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Pipeline to the Pros: Top 25 CFB teams with most NFL talent

AP Photo/Victor Calzada
Quarterback Brett Hundley has indicated this will be his final season at UCLA.

11. UCLA Bruins


Players to watch: QB Brett Hundley, LB/RB Myles Jack, DT Ellis McCarthy, ILB Eric Kendricks

The outlook: Credit Jim Mora for changing the culture in Westwood with his no-nonsense approach. The hard-nosed coach has turned around a program that underachieved for years. The Bruins have churned out first-round picks in back-to-back years (Datone Jones and Anthony Barr), and Mora has attracted a pair of top-30 recruiting classes to campus, while grooming a quarterback -- Hundley -- that figures to be a first-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. Jack is an electric two-way player with big-time potential on either side of the ball.

Newcomer in the spotlight: LB Zach Whitley, Jr. The standout freshman could crack the starting lineup with a strong performance in preseason camp. Whitley is an explosive athlete with the speed and quickness to make an immediate impact as a sideline-to-sideline defender.

12. Florida Gators


Players to watch: LB Dante Fowler, Jr., TE Jake McGee, C Max Garcia, CB Vernon Hargreaves III

The outlook: Despite their disappointing 2013 season, the Gators have a bevy of talent on the roster. Coach Will Muschamp's squad is loaded with future NFL players. Fowler is a stud with the talent, athleticism and production to make an immediate impact as a pro. Hargreaves might be the best pure cover corner to play in The Swamp since Joe Haden. He could be the top cornerback prospect in the 2016 or 2017 class.

Newcomer in the spotlight: CB Jalen Tabor. The Gators might have nabbed a Nnamdi Asomugha clone with the addition of Tabor on signing day. As a tall, rangy cover corner with superior length, Tabor could team with Hargreaves to give the Gators a dynamic duo in the defensive backfield.

13. Ole Miss Rebels


Players to watch: DE Robert Nkemdiche, WR LaQuon Treadwell, OT Larenmy Tunsil, QB Bo Wallace, S Cody Prewitt

The outlook: The Rebels' lofty ranking on this list might come as a surprise, but Hugh Freeze's impressive work on the recruiting trail has put Ole Miss squarely on the radar of scouts looking for blue-chip talent. The Rebels have assembled a collection of five-star players on both sides of the ball, particularly on offense with Treadwell and Tunsil paying immediate dividends as freshmen. Nkemdiche has also shown flashes of living up to the hype as the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2013 class. With the Rebels poised to dominate the NFL draft the next few years, it's time to view Ole Miss as a viable contender in the SEC West.

Newcomer in the spotlight: CB Tee Shepard. Once regarded as the premier cover corner in the high school ranks, Shepard will finally make his major college debut this fall for the Rebels after spending some time on the JUCO circuit. Shepard is a lockdown corner with the skills to blanket elite receivers on an island.

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks digs deep into the game tape to evaluate college football's most talented players.

» Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
» Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor
» Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
» Leonard Williams, DL, USC
» Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
» Wisconsin's Gordon vs. Georgia's Gurley

14. Nebraska Cornhuskers


Players to watch: OLB Randy Gregory, RB Ameer Abdullah, WR Kenny Bell, S Corey Cooper, LB David Santos

The outlook: The Cornhuskers are no longer a perennial power, but that doesn't stop NFL scouts from studying Bo Pelini's rosters. The Cornhuskers have produced 23 NFL draft picks over the past six years, with a pair of first-round selections (Ndamukong Suh and Prince Amukamara) during that span. With Gregory and Abdullah already generating buzz as potential first-round picks, the Cornhuskers will continue to attract NFL evaluators to campus.

Newcomer in the spotlight: CB Byerson Cockrell. The JUCO standout should push for playing time immediately at corner. Measuring 6-foot, 185 pounds, Cockrell has the length to play on the outside, while also displaying the quickness to move into the slot as a possible nickel defender.

15. Clemson Tigers


Players to watch: OLB Vic Beasley, ILB Stephone Anthony, DT Grady Jarrett, DE Corey Crawford

The outlook: Coach Dabo Swinney has taken the Clemson program to another level by killing it on the recruiting trail. The Tigers have snagged top-15 classes in each of the past four years, which is why a steady stream of pros have come out of Death Valley in recent years. The trend is poised to continue in 2015, with the likes of Beasley, Anthony and Jarrett set to make an impact. Factor in the eventual contributions of DeShaun Watson and Mackensie Alexander, and the Tigers will continue to be represented prominently on draft day.

Newcomer in the spotlight: CB Mackensie Alexander. The consensus five-star recruit was expected to make an immediate impact at corner in 2013, but a preseason groin injury prevented him from getting on the field as a freshman. With a full offseason of work under his belt, he could show scouts why he was considered the premier lockdown cornerback in his class.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

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