There are many top draft-eligible prospects from FBS-level programs for South Florida Bulls and this write up deals with the preparation for the 2013 NFL Draft. Until the start of the college football season, this summer series will run.
1. DT Cory Grissom (6-2, 315)
Grissom boasts 28 starts under his belt and no returning player on the South Florida roster has started more games over his career than him besides B.J. Daniels. if it were not for a broken ankle that he suffered in April, he would be higher on this list. For the Georgia-native, Durability has been an issue in the past as he battled several injuries over his first two seasons, seeing limited playing time in 2009 and redshirting in 2008. Grissom should see a rise up draft boards once he proves he is healthy, although flying under the radar as a pro prospect.
2. SS Jon Lejiste (6-0, 210)
Lejiste is a violent striker with the hard-hitting mentality that NFL scouts seek at strong safety. He entered his third year as a starter. He moved to safety after his redshirt season and has since added 30+ pounds, although he was a two-star cornerback recruit out of high school. Lejiste has good size and strength for the position with the straight-line speed to close in a flash. He needs to do a better job putting him in position to make plays on the ball in coverage. He will be on many team’s draft boards next spring, if Lejiste continues to improve as a senior like his previous two seasons as a starter.
3. QB B.J. Daniels (6-0, 215)
Daniels stepped in for the Bulls and surprised even the coaching staff with his playmaking ability, leading an upset of Florida State in his first career start in 2009 when starting quarterback Matt Grothe went down with a torn ACL. Daniels had somewhat of a sophomore slump in 2010 with more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (11) and career lows in both passing and rushing yards, although he earned Big East All-Freshman honors in 2009. Daniels needs to improve his accuracy, specifically the ball placement to his targets with a career completion percentage under 58.0%, if he wishes to have any future at the next level.
4. OT Mark Popek (6-7, 305)
The South Florida offensive line needs to keep quarterback B.J. Daniels healthy in order for the Bulls to have a successful 2012 campaign. Popek is one of the top offensive linemen in the Big E. Popek is up to 305-pounds and has worked extensively to eliminate the dumb penalties and refine his mechanics at the position, after spending more time in the weight room during the offseason. He is expected to take on more of a leadership role as a senior and he is the most experienced blocker on an offensive line that will break in a few new starters in 2012.
5. DE Ryne Giddins (6-3, 265)
Giddins might belong to No. 1 on this list and many think 2012 will be his breakout season when based on potential alone. He shows the natural pass rush ability that will always attract attention from scouts at the next level, although a tick undersized. With the combination of speed and strength, Giddins is quick off the edge to beat blockers in multiple ways and collapse the pocket. He flashes the potential to lead the Big East in sacks in 2012, although he is developing his pass rush moves and instincts for the position.