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


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 and Charles Davis share some of what NFL folks are discussing in their circles.

Sources Tell Us: Sept. 4 | Sept. 10 | Sept. 17 | Sept. 24

The scoop: "Devin Funchess is one of the best players I've seen this fall. He could play wideout at the next level but I prefer him at tight end. He can do a lot of the things that make Jimmy Graham special." -- NFC personnel executive

The skinny: Not all is bad coming out of Ann Arbor, apparently. After catching three touchdowns in the first half of Michigan's season opener, Funchess has been hampered by a leg injury that he says will give him "pain for the rest of the season." He leads the Wolverines with 24 catches for 321 yards and the three TDs, despite missing an entire game with the injury. Last year he transitioned from tight end to receiver, but it looks like his days as a tight end aren't over yet for the 6-foot-5, 230-pound player. Graham, by the way, is two inches taller and 35 pounds heavier.

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The scoop: "(UCLA quarterback) Brett Hundley has flaws but he has a huge upside. Great athlete and a big arm. That performance against ASU was one of his best games." -- former NFL team GM

The skinny: Against Arizona State last Thursday night, Hundley was near flawless, completing 18 of 23 passes for 355 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed eight times for 72 yards and a TD. There were scouts in attendance from at least 15 NFL teams. "That's a great game to come to," Hundley told an reporter after the game.

The scoop: More on Hundley ... An AFC personnel executive said Hundley's play against Arizona State was the "best performance" of his career. The veteran scout pointed out the quarterback's ability to find the second and third receivers in the progression as a significant development, and suggested Hundley will need to show his depth of offensive knowledge in meetings to ease concerns about his football IQ. Although the exec expressed some concern about his deep-ball accuracy and ball placement, he said he believes Hundley will entice a team to expend a top pick on a player with franchise quarterback-like characteristics.

The skinny: Credit Hundley for putting in work in the offseason to improve his overall game. He looks more decisive and composed in the pocket; he is delivering dimes to his receivers on short and intermediate routes. While he remains a work in progress at the position, his decision to return to Westwood could pay off handsomely down the road. Scouts are carefully monitoring his play throughout the season; he can continue to dispel the questions about his overall game with his steady play. With Hundley generating positive momentum over the past few weeks, he could make a major move up the boards with solid games against Oregon, Stanford and USC.

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The scoop: A Pac-12 head coach says it's between Washington's Marcus Peters and Oregon's Ifo Ekpre-Olomu for the title of best cornerback in the Pac-12. The coach said Peters reminds him of Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman in terms of size, length and ball skills.

The skinny: Peters is an intriguing prospect, but that's some tremendous praise from the Pac-12 coach. Ekpre-Olomu is still regarded by many as the top defensive back in all of college football, not just the best corner in the Pac-12. As for the Sherman comparison, Peters might play big, but at 6-feet and 190 pounds, he can't quite match Sherman's size (6-3, 195).

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The scoop: Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah already has three 200-yard games this season and leads FBS in rushing yards with 833. "He's not Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon, but he's making us all take notice," an AFC scout said.

The skinny: The scout's comment highlights the potential for things to change for running backs in the NFL draft -- there is much talent at the position as Abdullah, despite his tremendous play, is widely considered the third-best rusher in college football. There's no shame in that for him, though. He's carrying the Huskers right now and is among the backs with the potential to snap the streak of drafts without a first-round running back at two.

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The scoop: UCLA's Myles Jack and Washington's Shaq Thompson are the Pac-12's two-way stars, playing linebacker and running back for their respective teams. However, an AFC scout said Thompson is a more natural runner than Jack and thinks a full-time move to running back for Thompson would make a lot of sense. "I'd make sure he touches it 25 times a game," the scout said.

The skinny: Thompson is sixth on the team in rushing with nine carries for 84 yards (9.3 yards per carry), but he would be awfully tough to replace on defense. As one NFC scout told us, Thompson has been a "playmaking machine" for the Huskies' defense, creating takeaways and being highly disruptive. Washington has hinted that Thompson will be more involved on offense, but a full-time move to running back? That would be a surprise.

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