Well folks, I’ve been talking about it for the better part of four months and it’s finally here — my first annual All-Juice Team.
The vision of the All-Juice team is simple. In preparation for this year’s NFL Draft, I’ve watched tape of hundreds of prospects (go here for position ratings, mock drafts and more). During that time, some guys are bound to stand out. This team is meant to recognize 22 prospects I like for various reasons, whether it be their effort, feistiness or intelligence. Sleeper prospects can also make the list for being underrated.
Why the name “All-Juice?” Juice is a phrase that, in football terms, means having energy, or having the goods. To better understand it, watch Warren Sapp and Jon Gruden explain it in the short clip below.
So without further ado, let’s get to it — the 2015 All-Juice Team.
▪ RB Todd Gurley II, 6-1, 222, Georgia: It’s impossible to have an All-Juice Team without Gurley, whose initial burst after receiving handoffs is essentially why the term “juice” started being used in a football context.
▪ WR Nelson Agholor, 6-0, 198, Southern California: Looks very similar to the Mizzou-era Jeremy Maclin, only to a lesser degree. But his route-running, skills after the catch and polish make him a potential first-round pick for the Chiefs (I’ve come around on that) and an easy selection.
▪ WR Kevin White, 6-3, 215, West Virginia: Caught my eye in December and was one of the players, along with Amari Cooper and Eric Kendricks, who helped spawn the entire concept of this list. So there’s that.
▪ WR Amari Cooper, 6-1, 210, Alabama: All you’ve got to do is watch Cooper track the football downfield after leaving a poor corner in his wake just once to see why he’s on here.
▪ WR Phillip Dorsett, 5-10, 185, Miami, Fla.: When you’re drawing comparisons to Santana Moss, you’re pretty much a lock to make this team.
▪ WR Tyler Lockett, 5-10, 182, Kansas State: He’s not terribly big, but he’s smart and a very polished route runner who was insanely productive even though everyone knew he was getting the ball.
▪ TE Maxx Williams, 6-4, 249, Minnesota: An emotional player who is into the game and flashes awesome ball skills, he’d make a terrific sidekick for Travis Kelce.
▪ OL Brandon Scherff, 6-5, 319, Iowa: Just watch this game from 2013.
▪ OL A.J. Cann, 6-3, 313, South Carolina: Smart, tough and aware in pass pro. I’m in.
▪ OL Laken Tomlinson, 6-3, 323, Duke: His nickname was once “Fluffy,” and he became an exceptional guard. Sold.
▪ OL Ereck Flowers, 6-6, 329, Miami, Fla.: His pass protection needs work, but he’s feisty and mean and would give the Chiefs’ line some attitude. He looks like a right tackle to me.
▪ DE Leonard Williams, 6-5, 302, Southern California: When Williams lets it loose and gets upfield, he’s the total package.
▪ DT Quayshawne Buckley, 6-2, 296, Idaho: Buckley’s closing burst and hand usage stands out on tape.
▪ DT Xavier Cooper, 6-2, 295, Washington State: Super-quick, penetrating tackle was one of the more pleasant surprises I uncovered in my draft research.
▪ OLB Markus Golden, 6-2, 260, Mizzou: Nobody plays harder than Golden, and when you pair his nonstop motor with exceptional football character, there was no way he wasn’t making this team.
▪ ILB Eric Kendricks, 6-0, 232, UCLA: Game tape against Virginia was as impressive an individual performance I saw all year.
▪ ILB Denzel Perryman, 5-11, 236, Miami, Fla.: Built like a fire hydrant and hits like a ton bricks.
▪ OLB Dante Fowler Jr., 6-3, 261, Florida: Plays his tail off and gets after it. The best edge rusher in the draft.
▪ DB Anthony Harris, 6-1, 183, Virginia: Versatile cover man who will step up and hit you, too.
▪ DB Steven Nelson, 5-10, 192, Oregon State: His showdown against Jaelen Strong this year was fantastic, and Nelson never backed down.
▪ DB Clayton Geathers, 6-2, 218, Central Florida: Big hitter with a closing burst. Could help on early downs.
▪ CB/SS Imoan Claiborne, 5-11, 187, Northwestern State: Feisty, aggressive corner who likes contact. Might be an intriguing nickel guy.