Knocking on door of first round, Nuk Hopkins has big opportunity at NFL Combine

The Clemson Sports Blog

Clemson running back Andre Ellington tries to dodge a tackle by Virginia Tech rover Kyshoen Jarrett in the first quarter on Saturday.

Photo by Sefton Ipock

Clemson running back Andre Ellington tries to dodge a tackle by Virginia Tech rover Kyshoen Jarrett in the first quarter on Saturday.

Consensus opinion is trending toward Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins realizing his dream of being a first-round NFL draft pick, heading into the league's Combine next weekend.

A dissenting opinion is NFL.com's Combine analyst, Mark Mayock, who leaves Hopkins out of his top-five position rankings.

Mayock, however, gives Clemson's Andre Ellington his highest projection yet, listing him as the nation's No. 3 running back behind Alabama's Eddie Lacy and Wisconsin's Montee Ball, just ahead of UNC's Giovanni Bernard and South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore.

Mayock's top five wide receivers are Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee, Keenan Allen of California, Terrance Williams of Baylor, Tavon Austin of West Virginia, and Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech.

The panel of analysts with first-round mock drafts published on NFL.com have Hopkins rated as high as the No. 2 wide receiver in the draft.

The latest list, by Josh Norris, projects Hopkins as the No. 27 pick of the Houston Texans, and third overall among wide receivers behind Patterson and Allen.

Daniel Jeremiah sees the Minnesota Vikings taking Hopkins with the No. 23 pick, and as the No. 2 wide receiver selected.

Albert Breer predicts a No. 21 pick for Hopkins by the Cincinnati Bengals, while Gil Brandt has him going No. 25 to the Seattle Seahawks. Neither Bucky Brodus nor Charles Davis has Hopkins being selected in the first round.

Ellington, meanwhile, is generally projected as a second to third-round pick.

The NFL Combine gets underway on Feb. 23 in Indianapolis, and runs through Feb. 26.

Mark Mayock's NFL.com Top 5 Position Rankings

Quarterback

1. Geno Smith, West Virginia

2. Matt Barkley, USC

3. Mike Glennon, NC State

4. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse

5. Landry Jones, Oklahoma

Running Back

1. Eddie Lacy, Alabama

2. Montee Ball, Wisconsin

3. Andre Ellington, Clemson

4. Giovani Bernard, North Carolina

5. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina

Wide Receiver

1. Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee

2. Keenan Allen, Cal

3. Terrance Williams, Baylor

4. Tavon Austin, West Virginia

5. Quinton Patton, Louisiana Tech

Tight End

1. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame

2. Zach Ertz, Stanford

3. Gavin Escobar, San Diego State

4. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati

5. Jordan Reed, Florida

Center

1. Travis Frederick, Wisconsin

2. Brian Schwenke, Cal

3. Barrett Jones, Alabama

4. Khaled Holmes, USC

5. Braxston Cave, Notre Dame

Guard

1. Chance Warmack, Alabama

2. Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina

3. Larry Warford, Kentucky

4. Kyle Long, Oregon

5. Brian Winters, Kent State

Tackle

1. Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M

2. Eric Fisher, Central Michigan

3. Lane Johnson, Oklahoma

4. D.J. Fluker, Alabama

T-5. Menelik Watson, Florida State

T-5. Justin Pugh, Syracuse

Defensive End

1. Bjoern Werner, Florida State

2. Damontre Moore, Texas A&M

3. Ezekiel Ansah, BYU

4. Sam Montgomery, LSU

T-5. Datone Jones, UCLA

T-5. Margus Hunt, SMU

Defensive Tackle

1. Sharrif Floyd, Florida

2. Star Lotulelei, Utah

3. Sheldon Richardson, Missouri

4. Sylvester Williams, North Carolina

T-5. Kawann Short, Purdue

T-5. Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State

Outside linebacker

1. Dion Jordan, Oregon

2. Jarvis Jones, Georgia

3. Khaseem Greene, Rutgers

4. Barkevious Mingo, LSU

5. Arthur Brown, Kansas State

Inside linebacker

1. Alec Ogletree, Georgia

2. Manti Te'o, Notre Dame

3. Kevin Minter, LSU

4. Kevin Reddick, North Carolina

5. Kiko Alonso, Oregon

Cornerback

1. Dee Milliner, Alabama

2. Xavier Rhodes, Florida State

3. Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State

4. Desmond Trufant, Washington

5. Jordan Poyer, Oregon State

Safety

1. Kenny Vaccaro, Texas

2. Matt Elam, Florida

3. Johnathan Cyprien, Florida International

4. Eric Reid, LSU

5. Zeke Motta, Notre Dame

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