NEPD Staff Writer CJ Sousa
In case you haven’t been paying attention, college football is just over two weeks away. The AP All America list every year always recognizes some of the biggest names in college football for outstanding excellence on the field. As the following list will tell, some pretty outstanding football players tend to be left off that list. Let’s take a look at some non-2014 All Americans who could have a major impact on the 2016 Draft.
A’Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
It’s easy to not pay attention to specific players on the Alabama Crimson Tide, especially those playing non-skill positions. The casual fan just looks at those traditional Crimson jerseys, expect 11-12 wins, and go on with their day. A’Shawn Robinson is definitely a player to keep your eye on as a potential top 5 pick. Obviously a lot can change, but Robinson is one of the most dominant and consistent players in college football. Pro scouts will love his ability to hold the line, as well as shed blockers to make plays in the backfield. He’s an immovable rock in the middle with play making ability – it’s easy to see his NFL potential once you pay attention.
Jalen Ramsey, CB-S, Florida State
There is an argument that Jalen Ramsey is the best overall player in college football. In a secondary loaded with NFL talent last season (Ronald Darby, PJ Williams) #8 clearly stood out. Ramsey is a dynamic, game changing talent whose instincts truly separates him. He has excellent ball skills and will come up and thump you. He can be a hassle in the backfield, make plays deep in the secondary, return kicks, knock people’s chinstraps off on special teams and paint your back porch too. If he stays healthy, he will undoubtedly be a top 10-15 pick.
Regarding his position change, I have a few thoughts. His move to corner is probably for the better, but it brings me back to Eric Berry’s sophomore year at Tennessee. Berry, the #1 high school cornerback as rated by all media outlets, was forced to play safety as a freshmen due to a crowded cornerback position. After his freshmen year, many expected him to move back to cornerback – Coach Fulmer had other ideas. He was a dominant safety, so they left him be. He went on to be an All-American, and the #5 overall pick. Will this move work out for Ramsey? Most likely. However, I’m not 100% convinced that’s where he will stay at the next level.
Cameron Sutton, CB, Tennessee
Vernon Hargreaves gets all of the CB love. That’s fine, he deserves that hype. Cam Sutton however is vastly under talked about and under-appreciated in my eyes. His ball skills for a CB are about as good as it gets as he routinely boxes out opposing receivers and high points the ball effectively. In what was an inconsistent Vols’ secondary last year, Sutton held down his part of the field routinely. He has yet to receive higher than a third team all-conference honor (truly shocking), but in my eyes he is in the discussion for “the best CB in college football not named Vernon Hargreaves”.
Wayne Lyons, CB, Stanford – Michigan
Lyons is another lesser talked about, impact performer from the CB position. He’s a grad-transfer who will play his final season for Michigan. He’s smart, instinctual, and has that special ability to make big plays when his team needs it most. Although it has yet to be announced, I expect Jim Harbaugh to make the easy decision and start Lyons from day one as he should be Michigan’s most talented DB. Interesting story to follow here.
Vernon Adams, QB, Eastern Washington – Oregon
Here we go. Biggest story line in the preseason from college football. First, let’s talk about Adams ability. He’s a mobile quarterback with a big arm. He keeps his eyes down field even when dancing in the pocket and his accuracy is extremely impressive for a man running around as much as he does. Point blank, he’s a football player – a very good one at that. He’s small, I get it. However I think his playmaking ability gives him a shot at the next level.
He just started practicing for the Ducks just days ago due to a delayed transfer. Can he learn the offense in..2 weeks? Probably not. Will he win over the whole Ducks roster in 2 weeks over guys who have been there for 3-4 years? Probably not again. But even if he isn’t the opening day starter – it’s only a matter of time before Adams gets his chance. He led lesser talented EWU teams to victories over multiple FBS schools, and I’m led to believe he will lead the Ducks to massive success. Draft wise? He needs to get his chance first, but Adams has a chance to be a good professional if he can polish up spots of his game.
Pharoh Cooper, WR, South Carolina
Explosive. Competitor. That’s Pharoh Cooper in a nutshell. Just get the ball in his hands and good things happen. He’s always been a great athlete, but it’s his improving route running, ball locating and overall snatch ability that makes him a top NFL prospect. Cooper by himself (literally) almost beat Tennessee last season. In that one game, where every man in white knew where the ball was going, Pharoh Cooper caught 11 catches for 233 yards for two touchdowns. Truly, he can explode at anytime.He also threw, and rushed for an additional two touchdowns. Expect a big year from Cooper this year, as a rising NFL prospect.
Corey Robinson, WR, Notre Dame
Robinson is a big, physical receiver standing 6’5 215lbs. He has good leaping ability and high points the ball in traffic exceptionally well. I would love to see some added quickness and polished route running, none of which is asking too much for this great athlete. Florida State – who had one of the most talented secondary’s in the country last year – had their hands full trying to contain Robinson. I believe his game will translate exceptionally well, and with a solid junior year he could play his way into the first round.