Editor's note: NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein is constantly talking to NFL and college sources about players in the college game. In this space each week, Zierlein will share some of what NFL folks are discussing in their circles. This week, he shares what he's hearing about two of the draft's top receivers and a couple risers from the Reese's Senior Bowl.
The scoop: "I'll make a prediction. Corey Davis will end up being a better player in the pros than Mike Williams. I just think Davis (is better at getting open) than Williams. I love Williams' ability to play the deep ball, too, but it gets a lot harder in the pros, so you better prove you can get open with your routes. Corey Davis can get open with his routes." -- NFC national scout on Davis (Western Michigan) and Williams (Clemson)
The skinny: The idea that Davis would be drafted ahead of Williams was starting to make the rounds in scouting circles, but my guess is that talk will die down now that Davis reportedly won't run at the NFL Scouting Combine after undergoing minor ankle surgery. In fairness, Williams' role in the Clemson offense didn't allow him to run the same route tree that Davis did, so tape might not show all of Williams' ability. Davis is a tremendously competitive target with good size who runs great routes. I see him as a first-rounder with a high ceiling.
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The scoop: "First of all, he came in at 237 pounds, which was really important because most people thought we was going to be lighter. Then he showed he could play either linebacker spot. He made himself a lot of money." -- AFC scouting director on Temple LB Haason Reddick's performance last week at the Senior Bowl
The skinny: Reddick is one of the players who has excited me the most through three months of tape study thanks to his explosive athleticism and ability to get after the quarterback. Reddick finished with 10.5 sacks as an outside linebacker last season, and also proved to be effective at disrupting running games. Reddick agreed to play inside linebacker at the Senior Bowl provided he was allowed to show off his pass rushing in one-on-one drills, which he did exceptionally well. His draft value will skyrocket if teams believe he can play inside and outside at linebacker.
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The scoop: "I didn't think much of him when I studied some quick tape before heading down here (to the Senior Bowl), but he was one of the most impressive pass rushers I saw. I think he was probably hurt playing in Lovie (Smith's) defense." -- NFC defensive line coach on Illinois DE/OLB Dawuane Smoot
The skinny: I'll go ahead and co-sign what this defensive line coach saw both on tape and at the Senior Bowl. Smoot's senior campaign was a bit disappointing as a 4-3 defensive end in Smith's defense, but when he was allowed to rush as a stand-up linebacker at the Senior Bowl, Smoot was able to give offensive tackles their fair share of problems with a variety of inside and outside moves in one-on-one drills. Smoot lacks the power at the point of attack to play defensive end, but his skill set looked very compatible with a transition into a 3-4 defense. He likely helped his draft stock at the Senior Bowl.