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Cody Latimer among most intriguing second-tier draft prospects


Given the rare depth of this draft, teams that miss out on a first-tier player at a position of need early on might not have much reason to hang their heads -- second-tier prospects have plenty of promise to offer this year at most positions.

Here's a look at a player from each position that has emerged as one of the most intriguing talents from that second tier. Just about all of them are in the mix for the second day (Rounds 2-3), and at least a couple are rising so fast they might end going late in the first round. In most cases, these weren't names that rolled off people's tongue at the outset of this process, but every one of them intrigues me and has a chance to make the team they land with very happy.

QB: Tom Savage, Pittsburgh

The "Big Four" have been Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, Blake Bortles and Derek Carr, with Jimmy Garoppolo and AJ McCarron right behind them in the second tier. In the past month, though, Savage has been getting as much buzz as anyone and his rise has been dramatic. I think he has the biggest arm of anyone in the second tier, and might even be the surprise pick of the first round.

RB: Terrance West, Towson

West is a fast riser, and he has the attention of teams looking for a power rusher. He put up monster numbers in the FCS, leading all of college football with 413 carries for 2,519 yards and 41 touchdowns, and there's been buzz about him since his strong showing at the NFL Scouting Combine.

WR: Cody Latimer, Indiana

Latimer, who has a great combination of size and speed, has gone from being considered a middle-round pick to potentially going late in the first. Some thought at the outset of the draft process that he made a mistake by declaring early for the draft -- there was talk that he might have been a first-rounder next year with another year of seasoning. Well, he might have made the right decision, as the first round is within his reach this year, although I think there's a better chance he'll go in the second.

TE: A.C. Leonard, Tennessee State

Troy Niklas and C.J. Fiedorowicz are the guys that get the most attention of the second-tier tight ends, but I'm really intrigued by Leonard, an athletic Florida transfer. He has good hands and can make plays after the catch. Based on talent, Colt Lyerla should also be in this conversation, but off-the-field issues have teams concerned.

OT: Joel Bitonio, Nevada

Bitonio could also be used as a guard, but he has shown he can hold his own playing on the edge, including against UCLA star OLB Anthony Barr. He's attracting more and more attention from teams as we go along and there's talk he could go in the first round.

G: Cyril Richardson, Baylor

Richardson was once a top-tier guy, but he struggled at the Reese's Senior Bowl and people started viewing him as a scheme-specific player that would fit best with man-blocking teams. He has outstanding power and strength to generate movement, though.

C: Corey Linsley, Ohio State

Linsley is more likely to go on Day 3 (Rounds 4-7), but I've been hearing some teams have him ranked higher than many would expect. Ohio State has a good tradition of producing NFL centers, and Linsley is a tough player who will battle every down.

DE: Kareem Martin, North Carolina

Some people view Martin as a potential rush outside linebacker, but I like him as an end. He has big-time potential and emerged more and more as the process has unfolded. He jumps out when you watch tape of him against QB Tom Savage and Pittsburgh last season.

DT: Dominique Easley, Florida

He's recovering from the second ACL tear of his career (tore his left ACL in 2011 and his right ACL last season), but it hasn't kept him from generating buzz. People know how good he can be. Easley has the potential to be a very disruptive three-technique.

OLB: Trent Murphy, Stanford

He started out with a lot of acclaim when we started this draft process, but I think that has cooled somewhat. People have been trying to figure out where he fits best -- at defensive end or outside linebacker. All I know is he had 15 sacks last season to lead the country -- he just makes plays.

ILB: Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA

He's the kind of guy people look at and want to doubt -- he won't blow anyone away with his athleticism -- but he's very aggressive and has a nose for the ball. He looked good at the Senior Bowl and is very tough. Some team is going to fall in love with him.

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» Tracking teams' interest in top prospects

CB: Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson, Florida

They're both guys that were more highly regarded prior to the combine and didn't perform particularly well in Indianapolis or at their pro-day workout. They both are highly talented, though, and I see potential that has gone untapped.

S: Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State

Joyner has the size of a corner, but plays better as a safety. Pound for pound, he's one of the hardest hitters in this draft. He reminds me a little of Tyrann Mathieu when he entered the league as a third-round pick last year, although Joyner is a smaller version and his ball skills aren't at the same level. He's a smart, productive player that will be on the radar for teams in need of a safety after Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor are off the board.

Follow Charles Davis on Twitter @CFD22.



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