With the 2015 NFL Draft right around the corner, prospect lists are starting to roll out. Over at SBNation, Mocking the Draft has been taking their annual look at the top players of each position, and there are plenty of Mountain West players who made the cut.
7. Garrett Grayson - Colorado State - 6'2" - 220 lbs
Grayson is a strong-armed quarterback who is building some buzz as a potential sleeper pick in the upcoming draft. He finished his senior campaign at Colorado State with 4,006 passing yards and 32 passing touchdowns while completing 64.3% of his passes. In what's typically been perceived as a weak draft at the quarterback position, Grayson has the opportunity to bolt up the rankings should he turn in impressive performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.
13. Cody Fajardo - Nevada - 6'2" - 215 lbs
Fajardo finished his career at Nevada with 9,659 passing yards, 3,482 rushing yards, and a grand total of 101 total touchdowns. He entered the season with some draft buzz, but drop-offs in several statistical categories–including completion percentage, yards per attempt, and interceptions–have him on the outside looking in. If he is drafted, chances are it will be by a team hoping he can become their Julian Edelman. I'm sure someone will give him a look at quarterback, but he has a lot of work to do if he hopes to stick.
8. Jay Ajayi - Boise State - 6'0" - 216 lbs
Ajayi just recently declared for the draft and he figures to be one of the top running backs available. His versatility in both the passing and running game makes him a prime candidate to immediately step into a backup role, especially if he's able to overcome his ball security issues. Through his junior campaign, Ajayi has ran for 1,689 yards and 25 rushing touchdowns to go along with 536 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns through his junior campaign. He and the Broncos will take on the Arizona Wildcats in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Eve.
19. Josh Harper - Fresno State - 6'1" - 185 lbs
Harper's stats had a bit of a drop-off after the exit of Derek Carr, but the wideout still gave scouts plenty to ooze over in 2014. Harper finished the year with 1,072 yards and 7 touchdowns on 86 catches, carrying a routinely stagnant offense. His speed and big-play ability could entice a team enough to use as high as a 3rd-round selection on him,
29. Matt Miller - Boise State - 6'3" - 212 lbs
Injury ended what was a brilliant career for Miller at Boise State, but expect him to get a good, long look at the next level. He has just enough speed and just enough size to where a team may be willing to take him on as a project or a potential red-zone weapon. If he is drafted, it will come late, but he'll be worth keeping an eye on in the preseason.
11. Kivon Cartwright - Colorado State - 6'4" - 245 lbs
This may prove pointless, as Cartwright is currently in the process of fighting for a sixth season of eligibility, but we'll take a look anyway. Cartwright dramatically improved every single season before injuries ended his senior year immediately, but he's still far from a finished product. Another year in Fort Collins could prove very beneficial to Cartwright, but at the moment he is looking at a mid-to-late round pick. Through his career at Colorado State, he has totaled 857 yards and 9 touchdowns.
9. Ty Sambrailo - Colorado State - 6'5" - 315 lbs
Sambrailo could very well be the first Mountain West player to come off the board, as his name is frequently tagged with a second-round grade. He's an active and athletic tackle who still has plenty of room to grow as a football player. It'd probably be ideal to bench Sambrailo his rookie season and allow him to develop, but NFL teams rarely find themselves in ideal situations.
14. Terry Poole - San Diego State - 6'5" - 310 lbs
Poole will get a chance to raise his stock in the East-West Shrine Game on January 17th, but at the moment he's probably looking at a later-round selection. There will be plenty of teams willing to take a chance on his combination of size and athleticism.
21. Brett Boyko - UNLV - 6'7" - 310 lbs
A gargantuan left tackle with an interesting background–he was a quarterback in high school–Boyko could be a fun project for an NFL team. Evaluators are split on Boyko, with some loving him as a NFL-caliber tackle while others are skeptical. Regardless, he's a big body with a lot of room to grow as a lineman. Use a late draft pick on him, give him time to develop in a NFL program, and see what happens.
None. (Remember, I'm just the messenger)
None. (Still just the messenger)
None. (See: above)
18. Tyeler Davison - Fresno State - 6'2" - 309 lbs
Davison finished an impressive senior campaign with 8.0 sacks and 55 total tackles. In a conference without a whole lot of big-name defensive linemen, Davison stood out as one of the best. Like Boyko, evaluators are pretty split on his current draft grade. He brings some versatility, lining up at both defensive end and nose tackle for Fresno State throughout the season, but he never looked terribly comfortable switching back and forth.
None. Not quite the year of the defense?
7. Derron Smith - Fresno State - 5'11" - 197 lbs
2014 was a year of perseverance for Derron Smith. After opting to return for his senior season in order to boost his draft stock, Smith was tasked with leading a horrid defense. The Bulldogs' secondary was scorched on a weekly basis, finishing 111th in total passing defense and 94th in defensive efficiency. With so many other weaknesses for opposing offenses to attack, Smith's typically impressive interception numbers plummeted down to a single interception in 2014. Still, he's a ball-hawking safety who will be a mid-round pick, at worst.
Top-100 Prospect List
63. Ty Sambrailo - Offensive Tackle - Colorado State
71. Jay Ajayi - Running Back - Boise State