For years, NFL scouts could ignore the hype that came with preseason All-America notes and Watch Lists for positional awards.
Typically, the players who earned such awards did so on top 25 teams. Winning the Heisman Trophy, for example, meant nothing to scouts because it was often all about statistics, scheme or celebrity, rather than individual talent.
As such, last week’s unveiling of CBSSports.com’s 2013 College Football Preseason All-America team begged the obvious question: Can these players turn their superstardom in college into high selections in the NFL draft?
NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analysts Dane Brugler and Rob Rang divvied up the team and offer below their take on whether these All-Americans will prove every bit as compelling as NFL prospects.
QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M (6-1, 200, Soph.)
Say what you will about his off-field exploits, Johnny Football is aptly nicknamed as his elusiveness and accuracy both in the pocket and on the move makes him as dynamic as any quarterback in recent college football history, perhaps ever. If he is as dominant in a second season of SEC competition, it isn’t hard to imagine some QB-needy NFL team investing a high pick in Manziel, regardless of the distractions he might bring with him.
RB Lache Seastrunk, Baylor (5-10, 205, Jr.)
NFLDraftScout.com’s top-rated runner potentially eligible for the 2014 NFL draft, Seastrunk combines freakish athletic ability to go along with vision and a willingness to cut-back against the grain. He ran for “just” 1,012 yards a season ago as Baylor featured the pass but could challenge for the nation’s rushing title in 2013.
RB T.J. Yeldon, Alabama (6-2, 218, Soph.)
Possessing an unheard of combination of size, agility and straight-line speed, Yeldon pushed aside Eddie Lacy a season ago to carve out 1,108 yards and 12 touchdowns as a true freshman. Like Lacy, Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram before him, Yeldon will ultimately earn a lofty grade from scouts.
WR Marqise Lee, Southern Cal (6-0, 195, Jr.)
A silky smooth athlete who in 2012 became the first Trojan and just the fifth sophomore to ever take home the Biletnikof Trophy as the nation’s top wideout, Lee is a future No. 1 target in the NFL. He lacks the size that has helped make Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green household names and is likely to catch less passes in 2012 with Matt Barkley now in the NFL, but his ability to turn short catches into long gains is unparalleled in college football.
WR Amari Cooper, Alabama (6-1, 202, Soph.)
Considered by some talent evaluators to be Alabama’s top prospect after just one season, Cooper is a shockingly polished route-runner who plays with toughness and instincts. Cooper’s numbers were impressive in 2012 (59 catches for 1,000 and a school-record 11 touchdowns) but is it frightening to think of what he’d do in an offense that featured him.
WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson (6-1, 205, Jr.)
DeAndre Hopkins earned a first round selection in 2013 and is already earning rave reviews for the Houston Texans but his former teammate, Watkins, is the more dynamic athlete. Possessing a breath-taking combination of size and pure speed, Watkins looks poised to re-emerge as quarterback Tajh Boyd’s favorite weapon in 2013.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington (6-6, 266, Jr.)
Bigger and more productive a season ago than Mackey Award winner and Cincinnati Bengals’ first round pick, Tyler Eifert, Seferian-Jenkins looks like an offensive tackle but boasts the body control of a wide receiver. He’ll almost certainly produce the type of numbers to warrant All-American status but must improve as a blocker and will have to convince scouts of his maturity after an…\
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