I feel bad for any quarterback that had to play in the MAC last season.
Chances are, they were sacked by at least one of the guys on this list. Four of the 10 here are defensive linemen, and they are arguably the top four NFL Draft prospects from the conference this season.
Still, there are plenty of other guys who will be waiting for their names to be called from that stage in Kansas City next week.
Here are the top 10 prospects from the MAC in this year’s Draft.
CB Nic Jones, Ball State
Jones carried the momentum from his impressive 2022 campaign into the spring and showed out in both the East-West Shrine Bowl and at Ball State’s Pro Day. A guy who thrives in press coverage, Jones has the frame to add some bulk to compete with bigger WRs in the league. He’s currently projected to be a Day 3 pick, but projections for which round vary.
DL Karl Brooks, Bowling Green
There’s no doubt Brooks is high on a lot of teams’ boards. The 6-foot-3, 303-pound disrupter finished the season with 18 TFLs and 10 sacks. He also added four pass breakups and two forced fumbles. For Brooks, it’s not if he’ll make an impact in the NFL, it’s where.
TE Christian Sims, Bowling Green
Sims may go undrafted, but he’ll be a guy that teams are after as a free agent. Sims was tabbed Second Team All-Conference after a First Team selection in 2021. He’s a big target at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, and he also has the speed and athleticism to get out in space. He could be a nice red-zone weapon.
EDGE Thomas Incoom, CMU
If there’s one thing that stands out about Incoom, it’s his quickness and his speed off the line. He stood out at the NFL Combine and reassured scouts and GMs that he belongs in the league. He shouldn’t have much trouble adding to his successful career.
RB Lew Nichols III, CMU
Nicols led the country in 2021 with 1,848 rushing yards but only played in nine games last season. He is a hard-nosed running back that could earn a roster spot just from his grit:
Look for Nichols to be drafted late in the third round by a team that needs some RB depth like the Broncos or the Bengals.
EDGE Jose Ramirez, Eastern Michigan
Ramirez’s 12 sacks and 19.5 TFLs last season earned him First Team All-MAC honors and solidified him as one of the best edge rushers in the country. The sacks ranked second in the nation. Ramirez proved his season was no fluke and was dominant at the Shrine Bowl, raising his stock and earning some more money.
G Sidy Sow, Eastern Michigan
Following his showing at the Combine, Sow has drawn more and more interest. Sow has great athleticism to match his size and plenty of college experience, starting in a school-record 54 games. He has the potential to develop into a long-time player in the NFL.
S Nico Bolden, Kent State
With his 6-foot-3, 213-pound frame, Bolden is a big safety that isn’t afraid to lay the wood. This allowed Kent State to utilize him in run support much more often than nearly any safety would be. He paced the team with 103 tackles last season. Bolden could go undrafted, but there will be teams interested in picking him up and finding ways to utilize his versatility.
EDGE Desjuan Johnson, Toledo
There isn’t anybody on this list and perhaps no other prospect across the country that has seen their stock rise as much as Johnson’s has in the last month. An excellent Shrine Bowl week helped spark this intrigue. Once likely to go undrafted, Johnson will probably be an early Day 3 pick.
LB Zaire Barnes, Western Michigan
It’s hard to find a linebacker that has as good ball skills as Barnes. Not only did he lead the Broncos in tackles in 2021 and 2022, but his nine pass breakups last season were tied for the most on the team. He’s involved in every play:
Barnes could work on cleaning up his overall technique but is an interesting prospect.