In preparation for the 2014 NFL Draft, NFLDraftScout.com will profile the top draft-eligible prospects from FBS-level programs. This summer series will run until the start of the college football season.
NFL Draft picks the last five years: 10
2013 NFL Draft picks: 1 -- WR Kevin Dorsey (Green Bay Packers, 7th round)
The Maryland football program hasn't found much success the past two seasons under coach Randy Edsall, producing just six wins and one draft pick over that span. But with a roster full of underclassmen, the Terps have some young talent developing in College Park, led by true sophomore wide receiver Stefon Diggs.
However, the 2013 season projects as another rebuilding year for Maryland with below average senior talent on the depth chart. Diggs will be a draft pick down the road, but overall Maryland isn't expected to be well represented in the 2014 NFL Draft class. The Terps' best chance to produce a draft pick next April might be their cornerback tandem, who helped Maryland finished third in the ACC last season in pass defense.
Top Maryland prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft
1. CB Jeremiah Johnson (5-11, 185, 4.54)*
With defensive stars like Joe Vellano and Demetrius Hartsfield no longer at Maryland, the Terps are looking for leaders on defense. Although Johnson is just a junior, he's ready to take over that role as one of the top players and NFL prospects on the roster. He had just five career tackles entering last year but had a breakout sophomore season with a team-best eight passes defended and cemented himself as the leader of the secondary. Johnson lacks elite size or speed, but he stands out with his ball awareness and ability to put himself in the right position to cover his responsibilities. He works hard on and off the field and has drawn praise from the coaching staff for his preparation habits and desire to improve with each game. Johnson's confidence and tough-minded approach has him on his way to being a legitimate NFL prospect with continued development.
2. CB Dexter McDougle (5-10, 190, 4.54)
On the other side of Johnson is McDougle, one of the few projected senior starters on defense for the Terrapins. Entering his third year as a starter, he's one of the better tackling defensive backs in the conference, leading Maryland in solo tackles last season with 54 stops. McDougle does a nice job breaking down on the move and striking through his target to wrap and finish. He has room to improve his footwork in man coverage, struggling to win after taking false steps or getting caught out of position with his overaggressive demeanor. McDougle needs to improve his reliability on an island, but his willingness in run support and ability to help on special teams coverage helps his pro chances.
3. OLB Matt Robinson (6-3, 230, 4.64)*
A former defensive back, Robinson is following a similar path as once-promising Maryland prospect Kenny Tate. After lining up at strong safety, the coaching staff moved Robinson to linebacker this past spring with his combination of size and athleticism, but he has struggled with shoulder injuries the past two seasons. In 2011 as a sophomore, Robinson played three games before undergoing season-ending surgery on his right shoulder. He returned this past season, but a torn labrum in his left shoulder kept him on the sidelines for most of the season and he finished with just 26 tackles and one interception. Robinson has only played safety at Maryland, but he is tprojected as the starting strong-side linebacker for the 2013 season and the coaches rave about the junior's potential due to his physical skills and football smarts.
Other Maryland prospects worth watching:
OLB Marcus Whitfield (6-3, 245, 4.62)
The projected weak-side starting linebacker, Whitfield has been a reserve most of his career, but he will get his chance to shine in 2013.
QB C.J. Brown (6-3, 220, 4.60)
After missing all of 2012 due to a torn ACL, Brown has returned healthy and was named the 2013 starter after spring practice.
OT Nick Klemm (6-5, 300)
Despite his struggles at left tackle last season, Klemm is penciled-in as the Terrapins' starting right tackle for 2013.
FB Tyler Cierski (6-0, 255, 4.74)*
Despite only seven carries and one catch in his career, Cierski is considered a key component on offense due to his blocking.