(USA TODAY) How deep is this year's class? It's been talked about ad nauseum over the past few months. Legitimate first-round arguments can be made for every player ranked from the start of the second round to the 55th overall talent.
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Twelve more prospects in the third round could potentially go a round earlier.
It all starts with the 26th-rated prospect, Fresno State's Derek Carr. There are concerns with Carr's ability to stand tall against pressure and the types of throws he was asked to make the past two seasons in the Bulldogs' spread scheme. However, he isn't far behind the likes of UCF's Blake Bortles or Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, if at all. Carr has a lightning quick release. He's a good athlete. And teams love his maturity on and off the field.
While the concerns linger, Carr could easily be the first or second quarterback selected.
A little further down the list, Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin is rated 45th overall. Benjamin is generally considered — at least he has been in mock drafts — a first-round pick. Benjamin does have all the physical tools to be drafted in that range. But he disappeared for long stretches of games last season and showed inconsistent hands. At 6-5 and 240 pounds, teams may even consider moving him to tight end.
Three names a little lower within the rankings but picking up steam late in the process are Boise State's Demarcus Lawrence, Indiana's Cody Latimer and Nevada's Joel Bitonio.
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While the aforementioned prospect could go much higher than expected, the running backs have clearly been devalued in the past few years. Auburn's Tre Mason is the top rusher available, but he's ranked as the 51st best prospect.
Pitt QB Tom Savage may even come as a surprise in the third round due to recent projections by others as a second-round pick. Savage has prototypical size and arm strength, which has teams enamored. He also played much better in the second half of the season. It's still hard to overlook his entire body of work, though. Savage displays erratic accuracy and decision-making. He also struggles against pressure and isn't a very good athlete.
Now, on to the draft rankings…click here for USA TODAY's Top 100.