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Tag:NFL Draft
Posted on: June 30, 2011 5:27 pm
 

If Criner can't play, other Wildcats will suffer

Arizona's Juron Criner, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 7-rated senior wide receiver, reportedly has an undisclosed medical issue that could put his 2011 season in jeopardy. It was first reported by The Arizona Republic, and could have a domino effect on multiple Wildcats who have their eyes set on the 2012 NFL Draft.

Criner considered leaving school a year earlier after catching 82 passes for 1,233 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior, often playing through nagging injuries. He's a deep threat who can rack up yards after the catch. The Republic contacted the Arizona sports information office regarding Criner, which said “We are unable to comment,” citing student privacy guidelines.

If Criner indeed is sidelined next season, it will also have a major impact on Nick Foles, NDS' fifth-rated senior quarterback who needs a very strong campaign to help boost his stock with a strong influx of junior quarterbacks expected to be available next spring - including Andrew Luck, Landry Jones and Matt Barkley.

It also wouldn't do any favors to the draft stock of running back Keola Antolin, NDS' No. 33-rated senior running back who benefits from Criner's ability to stretch the defense.

--Derek Harper, NFLDraftScout.com Executive Editor
Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:02 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 2:17 pm
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Posted on: June 17, 2011 4:28 pm
 

Gophers' leading rusher Eskridge to transfer

DeLeon Eskridge, who led the Minnesota Gophers with 698 rushing yards and seven touchdowns last season, has decided to transfer to a school closer to his home in San Francisco to deal with a personal situation, according to The Star Tribune. He has been granted a release by the school

Where Eskridge will transfer to is not yet known, but it's certainly a hit to the stock of NFLDraftScout.com's No. 30-rated running back in the 2012 class.  A 5-feet-11 and 205 pounds, Edkridge is believed to run the 40-yard dash in the high-4.4-second range.

"He and I both felt it was in his best interest to make this decision," coach Jerry Kill said.

However, he leaves a crowded backfield that includes senior Duane Bennett (529 rushing yards, three TDs in 2010) and redshirt freshmen Donnell Kirkwood (107 rushing yards in '10 before a season-ending leg injury), LaMonte Edwards and Devon Wright.

The school also announced that backup tight end Tiree Eure will leave the team.  

--Derek Harper, NFLDraftScout.com Executive Editor
Posted on: June 2, 2011 8:50 pm
 

UConn WR Smith academically ineligible

New UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoni confirmed that senior wide receiver Mike Smith is academically ineligible to play in 2011. Although Smith led the Huskies with 46 catches for 615 yards and two touchdowns last season, don't expect him to throw his name into the hat for the NFL supplemental draft - which is likely to be held in July.

Smith is not currently rated among the draftable wide receiver prospects for 2012 by NFLDraftScout.com. The 13-game starter in 2010 is 6-feet-2 and 202 pounds, and can consider 2011 a redshirt season since he played as a true freshman. The Houston native is expected to stick around the Huskies' program.

"Michael will be, obviously in the program," Pasqualoni said, per The Hartford Courant. "He will be in practice each day. He just will not participate in games.

"I do think this is a year that he can use to improve himself all the way around and then still have a final year of eligibility.

--Derek Harper, NFLDraftScout.com executive editor
Posted on: April 30, 2011 10:18 am
 

With bigs drying up, expect runs at CB, WR, RB

The first three rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft was littered with the "big uglies" from the offensive and defensive lines.

There were 42 players who played on the offensive and defensive lines in college, in fact, that were among the first 97 prospects selected, a historically disproportionate number.

The talent is quickly running dry among offensive linemen and at defensive line, as one high-ranking scout put it last night, the "cupboard is pretty bare, at this point."

There, is however, a lot of intriguing talent still available at the more athletic positions of cornerback, wide receiver and running back.

The best part for NFL teams is that there remains a great variety of prospects at these positions -- ones who fit each scheme.

Chad Reuter, my fellow Senior Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com has highlighted these and the best available prospects at each position here.

Here are my favorites for each of the favored schemes run by NFL teams, starting with the Offense.

Running backs:

Potential "feature" backs: Bilal Powell, Louisville; Johnny White, North Carolina

Big play specialists: Taiwan Jones, Eastern Washington; Jordan Todman, Connecticut; Roy Helu, Nebraska

Best Hands: Jamie Harper, Clemson; Mario Fannin, Auburn; Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State

Short yardage specialists: Anthony Allen, Georgia Tech; Allen Bradford, USC; Evan Royster, Penn State

Diamond in the Rough: Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State

Wide Receivers:

Possession receivers: Greg Salas, Hawaii; Niles Paul, Nebraska; Tandon Doss, Indiana; Armon Binns, Cincinnati

Big Play specialists: Edmond Gates, Abilene Christian; Denaryius Moore; Jeremy Kerley, TCU

Diamond in the Rough: Cecil Shorts III, Mount Union

Cornerbacks:

Press cornerbacks: Davon House, New Mexico State; Jalil Brown, Colorado; Brandon Burton, Utah

Zone cornerbacks: Chimdi Chekwa, Ohio State; Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech; Kendric Burney, North Carolina

Diamond in the Rough: Buster Skrine, Tenn-Chattanooga; Cortez Allen, Citadel; Ryan Jones, Northwest Missouri State


Posted on: April 30, 2011 4:03 am
 

Best Available By Position

Scouts will tell you they earn their money on the final day of the draft.

Sometimes it's less about finding that small-school gem or underutilized player from a larger program and more about taking chances on talented players with character, injury or consistency issues.

The Buccaneers found a fourth-round bargain last year in receiver Mike Williams, as did New England in tight end Aaron Hernandez, both of whom had second-round talent but fell because of character concerns.

Iowa's Christian Ballard may be the best available talent on the board due to a positive drug test at the scouting combine and inconsistent play on the field, while injury issues took Eastern Washington speed back Taiwan Jones (always seemingly nicked up) and Indiana teammates tackle James Brewer (foot) and receiver Tandon Doss (groins) out of the running for the top 97 selections.

Building depth through the late rounds is what allows teams to survive injuries to the starters picked in the top 100 over the last handful of drafts. Along with Williams and Hernandez, 10n other fourth-to-seventh round picks started at least half of his team's games in 2010, and many others look as though they will be contributors for quite some time.

The "best of the rest" still waiting to hear their names called at the Radio City Music Hall lectern are listed below by position. Each position is given a grade based on the talent available to teams as they make their decisions on whom to take a chance on late in the proceedings.

Quarterbacks
Grade: Above-Average

It was expected that Iowa's Ricky Stanzi would be the eighth quarterback selected in this draft, but most thought he would hear his name called in the third round. Though his arm strength is average and decision-making is questionable, he has enough size, athleticism and upside to be taken fairly early Saturday. Look for a lot of quarterbacks to be picked in the late rounds, both because there are a lot of intriguing late-round finds available this year and because teams will not be able to sign them to free agent contracts after the draft as in years past because of the lockout.

1. Ricky Stanzi (Iowa) 6-4/223/4.87/4
2. Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech) 6-1/217/4.47/4-5
3. Greg McElroy (Alabama) 6-2/220/4.84/5
4. Pat Devlin (Delaware) 6-3/225/4.81/5-6
5. T.J. Yates (North Carolina) 6-3/219/5.06/6
6. Adam Froman (Louisville) 6-4/220/4.56/6-7
7. Nathan Enderle (Idaho) 6-4/240/5.12/6-7
8. Taylor Potts (Texas Tech) 6-4/218/5.00/6-7
9. Josh Portis (California (PA)) 6-3/211/4.59/7
10. Scott Tolzien (Wisconsin) 6-2/212/4.92/7
11. Adam Weber (Minnesota) 6-1/209/4.73/7
12. Jerrod Johnson (Texas A&M) 6-5/251/4.75/7

Running Backs
Grade: Above-Average

The depth of this year's class of running backs, primarily due to a dozen draftable underclassmen, will be felt on Saturday. It would not have been surprising if three of the backs listed below would have been picked in the third round, but teams knew there was enough talent available in the later rounds that they could attack other roster holes in the top 97 selections. A couple of starters and several regular contributors will come out of the group listed below.

1. Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State) 5-07/199/4.46/4
2. *Taiwan Jones (Eastern Washington) 6-0/196/4.35/4
3. *Jordan Todman (Connecticut) 5-09/203/4.40/4-5
4. Bilal Powell (Louisville) 5-11/207/4.54/4-5
5. *Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State) 5-06/196/4.59/4-5
6. Delone Carter (Syracuse) 5-09/222/4.54/5
7. Roy Helu (Nebraska) 6-0/219/4.40/5
8. *Jamie Harper (Clemson) 5-11/233/4.53/5-6
9. *Dion Lewis (Pittsburgh) 5-07/193/4.56/5-6
10. Johnny White (North Carolina) 5-10/209/4.50/6
11. Derrick Locke (Kentucky) 5-08/188/4.37/6-7
12. Da'Rel Scott (Maryland) 5-11/211/4.40/6-7
13. Evan Royster (Penn State) 6-0/212/4.65/7
14. Anthony Allen (Georgia Tech) 6-1/228/4.56/7
15. Noel Devine (West Virginia) 5-08/179/4.45/7
16. Mario Fannin (Auburn) 5-10/231/4.37/7
17. Allen Bradford (Southern Cal) 5-11/242/4.53/7
18. Damien Berry (Miami) 5-10/211/4.58/7
19. Chad Spann (Northern Illinois) 5-08/201/4.52/7
20. Brandon Saine (Ohio State) 5-11/220/4.40/7

Fullbacks
Grade: Average

Owen Marecic, Henry Hynoski and Shaun Chapas are the true fullbacks in this draft, but Clay and Havili might have the best chance of being drafted early because of their versatility. NFL fullbacks need to be receivers and runners more than blow-up blockers in most systems, and both of those players have those type of skills.

1. Charles Clay (Tulsa) 6-3/245/4.69/4
2. Stanley Havili (Southern Cal) 6-0/227/4.64/4-5
3. Owen Marecic (Stanford) 6-1/248/4.87/5
4. Anthony Sherman (Connecticut) 5-10/242/4.74/5-6
5. *Henry Hynoski (Pittsburgh) 6-0/257/5.06/6-7
6. Shaun Chapas (Georgia) 6-2/247/4.87/7
7. Preston Dial (Alabama) 6-2/238/4.83/7

Wide Receivers
Grade: Above-Average

A late run at the cornerback position crowded out talented players like Edmond Gates, Greg Salas and Denarius Moore, while mediocre senior seasons hurt Niles Paul, Dwayne Harris, Terrance Toliver and Ronald Johnson. Tandon Doss' groin injuries concerned scouts, as well. But in the fourth, fifth or sixth round, teams will find a slew of future No. 2 and 3 receivers that help build depth. Returners like Paul, Harris, Jeremy Kerley and Cecil Shorts have a chance to make an impact on special teams while they learn the intricacies of the NFL passing game.

1. Edmond Gates (Abilene Christian) 6-0/192/4.31/4
2. Greg Salas (Hawaii) 6-1/210/4.53/4
3. *Tandon Doss (Indiana) 6-2/201/4.62/4
4. Denarius Moore (Tennessee) 6-0/194/4.43/4-5
5. Niles Paul (Nebraska) 6-1/224/4.45/4-5
6. Dwayne Harris (East Carolina) 5-10/203/4.53/5
7. Jeremy Kerley (TCU) 5-10/189/4.56/5
8. Terrance Toliver (LSU) 6-4/212/4.52/5-6
9. Ronald Johnson (Southern Cal) 5-11/199/4.46/5-6
10. Dane Sanzenbacher (Ohio State) 5-11/182/4.56/5-6
11. Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union) 6-0/205/4.50/6
12. Stephen Burton (West Texas AM) 6-1/221/4.50/6
13. Ryan Whalen (Stanford) 6-1/202/4.53/6
14. *Darvin Adams (Auburn) 6-2/190/4.56/6-7
15. Ricardo Lockette (Fort Valley State) 6-2/211/4.34/6-7
16. Jeff Maehl (Oregon) 6-1/190/4.56/6-7
17. Aldrick Robinson (Southern Methodist) 5-10/184/4.35/6-7
18. Andre Holmes (Hillsdale) 6-4/210/4.51/6-7
19. Armon Binns (Cincinnati) 6-3/209/4.50/7
20. Kris Durham (Georgia) 6-5/216/4.46/7
21. Demario Ballard (Western Oregon) 6-6/219/4.50/7
22. Courtney Smith (South Alabama) 6-4/223/4.65/7
23. Chris Matthews (Kentucky) 6-5/218/4.57/7
24. Marshall Williams (Wake Forest) 6-1/188/4.56/7
25. Lestar Jean (Florida Atlantic) 6-3/215/4.61/7
26. Jimmy Young (TCU) 6-0/204/4.50/7
27. Jock Sanders (West Virginia) 5-06/181/4.50/7
28. *DeAndre Brown (Southern Miss) 6-6/233/4.59/7
29. Kealoha Pilares (Hawaii) 5-10/199/4.42/7

Tight Ends
Grade: Below-Average

Scouts considered this one of the weaker tight end classes in recent memory, and the fact only two went in the top 97 picks (Notre Dame's Kyle Rudolph and Wisconsin's Lance Kendricks) backed up that claim. I believe two of the top four still on the board will make major contributions as rookies.

1. Luke Stocker (Tennessee) 6-5/258/4.68/4
2. Jordan Cameron (Southern Cal) 6-5/254/4.53/4
3. D.J. Williams (Arkansas) 6-2/245/4.59/4-5
4. Virgil Green (Nevada) 6-3/249/4.54/5
5. Julius Thomas (Portland State) 6-5/246/4.64/5-6
6. Andre Smith (Virginia Tech) 6-4/270/4.80/6
7. Lee Smith (Marshall) 6-6/266/4.94/6
8. Schuylar Oordt (Northern Iowa) 6-6/261/4.63/6-7
9. Collin Franklin (Iowa State) 6-6/256/4.72/7
10. Weslye Saunders (South Carolina) 6-5/267/4.96/7
11. Zach Pianalto (North Carolina) 6-3/256/4.78/7
12. Daniel Hardy (Idaho) 6-4/249/4.78/7
13. Ryan Taylor (North Carolina) 6-4/254/4.79/7

Offensive Tackles
Grades: Below-Average

It was clear from the start of the all-star season that teams looking for an immediate starter at tackle needed to jump on them in the top 40 picks. Even the four tackles picked in the second and third round have significant issues, and may not have been top 100 picks in deeper drafts. Derek Newton and Byron Stingly have some upside, however, as do small-schoolers David Mims, Johnny Culbreath and Trevis Turner; two of those talented but raw prospects will be thrown into the mix as rookies, just like 2010 seventh-round right tackle J'Marcus Webb was for the Bears last fall.

1. Jason Pinkston (Pittsburgh) 6-3/317/5.39/4
2. James Brewer (Indiana) 6-6/323/5.21/4
3. Lee Ziemba (Auburn) 6-6/317/5.50/4-5
4. DeMarcus Love (Arkansas) 6-4/315/5.18/5
5. Derek Newton (Arkansas State) 6-5/311/5.00/5
6. Byron Stingily (Louisville) 6-5/313/4.96/5-6
7. Marcus Cannon (TCU) 6-5/358/5.26/5-6
8. Chris Hairston (Clemson) 6-6/326/5.38/6
9. Derek Hall (Stanford) 6-4/308/5.56/6-7
10. David Mims (Virginia Union) 6-8/331/5.35/6-7
11. Willie Smith (East Carolina) 6-5/310/5.40/7
12. D.J. Young (Michigan State) 6-5/307/5.18/7
13. Johnny Culbreath (South Carolina State) 6-5/322/5.04/7
14. Byron Bell (New Mexico) 6-5/339/5.40/7
15. Trevis Turner (Abilene Christian) 6-7/333/5.40/7
16. Kevin Hughes (Southeast Louisiana) 6-4/302/5.31/7
17. Josh Davis (Georgia) 6-7/313/5.50/7

Offensive Guards
Grade: Average

Clint Boling and Stephen Schilling both have the talent to be long-time NFL players, but lacked the athleticism and consistent tape to be considered top 100 caliber at a position where teams find a lot of starters in the middle rounds. Expect those two, along with two or three others, to receive significant playing time in 2011 and beyond.

1. Clint Boling (Georgia) 6-5/308/5.28/4
2. Stephen Schilling (Michigan) 6-4/308/5.18/4-5
3. David Arkin (Missouri State) 6-5/300/5.31/5
4. Zach Hurd (Connecticut) 6-7/316/5.28/5-6
5. Andrew Jackson (Fresno State) 6-5/299/5.27/6
6. Keith Williams (Nebraska) 6-4/318/5.28/6-7
7. Maurice Hurt (Florida) 6-3/318/5.39/6-7
8. Ray Dominguez (Arkansas) 6-4/334/5.45/7
9. Caleb Schlauderaff (Utah) 6-4/305/5.18/7
10. Daniel Kilgore (Appalachian State) 6-3/308/5.28/7
11. Justin Boren (Ohio State) 6-3/309/5.40/7
12. Julian Vandervelde (Iowa) 6-2/301/5.12/7

Centers
Grade: Average

No one expected more than a couple of pivot men (Florida's Mike Pouncey, Penn State's Stefen Wisniewski) to be picked Thursday or Friday night. There are a couple of future starters in this group, however, because of their toughness or athleticism inside.

1. Kris O'Dowd (Southern Cal) 6-4/304/5.12/4
2. Brandon Fusco (Slippery Rock) 6-4/306/5.18/4-5
3. Jason Kelce (Cincinnati) 6-3/280/4.89/5-6
4. Zane Taylor (Utah) 6-3/309/5.52/6
5. Tim Barnes (Missouri) 6-4/300/5.17/6-7
6. Jake Kirkpatrick (TCU) 6-2/300/5.32/6-7
7. Alex Linnenkohl (Oregon State) 6-2/304/5.36/7
8. Zach Williams (Washington State) 6-3/309/5.18/7
9. Ryan Bartholomew (Syracuse) 6-1/302/4.93/7
10. Kevin Kowalski (Toledo) 6-3/300/5.05/7

Defensive Ends
Grade: Below-Average

Ballard's positive drug test and inconsistent film caused him to drop out of the top 100 despite his excellent athleticism and potential. He could be a Ray Edwards-type steal in the fourth round for a team willing to take a reasonable chance on his talent. The rest of this group looks like two-down players or wave pass rushers, even if some (Ugo Chinasa, Eddie Jones, Cheta Ozougwu) end up moving to linebacker.

1. Christian Ballard (Iowa) 6-4/283/4.75/4
2. Pernell McPhee (Mississippi State) 6-3/278/4.91/4
3. Pierre Allen (Nebraska) 6-4/273/4.78/4
4. Greg Romeus (Pittsburgh) 6-5/264/4.79/4-5
5. Ugo Chinasa (Oklahoma State) 6-5/264/4.63/4-5
6. Cliff Matthews (South Carolina) 6-4/257/4.81/5
7. Brandon Bair (Oregon) 6-6/276/4.92/5-6
8. Ricky Elmore (Arizona) 6-5/255/4.88/6
9. Jeremy Beal (Oklahoma) 6-2/262/5.14/6-7
10. Markus White (Florida State) 6-4/266/4.86/6-7
11. Eddie Jones (Texas) 6-2/258/4.75/7
12. Ryan Winterswyk (Boise State) 6-4/268/4.96/7
13. Lazarius Levingston (LSU) 6-4/292/4.93/7
14. Cheta Ozougwu (Rice) 6-2/247/4.84/7
15. Marc Schiechl (Colorado School of Mines) 6-2/252/4.67/7

Defensive Tackles
Grade: Above-Average

The strength of this group early on allowed some talented players to fall into the fourth round. Jerrell Powe and Ian Williams shouldn't last long on the board because they are very intriguing nose tackle prospects, while Cedric Thornton, Lawrence Guy and Martin Parker will make their impact as pass rushers in the right system. Chris Neild, Sealver Siliga and Anthony Gray will play as rookies on the nose, making this as strong a group as you could expect to see on a draft Saturday.

1. Jerrell Powe (Mississippi) 6-2/335/5.25/4
2. Ian Williams (Notre Dame) 6-1/319/5.21/4
3. Cedric Thornton (Southern Arkansas) 6-3/309/5.25/4-5
4. *Lawrence Guy (Arizona State) 6-4/305/4.96/5
5. Martin Parker (Richmond) 6-2/303/4.95/5
8. Chris Neild (West Virginia) 6-2/319/5.06/5-6
6. Ollie Ogbu (Penn State) 6-1/298/4.85/6
7. David Carter (UCLA) 6-5/297/5.05/6
9. *Sealver Siliga (Utah) 6-2/305/5.38/6-7
10. Corbin Bryant (Northwestern) 6-3/297/5.10/7
11. Anthony Gray (Southern Miss) 5-11/330/5.18/7
12. John Graves (Virginia Tech) 6-3/286/5.09/7
13. Zach Clayton (Auburn) 6-2/299/4.85/7

Inside Linebackers
Grade: Below-Average

The fact that late risers like Georgia's Akeem Dent and North Carolina State's Nate Irving went higher than expected Friday night, in addition to some teams projecting many of these players as outside 'backers, makes it clear how weak this class really is. Colin McCarthy, Quin Sturdivant, Greg Jones and Jeff Tarpinian all have a chance to stay inside at the next level in a Tampa-2 or similar system where size is less important than speed to handle coverage in the middle of the field. Teams looking for a 4-3 thumper won't find much here from which to choose.

1. Colin McCarthy (Miami) 6-1/238/4.59/4
2. Quan Sturdivant (North Carolina) 6-1/241/4.63/4
3. Casey Matthews (Oregon) 6-1/231/4.79/4-5
4. Greg Jones (Michigan State) 6-0/242/4.75/4-5
5. Chris White (Mississippi State) 6-3/240/4.74/5
6. Mario Harvey (Marshall) 5-11/257/4.46/5-6
7. Mike Mohamed (California) 6-3/239/4.65/6
8. Jeff Tarpinian (Iowa) 6-2/235/4.56/6-7
9. Josh Bynes (Auburn) 6-1/240/4.80/7
10. Nick Bellore (Central Michigan) 6-1/245/4.84/7

Outside Linebackers
Grade: Average

Though the linebacker class in general is below average, the fact that potential 3-4 rush 'backers Sam Acho and Chris Carter are still on the board makes this section of the draft at least average at the top. K.J. Wright could fit inside or outside in the 3-4, while Ross Homan, Lawrence Wilson and Brian Rolle are all chasers who also have a chance to start if the opportunity arises due to their athleticism and instincts. With late-round finds Adrian Moten, Jabara Williams, Markell Carter and D.J. Smith available, there could be some surprises popping up from this list within a couple of years.

1. Sam Acho (Texas) 6-2/262/4.67/4
2. K.J. Wright (Mississippi State) 6-3/246/4.75/4
3. Chris Carter (Fresno State) 6-1/248/4.58/4
4. Ross Homan (Ohio State) 6-1/240/4.66/4-5
5. Lawrence Wilson (Connecticut) 6-1/229/4.71/5
6. Brian Rolle (Ohio State) 5-10/229/4.53/5
7. Adrian Moten (Maryland) 6-2/228/4.53/5-6
8. Doug Hogue (Syracuse) 6-3/235/4.62/5-6
9. Mark Herzlich (Boston College) 6-4/244/4.91/5-6
10. J.T. Thomas (West Virginia) 6-1/241/4.65/6
11. Jabara Williams (Stephen F Austin) 6-2/228/4.60/6-7
12. Jeremiha Hunter (Iowa) 6-1/239/4.77/6-7
13. Markell Carter (Central Arkansas) 6-4/252/4.76/6-7
14. Bruce Miller (Central Florida) 6-1/254/4.81/7
15. Scott Lutrus (Connecticut) 6-2/241/4.68/7
16. *Thomas Keiser (Stanford) 6-3/261/4.87/7
17. Quentin Davie (Northwestern) 6-4/232/4.72/7
18. D.J. Smith (Appalachian State) 5-11/239/4.75/7

Cornerbacks
Grade: Above-Average

The run on cornerbacks late in the third round may continue into the fourth, as the top seven prospects below all have a strong chance to be at least valued nickel backs early in their careers. The rest of the group all has a chance to contribute on special teams, or more, if they can improve their technique, step up their games after coming from small schools or prove they have gotten past maturity issues.

1. Davon House (New Mexico State) 6-1/200/4.44/4
2. Chimdi Chekwa (Ohio State) 6-0/191/4.38/4
3. Jalil Brown (Colorado) 6-1/204/4.52/4
4. *Brandon Burton (Utah) 6-0/190/4.50/4-5
5. Rashad Carmichael (Virginia Tech) 5-10/192/4.53/4-5
6. Brandon Hogan (West Virginia) 5-10/192/4.43/4-5
7. Chykie Brown (Texas) 5-11/190/4.49/5
8. Buster Skrine (Tennessee-Chattanooga) 5-10/186/4.37/5
9. Cortez Allen (Citadel) 6-1/197/4.50/5-6
10. Anthony Gaitor (Florida International) 5-10/177/4.48/5-6
11. Richard Sherman (Stanford) 6-3/195/4.54/6
12. Ryan Jones (Northwest Missouri State) 5-11/198/4.48/6
13. Chris L. Rucker (Michigan State) 6-1/195/4.55/6-7
14. Byron Maxwell (Clemson) 6-0/202/4.43/6-7
15. Kendric Burney (North Carolina) 5-09/186/4.71/7
16. Justin Rogers (Richmond) 5-11/180/4.45/7
17. Josh Thomas (Buffalo) 5-10/191/4.46/7
18. Loyce Means (Houston) 5-10/177/4.47/7

Safeties
Grade: Below-Average

The safety class joins tight ends as being considered the least talented groups in the draft. Tyler Sash and Quinton Carter could have easily gone in the third round, however, and Ahmad Black is one of the more instinctive players in the draft despite his lack of size and speed. Look for at least two of the top eight players listed here to start as rookies in 2011 - because teams often find out some of the players without great physical attributes become leaders in training camp.

1. *Tyler Sash (Iowa) 6-0/211/4.62/4
2. Quinton Carter (Oklahoma) 6-1/208/4.57/4
3. Da'Norris Searcy (North Carolina) 5-11/223/4.55/4
4. Ahmad Black (Florida) 5-10/184/4.70/4
5. DeAndre McDaniel (Clemson) 6-0/217/4.63/4-5
6. *Robert Sands (West Virginia) 6-4/217/4.53/4-5
7. Deunta Williams (North Carolina) 6-2/205/4.53/5
8. *Jerrard Tarrant (Georgia Tech) 6-0/204/4.57/5
9. Jeron Johnson (Boise State) 5-10/212/4.51/5
10. Jermale Hines (Ohio State) 6-1/219/4.61/5-6
11. Joe Lefeged (Rutgers) 6-0/210/4.42/6
12. Shiloh Keo (Idaho) 5-11/219/4.74/6
13. Mark LeGree (Appalachian State) 6-0/210/4.49/6-7
13. Eric Hagg (Nebraska) 6-1/209/4.62/6-7
14. Mistral Raymond (South Florida) 6-1/194/4.62/6-7
15. Chris Prosinski (Wyoming) 6-1/201/4.42/7
16. *Will Hill (Florida) 6-1/202/4.64/7
17. Mana Silva (Hawaii) 6-1/206/4.44/7
18. DeJon Gomes (Nebraska) 6-0/208/4.50/7

Specialists
Grade: Below-Average

The lockout may hurt these players more than anyone, as teams may decide to grab another quarterback or regular position player instead of having to bid against other teams in the free-agent frenzy coming down the pike when football begins in earnest. Alex Henery should be drafted fairly high because of his leg strength and accuracy from distance, but it's possible he could be the only one selected.

1. Alex Henery (Nebraska) 6-2/177/4.87/4-5
2. Kai Forbath (UCLA) 5-11/197/4.78/6-7
3. Chas Henry (Florida) 6-3/219/4.85/6-7
4. Ryan Donahue (Iowa) 6-2/193/4.90/6-7
5. Josh Jasper (LSU) 5-10/174/5.06/7
6. Dan Bailey (Oklahoma State) 6-0/193/4.92/7
7. Jake Rogers (Cincinnati) 6-2/213/5.06/7
8. Danny Aiken (Virginia) 6-5/244/5.09/7
9. Reid Forrest (Washington State) 6-0/189/4.71/7
10. Matt Bosher (Miami) 6-1/208/4.78/7

Chad Reuter is a Senior Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com.

Category: NFL Draft
Tags: NFL, NFL Draft
 
Posted on: April 29, 2011 2:47 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2011 2:48 pm
 

Best Available by Position

NEW YORK - The drama inside Radio City Music Hall was palpable, starting with commissioner Roger Goodell being booed to Cam Newton going No. 1 overall to a slew of trades. But when the NFL moved the first round to primetime Thursday night, it also made a conscious effort to make the second round a "second first round." Excitement was built by bringing in players likely to be selected in the early second round, and celebrities were incorporated into the proceedings.

The fact is many second-round picks outperform late first-round selections. Last year, New York Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson, Indianapolis defensive end Jerry Hughes and New Orleans cornerback Patrick Robinson did not make much of an impact as the 29th, 31st and 32nd picks, respectively, while St. Louis got what it expects to be long-time starter in left tackle Rodger Saffold with the first pick Friday night. Safety T.J. Ward (Cleveland, No. 38), linebacker Koa Misi (Miami, No. 40) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (New England, No. 42) all made significant contributions as rookies.

Friday night's menu also includes the third round. Although fewer Pro Bowl-caliber players are typically unearthed at that point, teams can find surprises that stand out early. Oakland found its future left tackle in small Hillsdale College lineman Jared Veldheer (who also stood in at center in 2010), Atlanta defensive tackle Corey Peters looks to be a bargain pick in the middle of the round, while tight ends Tony Moeaki (Kansas City) and Jimmy Graham (New Orleans) found themselves in great situations early on -- and capitalized in 2010.

There is no doubt teams will find gems like these through the 65 picks to be heard Friday night, and the trade winds could again be active.

The best available players at each position, with comments on particularly interesting prospects (* = denotes underclassman).

Quarterbacks

1. Colin Kaepernick (Nevada) 6-5/233/4.53

2. Andy Dalton (TCU) 6-2/215/4.82

3. *Ryan Mallett (Arkansas) 6-7/253/5.37

   --First-round-caliber arm was not enough to warrant a first-round selection; it won't be shocking if "the wild card," as one GM termed Mallett to NFLDraftScout.com, goes in the early second or falls into the third round.

4. Ricky Stanzi (Iowa) 6-4/223/4.87

 

Running Backs

1. *Mikel Leshoure (Illinois) 6-0/227/4.56

2. *Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech) 5-09/212/4.59

   --Without injury concerns, Williams could have been the top back in this class. Now a team could land a Clinton Portis-type find in the top 50.

3. DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma) 6-0/213/4.37

4. Daniel Thomas (Kansas State) 6-0/230/4.62

5. Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State) 5-07/199/4.46

6. *Shane Vereen (California) 5-10/210/4.49

7. *Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State) 5-06/196/4.59

8. Alex Green (Hawaii) 6-0/225/4.45

9. *Taiwan Jones (Eastern Washington) 6-0/196/4.35

10. *Jordan Todman (Connecticut) 5-09/203/4.40

 

Wide Receivers

1. *Torrey Smith (Maryland) 6-1/204/4.41

  -- There were discussions among scouts about who had the better NFL future between Smith and Jonathan Baldwin, who went 26th overall to Kansas City.

2. *Randall Cobb (Kentucky) 5-10/191/4.46

3. Leonard Hankerson (Miami) 6-2/209/4.40

4. Titus Young (Boise State) 5-11/174/4.43

5. Jerrel Jernigan (Troy) 5-09/185/4.46

6. Edmond Gates (Abilene Christian) 6-0/192/4.31

7. Greg Salas (Hawaii) 6-1/210/4.53

8. *Tandon Doss (Indiana) 6-2/201/4.62

9. Denarius Moore (Tennessee) 6-0/194/4.43

10. Greg Little (North Carolina) 6-3/231/4.51

11. Niles Paul (Nebraska) 6-1/224/4.45

12. Vincent Brown (San Diego State) 5-11/187/4.68

 

Tight Ends

1. *Kyle Rudolph (Notre Dame) 6-6/259/4.83

   --A first-round value, Rudolph's story will be very similar to that of Gronkowski, who recovered from a season-long injury to play a major role in the Patriots' offense as a rookie.

2. Lance Kendricks (Wisconsin) 6-3/243/4.65

3. Luke Stocker (Tennessee) 6-5/258/4.68

4. Jordan Cameron (Southern Cal) 6-5/254/4.53

5. Rob Housler (Florida Atlantic) 6-5/248/4.46

6. D.J. Williams (Arkansas) 6-2/245/4.59

7. Virgil Green (Nevada) 6-3/249/4.54

 

Offensive Tackles

1. Orlando Franklin (Miami) 6-6/316/5.11

2. Marcus Gilbert (Florida) 6-6/330/5.41

3. James Brewer (Indiana) 6-6/323/5.21

4. Jah Reid (Central Florida) 6-7/327/5.32

   -- Could be the only Conference USA representative in the top 100, and may even go in the second round because of the extremely thin depth at the position.

5. Joseph Barksdale (LSU) 6-5/325/5.31

6. Marcus Cannon (TCU) 6-5/358/5.26

7. Jason Pinkston (Pittsburgh) 6-3/317/5.39

 

Interior Offensive Linemen

1. Rodney Hudson (Florida State) 6-2/299/5.27

2. Will Rackley (Lehigh) 6-3/309/5.39

   --Brings toughness and versatility to any team that brings him on.

3. Benjamin Ijalana (Villanova) 6-4/317/5.20

4. John Moffitt (Wisconsin) 6-4/319/5.51

5. Stefen Wisniewski (Penn State) 6-3/313/5.29

6. Clint Boling (Georgia) 6-5/308/5.28

7. Kris O'Dowd (Southern Cal) 6-4/304/5.12

 

Defensive Ends

1. *DaQuan Bowers (Clemson) 6-3/280/4.92

2. Jabaal Sheard (Pittsburgh) 6-3/264/4.68

   -- Teams using 4-3 and 3-4 schemes will value Sheard for his pass-rush skills and strength to hold the edge against the run.

3. Allen Bailey (Miami) 6-3/285/4.71

4. Christian Ballard (Iowa) 6-4/283/4.75

5. Pernell McPhee (Mississippi State) 6-3/278/4.91

6. Pierre Allen (Nebraska) 6-4/273/4.78

7. Greg Romeus (Pittsburgh) 6-5/264/4.79

 

Defensive Tackles

1. Marvin Austin (North Carolina) 6-2/309/4.84

   --Character concerns and less-than-dominating tape kept him out of the first round despite his athleticism.

2. Stephen Paea (Oregon State) 6-1/303/4.98

3. Jarvis Jenkins (Clemson) 6-4/310/5.03

4. Drake Nevis (LSU) 6-1/294/5.06

5. Kenrick Ellis (Hampton) 6-5/346/5.19

6. *Jurrell Casey (Southern Cal) 6-1/300/5.04

7. Terrell McClain (South Florida) 6-2/297/4.98

8. Jerrell Powe (Mississippi) 6-2/335/5.25

9. Ian Williams (Notre Dame) 6-1/319/5.21

 

Linebackers

1. *Akeem Ayers (UCLA) 6-3/254/4.81

   --Teams did not reach for Ayers in the first, so he becomes a fair value as a pass rusher in Round Two.

2. Brooks Reed (Arizona) 6-3/263/4.65

3. *Martez Wilson (Illinois) 6-4/250/4.42

4. Bruce Carter (North Carolina) 6-2/243/4.57

5. *Justin Houston (Georgia) 6-3/270/4.62

6. Colin McCarthy (Miami) 6-1/238/4.59

7. Dontay Moch (Nevada) 6-1/248/4.40

8. Sam Acho (Texas) 6-2/262/4.67

9. Akeem Dent (Georgia) 6-1/242/4.78

10. Quan Sturdivant (North Carolina) 6-1/241/4.63

11. K.J. Wright (Mississippi State) 6-3/246/4.75

12. Casey Matthews (Oregon) 6-1/231/4.79

13. Chris Carter (Fresno State) 6-1/248/4.58

14. Mason Foster (Washington) 6-1/245/4.75

15. Ross Homan (Ohio State) 6-1/240/4.66

16. Greg Jones (Michigan State) 6-0/242/4.75

17. Lawrence Wilson (Connecticut) 6-1/229/4.71

 

Cornerbacks

1. *Aaron Williams (Texas) 6-0/204/4.55

   --It's unclear if he'll be picked as a big corner or free safety conversion, but either way look for him to make an impact as a rookie.

2. *Brandon Harris (Miami) 5-10/191/4.46

3. Ras-I Dowling (Virginia) 6-1/198/4.40

4. Davon House (New Mexico State) 6-1/200/4.44

5. Shareece Wright (Southern Cal) 5-11/185/4.41

6. Marcus Gilchrist (Clemson) 5-10/195/4.45

7. Curtis Brown (Texas) 6-0/185/4.51

8. Chimdi Chekwa (Ohio State) 6-0/191/4.38

9. Johnny Patrick (Louisville) 5-11/191/4.59

10. Chris Culliver (South Carolina) 6-0/199/4.36

11. *Brandon Burton (Utah) 6-0/190/4.50

12. Jalil Brown (Colorado) 6-1/204/4.52

13. Curtis Marsh (Utah State) 6-1/197/4.42

 

Safeties

1. *Rahim Moore (UCLA) 6-0/202/4.58

   --This year's safety class is highly suspect, so Moore's ball skills and range may lead a team to overdraft him in the early second.

2. Quinton Carter (Oklahoma) 6-1/208/4.57

3. *Tyler Sash (Iowa) 6-0/211/4.62

4. Chris Conte (California) 6-2/197/4.52

5. Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple) 6-0/198/4.62

6. Da'Norris Searcy (North Carolina) 5-11/223/4.55

7. DeAndre McDaniel (Clemson) 6-0/217/4.63

8. Ahmad Black (Florida) 5-10/184/4.70

--Chad Reuter, NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst.

Category: NFL Draft
Tags: NFL Draft
 
Posted on: April 28, 2011 12:46 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 12:47 pm
 

Late rumblings: Fairley in play for Broncos?

While there is plenty of attention in Denver to the fact the Broncos will transition back to a 4-3 alignment under new coach John Fox, the club is perhaps even more concerned with identifying a defender who can make what one club executive termed "a really big difference" on third down.

As reported late Wednesday by ESPN, the Broncos still have four players under consideration for the No. 2 overall choice - defensive linemen Marcell Dareus and Nick Fairley, linebacker Von Miller and cornerback Patrick Peterson - and not surprisingly all four are guys who can influence a game on third down. The Broncos remain somewhat puzzled by how they could best utilize Miller, the best pass-rusher in the draft, but Fox has said he will not hesitate use former 3-4 linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers at end in his 4-3, so perhaps size doesn't matter as much as upfield burst to him.

Don't discount Fairley, who some Denver scouts feel is a better third-down defender than is Dareus.

Hot-lanta: It's not in the intrinsic DNA of Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff to make a huge jump in the first round - although his New England background has prepared him well for wheeling and dealing - but there definitely is something to the rumor instigated by Peter King of S.I. that the Falcons are thinking about a major deal for a shot at wide receivers A.J. Green or Julio Jones.

While the rationale of some who saw the Falcons dismantled by Green Bay in the playoffs is that Atlanta must address its defense - either with a left end, linebacker or a cornerback - the game equally demonstrated to team officials the need for a more explosive receiver than Michael Jenkins to pair with Roddy White. Despite a faster 40-yard time, the feeling around the NFL is that Jones isn't quite the playmaker that Green is.

Not that this has any bearing on the Atlanta draft, but locals have been very vocal that the Falcons need to make an effort to somehow land Green, whose exploits at Georgia are well known to Falcons patrons.

No deal: Old buddy Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wasted little time on Wednesday dismissing a rumor that the Steelers were trying hard to trade up in the first round for Florida guard Mike Pouncey, and reunite him with twin brother Maurkice Pouncey, the club's Pro Bowl center. Bouchette termed the rumor, "a fantasy," and after talking with a couple team officials, we couldn't agree more. The draft stock of "the other" Pouncey is ascending, and while it's true the Steelers love him, they can't deal high enough to land him without undermining a lottery in which the club has to address several needs. Given the draft value points chart that many franchises use, Pittsburgh would probably have to surrender first-, second-, and third-round choices for a shot at Pouncey, who could go off the board right around the middle of the first round, and that historically isn't how the Steelers do business.

Trade mart
: We're still uncertain if all the smoke about trading up or down in the first round will amount to much fire, but expect a lot of later deals, team officials and player agents have suggested. If the league still has a moratorium against signing undrafted free agents, teams will be looking to land additional sixth- and seventh-round choices, and select players that might otherwise have been considered as priority free agents instead of gambling they'll be able to sign them.

Punts
: If Miller is not available at the fifth overall pick, it will still be a bit of an upset if Arizona chooses a quarterback with the choice. Some people feel that, in such a scenario, the Cardinals will try hard to bail out of the pick, while others have suggested the club will opt for a wide receiver to complement Larry Fitzgerald. ... The No. 5 and No. 6 picks (Cleveland) definitely are in play if the prospects the two teams have targeted are off the board. ... A lot of people in the league feel the Cardinals already have an understanding with pending free agent quarterback Marc Bulger. The Cardinals would have liked to sign Bulger last year, and coach Ken Whisenhunt lobbied for a deal, but Arizona had already agreed with Derek Anderson and management didn't see a way to bring in two veterans. ... Statistical oddity I: Dimitroff, who along with coach Mike Smith has resurrected the Falcons in three years, has exercised 26 draft choices, but has never taken a Big 10 player. In fact, the last Big 10 player chosen by Atlanta was Ohio State center Doug Datish, a sixth-rounder in 2007, when current team president Rich McKay was still running the Falcons' drafts. ... Statistical oddity II: Dallas has now gone 29 straight drafts without choosing an offensive lineman in the first round. The Cowboys selected Missouri tackle Howard Richards with their top pick in 1981. ... There aren't likely to be many players who "jump" a round - who move up from, say, the second to the first stanza, but there are a few guys who seem to have picked up some steam in the last day or two, and could go perhaps a half-round sooner than expected. Two such players, among others, are wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan (Troy) and corner Marcus Gilchrist (Clemson). 

--Len Pasquarelli, The Sports Xchange 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com