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Sources Tell Us: What we're hearing about top NFL prospects

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  • By Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks, Charles Davis and Lance Zierlein NFL.com
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Our analysts are constantly talking to their NFL and college sources about players in the college game. In this space each week, Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks, Charles Davis and Lance Zierlein share some of what NFL folks are discussing in their circles.

Sources Tell Us: Sept. 4 | Sept. 10 | Sept. 17 | Sept. 24 | Oct. 1 | Oct. 8 | Oct. 15 | Oct. 23 | Oct. 29 | Nov. 5 | Nov. 12


The scoop: "Since the Oregon game (on Oct. 11), his stock, in my book, has risen again. He's not staring down the pass rush as much, and he's not just a willing runner; he's running to hurt a defense now. He's put his team on his back, and is producing at a high level." -- AFC North general manager on UCLA QB Brett Hundley

The skinny: Hundley is in the midst of the best streak of his UCLA career. He leads the nation in passing percentage (72.1) and is in the top 10 with a QB rating of 158.0. He's done a tremendous job protecting the ball with 17 touchdowns and just four interceptions. And before the win at Washington last week, in which he completed more than 80 percent of his passes for 302 yards and a pair of touchdowns, he went through a four-game stretch averaging 106 yards on the ground. He's starting to look like the player many had envisioned, one year after making the decision to forgo the NFL. No doubt, he has benefited from going back to school. The question now is whether he will be back for Year No. 4.

» Davis: Will Hundley reconsider plans for 2015 draft?


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The scoop: "(Ole Miss QB) Bo Wallace is one of those types of quarterbacks who is always trying to save the city but he's actually burning it down." -- NFC director of scouting

The skinny: Wallace has improved his touchdown-to-interception ratio this year and has been a steadier quarterback overall, but concerns about his personal and football character are going to be hard for him to overcome before the draft. At the end of a 10-7 loss at LSU last month, Wallace tried to take a shot down the field to win the game rather than play it safe, and it resulted in a game-ending interception. Wallace also had a critical fumble in the fourth quarter of the Rebels' loss to Auburn the following week. There is a thin line between "competitive confidence" and "arrogance" and many evaluators view Wallace as falling in the "arrogant" category.

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The scoop: "He has plenty of quick-twitch and explosiveness. His ability to rush from a three-point stance, and as an OLB on his feet, is impressive. (There are) plenty of good pass rushers in the country, but I think he's the best this year." -- NFC North scout on Nebraska DE Randy Gregory

The skinny: Gregory and Clemson's Vic Beasley are generally regarded as the top two pure pass rushers in college football. Gregory is long and narrow, but very physical and a beast off the edge. Some have compared him to Miami Dolphins DE Dion Jordan, the pass rusher from Oregon who was drafted third overall in 2013. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said last week he thought Gregory would return for his senior season, but it sounded more like hope than reality.

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The scoop: "His improvement has been amazing. (I) saw him throw last spring when Braxton Miller sat out with an injury and was not impressed. Watching him last week at Minnesota was a revelation. He's just a freshman, but he's definitely tracking toward being an NFL quarterback." -- NFC West GM on Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett

» Potential landing spots for Braxton Miller if he leaves Buckeyes


The skinny: It's talk like this that has rumors swirling about Miller transferring, although sources say Miller is planning on returning to Ohio State next year, fully recovered from the shoulder injury that felled his senior season and forced him to redshirt. Some NFL talent evaluators view Miller as a running back at the next level, but you have to believe Miller will do anything he can to go into the 2016 draft as a quarterback, whether that means transferring or not. Meanwhile, it's difficult to believe after what Barrett has accomplished this season that the Buckeyes won't find a significant role for him next season. As Urban Meyer noted recently, it's a good problem to have.

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The scoop: "Winston has a lot of baggage off the field, but when you study him on tape, he's pretty impressive. His pocket movement and accuracy are both outstanding." -- AFC executive on Florida State QB Jameis Winston

The skinny: There's never been much doubt about Winston's ability as a quarterback. It's all the off-field baggage NFL teams will have to eventually pick through when deciding his true value. It will be interesting, in the current climate of the NFL, to see how clubs ultimately grade him. There might not be a bigger boom-bust prospect to enter the draft, whenever that moment comes for Winston.

» Randy Moss to Winston: 'Reach out to me'


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The scoop: "His move last week to center not only stabilized his team, but he handled the transition very, very well. I'm eager to see more of him at that spot. Early line, small-sample comparison? Potentially, a (Dolphins OL Mike) Pouncey." -- NFC South personnel director on Florida State OL Cameron Erving

The skinny: The sample is too small, but if Erving settles into that spot, it could distinguish the fifth-year senior as a really special OL prospect and cement a first-round selection. He made his first career start at center last week at Miami and will settle into the position for the remainder of the season. The Pouncey comp is interesting, considering Pouncey moved from center, where he made the Pro Bowl last season, to right guard this year. Pouncey played guard at Florida, but the Dolphins drafted him as a center, where he played his first three seasons.

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The scoop: "I love Denzel Perryman. He is an explosive striker and his intangibles are off the charts. He will be an outstanding pro." -- AFC executive on the Miami (Fla.) inside linebacker

The skinny: Perryman could very well be this year's Chris Borland, a player whose tape is outstanding but will come up -- literally and figuratively -- a little short in the pre-draft evaluation process. There might not be a bigger hitter in college football, but Perryman is a verified 5-foot-11, the same size as Borland, the former Wisconsin linebacker who was taken by the Dolphins in the third round of last year's draft. It's good to see he's highly regarded by at least one team's scouting department, but we'll see how much he gets picked apart at the all-star games and NFL Scouting Combine.

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