a TE prospect but with his 6’4″ 260 pound frame he has plenty of potential to develop into a better prospect.
Johnthan Banks, CB – Banks was close to entering the 2012 draft but, decided to return to school. At 6’1″ and 185 pounds, he has above average size for a CB. Last season Banks proved that he was one of the best cover corners in the SEC and finished 4th in the conference in both passes defensed and interceptions. He exhibits plenty of athleticism and likes to attack in the run game. He has fluid hips and turns and runs well. Banks does a good job of finding the ball and making plays on it. If Banks can get stronger and cut down on some of the chances he takes, he will be a first of second round pick.
Josh Boyd, DT – Boyd paired with first round pick Fletcher Cox to form one of the best DT tandems in college football. Boyd was one of the most productive interior lineman in the conference last season with 51 tackles, 8.0 TFL and 4.5 sacks. At 6’3″ 300 pounds Boyd has the mobility and pass rushing skills to follow in the footsteps of Cox. While he is not as disruptive or explosive as Cox he can be a second or third round draft choice.
Corey Broomfield, CB – One of the most underrated CB in the country in my opinion. Has good ball skills and always shows up on tape because of his ability to make the big play. Has 9 career interceptions and 3 returns for touchdowns. Broomfield is a solid tackler, recording 59 total tackles as a junior. At 5’10″ 180 pounds he is a little undersized, and needs to add strength to his frame.
Zavier Gooden, OLB – One of the top athletes that plays OLB. Gooden is undersized, only 6’2″ 230 pounds, but runs a reported 4.45 forty. He was expected to really breakout in 2011 after recording 84 tackles and 3.0 sacks as a Sophomore, but it didn’t happen. Gooden only had 80 tackles and 1 sack as a junior. Gooden is an academic All-Conference player and a leader on the defense. He needs to build on the past two seasons if he wants to increase his draft stock and prove that he is more than just an athlete playing linebacker.
Devin Taylor, DE – Taylor is a physical specimen standing 6’6″ 270 pounds. He has really long arms and can explode off the edge as a pass rusher. Taylor recorded 5.0 sacks last year, playing on a very talented defensive line. Despite being a very good athlete, he’s not a very refined pass rusher and lacks more than a speed rush. Taylor needs to play more physical and be able to get off blocks better. For someone that is as physically gifted as he is, he disappears for long stretches in games. Taylor will be selected in the top 4 rounds based on his pass rush potential alone.
DJ Swearinger, FS – Productive player who has played in 40 straight games. One of the leading returning tacklers in the SEC after posting 80 last season. Swearinger has experience playing both free safety and strong safety – has been productive at both spots. At 5’11″ 210 pounds, his best fit will be FS due to his speed and mobility. With Antonio Allen and Stephon Gilmore gone to the NFL, South Carolina will be relying on Swearinger to be the leader and play-maker of the secondary.
Dallas Thomas, OT/OG – Played very well at left tackle last season and after starting 25 straight games there he will move inside to LG this season. Thomas has great frame at 6’5″ 310 pounds and probably profiles best as an OT at the NFL level. Before his move to OG Thomas was projected to be a 3rd-4th round draft pick. If he excels at OG it will make him even more attractive to NFL teams to due the ability to play both positions on the left side of the line.
Prentiss Waggner, CB/S – Versatile DB who started six games at both safety and corner last season. Waggner has a great frame at 6’2″182 pounds and profiles as a corner unless he can add more muscle to his frame. Has recorded 7 interceptions of the past two seasons and if he is allowed to focus solely on CB this season, as has been rumored, he could really rise up draft boards. Waggner is one of the vocal leaders of the Vols defense and spoken of highly by the coaching staff. With his size, speed and position versatility there is no reason why he can’t be a mid-round draft pick in April.
Sean Porter, OLB – Porter took over for Von Miller last season and had a big season, totaling 79 tackles, 17.0 TFL, and 9.5 sacks. Porter isn’t as explosive or naturally gifted as Miller, but he does play with a recklessness, with a great motor. Porter is alwasy around the ball and creates pressure for the offense. With Texas A&M switching defensive fronts, Porter will likely be asked to rush less than he did last year. Despite that he possesses the skill set and edge rush ability to be a 2nd-3rd round draft choice.
Christine Michael, RB- Michael’s one of the most talented Senior running backs, but has had trouble staying healthy throughout his career. When healthy Michael has displayed the ability to run with good balance and pad level. He runs hard, breaks tackles and doesn’t run away from contact. He has good speed to the hole and can run away in the open field. While he isn’t overly “shifty” he can make defenders miss with one cut and get going again. If Michael can stay healthy this season, he could really move quickly up draft boards.
Ryan Swope, WR – Swope isn’t flashy, but he is a very good possession receiver who knows how to get open and catches the ball when it’s thrown to him. Swope has good hands and can create yards after the catch. Last year he caught 78 balls for 1,069 yards and 11 touchdowns. With Kevin Sumlin bringing in his spread passing offense, Swope is poised to have a monster season. At the NFL level Swope profiles as either a slot or #3 possession WR who will compete hard and be a reliable target on 3rd downs. Swope is a mid-round draft prospect.
Jordan Rodgers, QB – Aaron Rodgers’ kid brother, and while he isn’t on the same level as a prospect as his brother Jordan is still a very good NFL prospect. Like Aaron, Jordan is a very good athlete who can manipulate the pocket, role out or take off running. He needs a lot of development as a passer and doesn’t have nearly the accuracy or arm that his brother did. Based on potential and lineage alone, Rodgers will get a shot as a late round draft selection.