Nickel Package: Five rising juniors
Each year during our preseason evaluation process we at Scouts Inc. target 30-40 draft-eligible non-seniors for full evaluations based on reputation, what we see in weekly game action and those who stand out during film study on other prospects.
These are players we feel have the potential to be early-round draft picks, and while that sometimes doesn't come to fruition the process of elimination is useful as we shape our overall draft board.
Conversely, as the season progresses there are non-seniors who make noise and stand out in a big way, so rather than wait until the January deadline for non-seniors to declare we go to the tape early and put grades on those prospects. Players like Florida S Matt Elam and Florida State DE Cornellius Carradine are examples of players we've written up fully already this season.
So with that process in mind, this week's Nickel Package looks at five other underclassmen who are on the rise and undergoing the beginning stages of in-depth film study. These are players NFL scouts are not officially evaluating at this point, but all five are getting on the radar as potential early-rounders.
Over the next few weeks we'll watch a minimum of four games worth of coach-copy tape on these players -- a game or two from 2011 and at least two from this season -- and also talk to coaches and other scouts to gain background information.
None have initial draft grades at this point, but here's what I've seen from these five possible early-rounders so far and what I'll be studying closely as I get into the film.
To see why five standout juniors are on the radar of NFL scouts and what each has left to prove, become an ESPN Insider.