Building momentum up to draft day is one of the key ingredients savvy agents and talented players often use to earn high selections. Though NFL teams have been tirelessly working on their draft boards over the past month, several players each year often get "bumped" at the last minute due to impressive workouts, interviews or just creating a general "buzz."
As we tightened our rankings in preparation for the profiles and rankings update available in our new PDF Draft Guide (available for download here ), I noticed that five players kept being mentioned by league sources as players moving up the board.
These five players I've listed below:
Quarterback Tim Tebow, Florida: You've heard or read the talk everywhere about his rising up draft boards and my sources are confirming the same thing. Tebow is dazzling coaches in interviews, leading some scouts -- who try to show coaches Tebow's flawed film -- frustrated with how quickly and high the former Heisman winner is being moved up the board. According to sources, Tebow is a virtual lock to be off the board by the mid second round and is gaining momentum as a late first round pick.
Defensive Tackle Linval Joseph, East Carolina: Overshadowed a bit at ECU by DE CJ Wilson and DT Jay Ross, Joseph is the one that has the most interesting blend of NFL size (6-5, 328) and athleticism. Scouts would like to see him put it all together and be a more consistent player, but his tools have some clubs talking about him as a potential 2nd round prospect.
Cornerback Alterran Verner, UCLA: Verner can thank gutty, undersized corners like Christopher Owens (3rd round pick by Atlanta in 2009) for his rise up the board. Like Owens, Verner isn't a blazer, but he's highly competitive and has been a consistent standout throughout his career. Scouts are characterizing him as one of the safer cornerbacks in the class and feel that he could earn a similar selection as Owens, who started six games for the Falcons as a rookie.
Cornerback Myron Lewis, Vanderbilt: Following his solid Pro Day performance March 20, I touted Lewis as one of the more underrated defensive backs in the 2010 draft and scouts are telling me that we're still ranking him too low. Lewis starred at cornerback for the Commodores and some teams believe he has the agility to remain at this position in the NFL despite measuring in at 6-2, 203 pounds. We currently have Lewis rated as a free safety and a 4th-5th round pick, but I've spoken to clubs that feel he'll be off the board in the 3rd.
FS Robert Johnson, Utah: Despite not getting invited to the Combine, Johnson is one of the fastest rising names in the draft. He measured in heavier than scouts expected at his Pro Day (6-2, 203 pounds) and turned in blazing times in the short shuttle and 3-cone drills. In fact, his 4.06 second short shuttle and 6.56 second 3-cone times were faster than those recorded by any safety in Indianapolis. A natural ballhawk with 13 interceptions over the past three seasons, Johnson has visited or been privately worked out by a half-dozen teams.