The SEC was once again well represented in the 2015 NFL Draft with an FBS-best 54 players selected. The conference has dominated the draft the past nine consecutive years and shows no signs of slowing down in the near future. With this year’s draft in the books, here’s a look at the next year’s top SEC prospects.
Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Florida, Junior: Hargreaves was one of the few bright spots on a lackluster Florida team. The sophomore was a first team All-SEC selection after recording three interceptions, despite seeing limited targets by opposing offenses. Hargreaves is heralded by opponents as the conference’s top cornerback and has the intangiables to excel at the professional level. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound corner’s low 40-yard dash was clocked at 4.38, while his instincts and natural ability have also received praise.
Leonard Floyd, DE/LB, Georgia, Junior: Floyd enters 2015 as one of the conference’s best pass rushers. The sophomore led the Bulldogs with six sacks and added 17 quarterback hurries, earning an All-SEC honorable mention in 2014. Floyd, who spent a season in prep school before his past two in Athens, decided to forego the draft and return for his junior season, which should see an increase in production after the departures of Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson.
Robert Nkemdiche, DT, Ole Miss, Junior: Defensive tackle is far from a “sexy pick,” but Nkemdiche is too good for any team to pass up. The unanimous No. 1 prospect from the 2013 recruiting class has dominated in his first two seasons at Ole Miss and should continue his success in Year Three. At 6-foot-4, 280-pounds, Nkemdiche has a rare blend of size and speed that will shed his label as a defensive tackle and should rank him as an early first round pick.
D’Haquille Williams, WR, Auburn, Senior: Williams decided to return to Auburn for his senior season despite a high draft projection. The 6-foot-2, 216-pound receiver ranked third in the SEC in receiving yards per game (73.0) behind Biletnikoff winner Amari Cooper and South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper and eighth in receiving yards (730). With teammate Sammie Coates — who edged out Williams by 11 yards — embarking on a pro career, the rising senior will assume the role of Auburn’s true No. 1 wide receiver and could be the SEC’s top pass catcher.
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss, Junior: Tunsil has topped several underclassmen projection lists for next year’s draft. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound lineman has “the power to generate push on short-yardage runs and the quickness to seal the edge on perimeter runs” and “the length to take away the edge, the balance to mirror and the strength to anchor,” according to ESPN Insider College Football. Like Nkemdiche, Tunsil was a prized prospect in Ole Miss’ program changing 2013 class and has the intangibles to make an immediate impact at the pro level.