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Analyzing likely replacements for 2015 Big Ten draft picks

The Big Ten had 35 draft picks in 2015, the fourth-most of any conference this year, with national champion Ohio State leading the way with five selections.

Here's a look at every Big Ten draft pick and who's in line to replace that player this fall.

Illinois didn't have anyone drafted.


RB Tevin Coleman

Round 3 (73), Atlanta Falcons
Possibilities: Sophomore Devine Redding (5-foot-10, 195 pounds) emerged from spring practice atop the depth chart at tailback, but IU is likely to use a two-back approach in replacing Coleman, who was a 2,000-yard rusher. The other back in the mix is UAB transfer Jordan Howard (6-1, 225), a junior who rushed for 1,587 yards last season. Redding rushed for 188 yards as Indiana's third-team tailback last fall.


OT Brandon Scherff

Round 1 (5), Washington Redskins
Possibilities: Both of Iowa's starting offensive tackles were drafted. The guy in line to replace Scherff at left tackle is sophomore Boone Myers (6-5, 300). Myers began his career as a walk-on tight end and was put on scholarship last year. He played in four games last season.

DT Carl Davis

Round 3 (90), Baltimore Ravens
Possibilities: As with the offensive tackles, Iowa has to replace both starting defensive tackles. Junior Jaleel Johnson (6-4, 310) is being asked to take over for Davis after backing up him last season. Johnson played in all 13 games in 2014, with a sack and 11 tackles.

OT Andrew Donnal

Round 4 (119), St. Louis Rams
Possibilities: Sophomore Ike Boettger is being given the task of replacing Donnal at right tackle. Boettger was a 220-pound tight end when he signed with the Hawkeyes in 2013. He played in eight games last season, including one start as an extra tight end when the Hawkeyes used a "jumbo" package. Boettger is a good athlete and actually played quarterback as a high school junior in 2012 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.


WR Stefon Diggs

Round 5 (146), Minnesota Vikings
Possibilities: The Terps lost both starting wide receivers, and senior Marcus Leak (6-0, 214) looks as if he will take over Diggs' role as the go-to receiver. Leak had 20 receptions last season. Brothers Levern and Taivon Jacobs -- Levern is a senior, Taivon a sophomore -- had good springs and should be important complementary receivers; the same goes for junior Amba Etta-Tawo and sophomore Juwann Winfree.

NT Darius Kilgo

Round 6 (203), Denver Broncos
Possibilities: Maryland used a 3-4 scheme last season, and all seven starters in the Terps' front seven last season were seniors. The Terps are going to a 4-3 this season, so Kilgo's nose tackle position technically is gone. With a new coordinator and a new scheme, the battle for the starting jobs will continue through fall camp. The top tackle looks to be sophomore Kingsley Opara (6-4, 308), who had a solid spring in the new defense after making zero impact as a redshirt freshman last season.


WR Devin Funchess

Round 2 (41), Carolina Panthers
Possibilities: Only two Michigan wide receivers caught more than 15 passes last season; one was Funchess and the other was junior Amara Darboh (6-2, 216), who will become Michigan's go-to receiver this season. Darboh should be able to handle that role; the concern for the Wolverines is figuring out which players will serve as the complementary receivers.

DE Frank Clark

Round 2 (63), Seattle Seahawks
Possibilities: Senior Mario Ojemudia (6-3, 253) took over Clark's starting role when Clark was dismissed from the team in November, and Ojemudia will head into the 2015 season as the starter. He had 3.5 sacks last season. There are high hopes for sophomore Lawrence Marshall (6-4, 238), who has added 10 pounds since signing with the Wolverines. Marshall has an impressive upside, and once he becomes bulkier and stronger, he could be dominant.

LB Jake Ryan

Round 4 (129), Green Bay Packers
Possibilities: Senior Desmond Morgan (6-1, 236) went into last season as a starter for the fourth consecutive year, but suffered a hand injury early and ended up redshirting. He returns for a fifth season and is expected to be both a top defender and a team leader. Morgan hasn't been a big-play guy, but he has been steady, especially against the run.


CB Trae Waynes

Round 1 (11), Minnesota Vikings
Possibilities: Waynes did an excellent job in 2014 replacing first-round pick Darqueze Dennard as the Spartans' shutdown corner. Can Waynes be replaced in the same manner? That seems doubtful. Junior Darian Hicks (5-10, 178) is a returning starter at corner, but his starting job doesn't seem to be guaranteed; remember that WR Tony Lippett played some corner down the stretch last season opposite Waynes. Senior Arjen Colquhoun (6-1, 197) has excellent size but hasn't done all that much as a Spartan. Juniors Demetrious Cox (6-1, 200) and Jermaine Edmondson (6-0, 181) and redshirt freshman Vayante Copeland (6-0, 200) round out the candidates for the two starting spots. That competition won't be decided until fall camp.

RB Jeremy Langford

Round 4 (106), Chicago Bears
Possibilities: Langford and his backup, Nick Hill, were seniors last season, and Delton Williams (6-1, 228), the presumptive starting tailback, was suspended after a March arrest. Sophomore Gerald Holmes (6-0, 218) and redshirt freshman Madre London (6-1, 220) shared carries during the spring; unless Williams' suspension is lifted, they are likely to do so in the fall, too. True freshman L.J. Scott (5-10, 210) is expected to get into the mix once he arrives.

WR Tony Lippett

Round 5 (156), Miami Dolphins
Possibilities: Lippett's departure means Michigan State needs a new go-to receiver, and senior Aaron Burbridge (6-1, 208) should be that guy. Burbridge -- one of the jewels of Michigan State's 2012 recruiting class -- was an important complementary piece in each of his first three seasons, and he now needs to go from a 25-catch guy to a 60-catch guy.

WR Keith Mumphery

Round 5 (175), Houston Texans
Possibilities: Mumphrey was an important cog in Michigan State's passing attack in his final three seasons, and was a solid deep threat. So who takes on that role this season? That's a good question that won't be answered until fall camp. There is no shortage of candidates -- seniors DeAnthony Arnett, Macgarrett Kings, Jr., and A.J. Troup and juniors Monty Madaris and R.J Shelton. Arnett caught 24 passes as a true freshman at Tennessee in 2012, but has caught just six passes in two seasons after transferring to Michigan State.


TE Maxx Williams

Round 2 (55), Baltimore Ravens
Possibilities: The Golden Gophers are going to miss Williams, who was the first tight end selected in the draft and the only Minnesota player with more than 18 catches last season. In addition, Williams caught eight of Minnesota's 12 TD passes. Minnesota prefers a run-heavy attack that features two tight ends, and Minnesota also lost its "blocking" tight end. The hope is sophomore Duke Anyanwu (6-4, 239) -- who missed the 2012 and '14 seasons with severe knee injuries -- can replace Williams as the receiving tight end. Sophomore Nick Hart (6-5, 240) is the other candidate. Junior Lincoln Plsek (6-4, 266) -- whose last name is pronounced "Plea-zik" -- will be the blocking tight end.

LB Damien Wilson

Round 4 (127), Dallas Cowboys
Possibilities: Sophomore Everett Williams (6-1, 235) will head into fall camp as the projected starter at middle linebacker. Sophomore Cody Poock (6-2, 236), who missed last season with a torn ACL but had 17 tackles in Minnesota's spring game, is the top competition.

RB David Cobb

Round 5 (138), Tennessee Titans
Possibilities: Senior Rodrick Williams, like Cobb a Texan, had a strong spring and appears in line to be the starter. Williams (5-11, 229) lost about 20 pounds in an effort to improve his quickness, and it looks to have paid off. Still, he will have to fight off sophomores Berkley Edwards (5-9, 192) and Rodney Smith (5-11, 202) in fall camp.

S Cedric Thompson

Round 5 (150), Miami Dolphins
Possibilities: Senior Antonio Johnson (6-0, 211), who has been a part-time starter the past two seasons, will be asked to do more this season as the Golden Gophers look to replace the underrated Thompson. Johnson and senior Damarius Travis should give Minnesota solid production at the two safety spots. Travis played with Green Bay Packers first-round pick Damarious Randall in high school at Pensacola (Fla.) High.


RB Ameer Abdullah

Round 2 (54), Detroit Lions
Possibilities: Junior Terrell Newby (5-10, 200) had a strong spring in Nebraska's new offense, and he will be looking to keep alive the Huskers' streak of 1,000-yard rushers; it currently is six seasons in a row. Newby is a solid all-around back, and his receiving ability will be an asset in the new offense.

DE Randy Gregory

Round 2 (60), Dallas Cowboys
Possibilities: Jack Gangwish (6-2, 265), a senior, is a former walk-on who started three times last season last season when Gregory was injured. Gangwish isn't all that athletic, but he is a try-hard guy who can set the edge and occasionally apply some pressure.

WR Kenny Bell

Round 5 (162), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Possibilities: Sophomore De'Mornay Pierson-El -- who was a part-time starter last fall as a true freshman -- should become the Huskers' new go-to receiver for new coach Mike Riley. Pierson-El (5-9, 185) is on the small side, but he is electric with the ball in his hands; look for Riley and his staff to get the ball to Pierson-El in a variety of ways.


S Ibraheim Campbell

Round 4 (115), Cleveland Browns
Possibilities: Sophomore Godwin Igwebuike (6-0, 200), who started five games last season, almost certainly will move into Campbell's vacated starting spot. Igwebuike has good size and can run, and should be the standout in what has the potential to be a solid secondary.

QB Trevor Siemian

Round 7 (250), Denver Broncos
Possibilities: It's a three-man race with senior Zack Oliver (who started the season finale when Siemian was injured), sophomore Matt Alviti and redshirt freshman Clayton Thorson. (Thorson's dad, Chad, was a linebacker for one season with the New York Giants in the 1990s.) Oliver doesn't have the upside of either Alviti or Thorson, but he is a senior and Northwestern opens the 2015 season with Stanford.


WR Devin Smith

Round 2 (37), New York Jets
Possibilities: The Buckeyes are going from one Smith to another. Senior Corey Smith (6-1, 195), a former JC transfer, is expected to be the Buckeyes' top deep threat. Smith had a huge spring game (six receptions 174 yards, two TDs) but was inconsistent during spring practice. If he develops some consistency, there's no reason he can't lead the Buckeyes in receptions.

TE Jeff Heuerman

Round 3 (92), Denver Broncos
Possibilities: Senior Nick Vannett (6-6, 260) caught 17 passes in his first two seasons with the Buckeyes, then surpassed that total with 19 receptions (and five TDs) last season. Vannett saw extra time because of an injury to Heuerman last season, and he has the talent to contend for All-Big Ten honors.

CB Doran Grant

Round 4 (121), Pittsburgh Steelers
Possibilities: Sophomore Gareon Conley (6-0, 195) started one game last season, but will be counted on as a full-time starter this season. Conley had a strong spring. The Buckeyes don't have any cornerbacks that are upperclassmen.

DT Michael Bennett

Round 6 (180), Jacksonville Jaguars
Possibilities: Senior Tommy Schutt (6-3, 290) has been a valuable reserve the past two seasons and ascends to a starting role in his final go-round with the Buckeyes, who should have one of the best defensive lines in the nation again. Schutt isn't as quick or as disruptive as Bennett, but he should be solid against the run.

WR Evan Spencer

Round 6 (187), Washington Redskins
Possibilities: Spencer was Ohio State's "other" receiver last season, when he toiled in Devin Smith's shadow. Sophomore Noah Brown (6-2, 222) will take Spencer's starting job, but shouldn't be in the shadows. Brown had a strong spring and received a lot of acclaim from Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer. Brown can play all three of Ohio State's receiver positions.


OT Donovan Smith

Round 2 (34), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Possibilities: Penn State rarely goes the junior college route, but the Nittany Lions did so with Paris Palmer, who went through spring practice and is projected to take over for Smith at left tackle. Palmer (6-7, 278), a North Carolina native, was considered a consensus national top-15 JC prospect out of Lackawanna CC in Scranton, Pa.

SS Adrian Amos

Round 5 (142), Chicago Bears
Possibilities: Amos played corner before moving to safety. Now, senior Jordan Lucas (6-0, 199) is making the same move and will replace Amos in the starting lineup. Lucas was a two-year starter at corner, and should team with sophomore Marcus Allen (6-2, 206) to give the Nittany Lions one of the best safety duos in the Big Ten.

TE Jesse James

Round 5 (160), Pittsburgh Steelers
Possibilities: Senior Kyle Carter (6-3, 240) looked like a future star after catching 36 passes as a redshirt freshman in 2012. But he has had just 34 receptions in the past two seasons combined. Still, he has good hands and the ability to get deep, and needs to be a bigger part of the passing attack this season. He will be used as an H-back of sorts, too. Penn State also has sophomore Mike Gesicki (6-6, 255) to play the "traditional" tight end role; he had a good spring.


DE Ryan Russell

Round 5 (163), Dallas Cowboys
Possibilities: Purdue lost both starting defensive ends, and junior Evan Panfil (6-5, 262) and sophomore Gelen Robinson (6-1, 250) will go into fall camp as the projected starters. Coach Darrell Hazell was a bit disappointed by the ends' spring performance. The hope is that Robinson -- whose dad, Glenn, was a Purdue basketball star and a No. 1 draft choice in the NBA -- develops into a pass-rush force; he had two sacks last season as a true freshman. Panfil is more of an edge-setting end.


TE Tyler Kroft

Round 3 (85), Cincinnati Bengals
Possibilities: Junior Nick Arcidiacono (6-5, 235) and sophomore Matt Flanagan (6-6, 230) will vie for the starting job in fall camp. They combined for two receptions last season.

FB Michael Burton

Round 5 (168), Detroit Lions
Possibilities: Sam Bergen (6-0, 235) was granted a sixth season of eligibility because of his injury history, and he was atop the depth chart at fullback after spring drills. Bergen should get the first touch of his college career this season; most of his time has been spent on special teams.


RB Melvin Gordon

Round 1 (15), San Diego Chargers
Possibilities: Junior Corey Clement rushed for 547 yards and seven TDs as a third-teamer as a true freshman in 2013, then 949 yards and nine TDs as the No. 2 tailback last season. This season, the starting job is his, and while he will share carries, Clement (5-11, 217) still will have a good shot to lead the Big Ten in rushing.

OT Rob Havenstein

Round 2 (57), St. Louis Rams
Possibilities: Sophomore Hayden Biegel (6-6, 303) -- whose older brother, Vince, is a starting linebacker for the Badgers and a potential All-Big Ten performer -- will look to replace Havenstein. Biegel saw action in six games last season. Wisconsin's line could be an issue this season because of inexperience and a lack of depth. As usual, though, the starters are large human beings.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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