Previewing the (West Coast) Draft Class of 2016

College Football is on the clock. With the start of the season now less than 100 days away, let’s take a look at the draft eligible prospects and the class of 2016 out west, or as some would say, on the “left coast”. Why concentrate on one particular area of the United States when there are so many players across the country to look at? It’s my story, I’m telling it, and I have a bias towards this part of the college football landscape since it’s my backyard. The west coast has a plethora of talented players primed for Sunday’s and the leap up to the next level. Here is a list of players I will spend my time either watching in person, on television, or in the film room. More than likely it will be all three depending upon who stands out the most during the course of the 2015 season. Starting with the position most NFL teams build their teams with, let’s take a look at the QBs. Two players that standout as the cream of the crop and are ranked in the top five in the country at their position are USC’s Cody Kessler and Stanford’s Kevin Hogan. Both will be battling it out on the field head-to-head during the season on September 19th for the top QB prospect along with Michigan State’s Connor Cook, who is ranked as the No.1 QB prospect in the class headed into this season. But don’t count out Cal’s Jared Goff if he has a standout year and decides to enter the draft as an underclassmen or dark horse prospect Mike Bercovici of Arizona State. Moving on to the players these guys will be throwing the ball to… at the WR position, one school is loaded with prospects. Here is where my bias really stands out since Cal is pretty much a 20 minute drive door-to-turnstile from my house and where I got my start working in sports. I have a great deal of love for the Golden Bears football program. Cal has five guys to spread the ball around to in their vaunted “Bear-Raid” offense this year so their numbers will not be as high as some others around the country, but make no mistake, you will see some of these guys in NFL next year. Of Cal’s five wide outs, pay very close attention to underclassmen Kenny Lawler. He is perhaps the best WR at the school and one of the top three on this list. Also pay attention to Stephen Anderson of Cal and UCLA’s Jordan Payton. The list of players toting the rock this year is pretty thin, with many of the schools out west being pass happy offenses. Which is also why you won’t see a single TE prospect on this list… because no one, other than Stanford, uses them much, if at all. Much like the QB position, there are a couple of guys ranked as top five players in the nation that play out west. Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott enters as the best of the best in the country, but Oregon’s Byron Marshall and Arizona State Sun Devil D.J. Foster are chasing him down. Don’t sleep on Cal’s Daniel Lasco however. You will also see this guy playing on Sundays. Lastly, the guys up front doing the heavy lifting, pushing, pulling and grappling at the line of scrimmage include: The “left coast” stands out with a number of big guys ranked as top five linemen in the country. The Pac-12 will be well represented in the fall of 2016 in the NFL. USC’s Max Tuerk leads the way on this list ranked as the best Center prospect in the country followed by fellow linemen, Jake Brendel from cross-town rival UCLA, Guards, Christian Westerman from Arizona State and Cal’s Jordan Rigsbee and Oregon’s Tyler Johnstone who is returning from an ACL injury he suffered last year. 2015 looks to be another exciting year of college football. I’m looking forward to watching a lot of great matchups and prospects on offense. Phil Rainey is a high school football coach and graduate of Introduction to Scouting and Scouting Boot Camp. He can be reached by e-mail at philraineyscouting@gmail.com or Twitter @Rainey_Phil

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