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Top 64: Luck leads off, but plenty of talent to spare at combine

by | NFLDraftScout.com

Andrew Luck figures to get the festivities started once Draft day arrives. (Getty Images)  
Andrew Luck figures to get the festivities started once Draft day arrives. (Getty Images)  

The Indianapolis Colts have plenty to sort out before they are on the clock April 27 with the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Rankings remain fluid entering the scouting combine in Indianapolis, with player capable of affecting their final grades with a blazing 40-yard dash or by hitting a home run in face-to-face interviews with NFL evaluators this week.

Quarterbacks are no strangers to the top of the board. NFLDraftScout.com has regarded Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck as the gold standard in this draft class, and he's universally compared to some of the best pure passers to ever enter the pro game. Nipping at his heels is Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, the Baylor dynamo with the moxie and mobility to wow in individual workouts.

But neither quarterback is expected to take to the Lucas Oil Stadium turf for Sunday's throwing sessions, instead holding their valuables until scouts arrive for campus pro days a month from now -- March 21 at Baylor and the next day for Luck's session in Palo Alto, Calif.

Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, Alabama running back Trent Richardson, cornerback Morris Claiborne of LSU and Southern Cal offensive tackle Matt Kalil round out the top six, all made up of underclassmen, and all likely to be key contributors from the day they hit training camp.

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Luck is considered a polished passer but none of the top six franchise-caliber players can be considered a finished product.

Here's our snapshot of NFLDraftScout.com's Top 64 prospects entering the scouting combine:

Rating, Player, Pos, College, Height, Weight, Round

1. *Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford, 6-4, 235, 1 Hailed by some as the second coming of Peyton Manning, Luck should be the first player picked in the 2012 NFL Draft after finishing second two consecutive years in the Heisman Trophy race. Considering their mental, emotional and many of their physical abilities, the comparison to Manning seems appropriate. Both have great focus and an exceptional ability to read defenses and put the ball where receivers can catch and run. And they can do it on every throw in the playbook. Although Manning plays with a little more urgency, Luck has more natural athletic ability and overall speed, an aspect of his game that often goes overlooked. The ultimate result of nature and nurture, Andrew is the son of Oliver Luck, former Houston Oilers quarterback and current athletic director at West Virginia, and was coached most of his college career by former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh, now with the 49ers. Luck earned a degree in architectural engineering and is more than ready to build a great pro career on top of a phenomenal, three-year college campaign in which he completed 713 of 1,064 passes (67 percent) for 9,430 yards, 82 touchdowns, 22 interceptions and a passer efficiency rating of 162.8.

2. *Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor, 6-2, 220, 1 A fan of superheroes, Griffin became one himself last season as the unstoppable "RG3," who led Baylor to unprecedented heights and won a Heisman Trophy. Griffin's humble disguise as a pre-law student with a political science degree (in 2010) was already seen through before he revealed those Superman socks the night he accepted the Heisman Trophy. A dynamic, graceful athlete, Griffin leapt over intermediate hurdles in world class time in high school and, after turning down scholarships to Stanford and opting out of Houston, he unleashed an effortless but deadly passing motion at Baylor. Griffin threw the football with the power, accuracy and the long range figurative impact of a ballistic missile. In only three seasons, he set or tied 54 school records and several NCAA marks. He is only one of three players in college history to throw for 10,000 yards (10,071) and rush for more than 2,000 yards (2,199). Born in Japan as the son of two Army sergeants, Griffin is a natural, charismatic leader with a team-first attitude. He has flaws, including a severe knee injury in 2009 and a concussion in 2011. He's not totally comfortable under center, can be skittish in the pocket and doesn't move through his progression as well as Luck. But even Superman has his Kryptonite.

3. *Matt Kalil, OT, USC, 6-6, 295, 1 Genetics and hard work molded Kalil into a one of the best offensive tackles in college football. He has room for improvement, and needs some additional bulk, but Kalil has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL. He plays with a nasty edge and shows that he must have paid attention to his elders while growing up. His father, Frank, was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and played with the USFL's Arizona Wranglers. His brother, Ryan, was an anchor at center for USC (2003-2006), was drafted in the second round by the Carolina Panthers (2007) and last year became the highest-paid center in NFL history when he signed a six-year, $49 million contract. Scouts temper their enthusiasm on Matt Kalil a bit because he has had the luxury of being surrounded by excellent talent. But he seems prepared to handle the difficult position of left tackle. His bloodlines may even have influenced his selection as preseason All-American by Playboy magazine. After all, his mother, formerly Cheryl Van Cleave, was Miss California in 1981.

Claiborne evokes memories of former teammate Patrick Peterson. (Getty Images)  
Claiborne evokes memories of former teammate Patrick Peterson. (Getty Images)  
4. *Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU, 6-0, 185, 1 That popular term "shutdown corner" comes to mind watching Claiborne, who has in-your-face coverage instincts and is one of the best returners in this draft. A versatile athlete, "Mo" piled up 2,000 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns at quarterback as senior at Shreveport's Fair Park High School, where he also played baseball, basketball and won the Louisiana State 4A, 100-meter championship (10.76 seconds). He arrived at LSU expecting to play wide receiver, but was moved to corner as a freshman. In 2010, Claiborne started opposite Patrick Peterson (No. 5 overall selection in 2011 draft, Arizona Cardinals) in what is surely one of the best cornerback tandems in college history. Peterson won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back in 2010 and Claiborne won the award himself last season when he grabbed six of his 11 career interceptions. He is dangerous with the ball, evidenced by a career total of 274 yards after the theft, including an 89-yard touchdown. He also averaged 28.8 yards last year on kickoff returns, including a 99-yard touchdown. Claiborne will need to add bulk to be competitive at the next level.

5. *Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State, 6-1, 215, 1 This two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award as the best college wide receiver must dedicate himself to reach his ample potential in the NFL. Comparisons to the gifted Dez Bryant, whom he replaced at Oklahoma State, are the good and bad news. Like Bryant (now with Dallas), Blackmon has astonishing instincts, body control and the ability to take charge of a game. Also like Bryant, Blackmon can't consistently control himself off the field, a concern for teams considering spending millions of dollars on him. In college, Blackmon replaced Bryant with a flourish, catching 111 passes for 1,782 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2010 and adding 122 catches, 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He was devastating in the big games, grabbing five for 157, two touchdowns in the 2011 Alamo Bowl against Nebraska's Prince Amukamara (now with New York Giants) and then finishing his college career with eight catches, 182 yards and touchdowns of 43, 67 and 17 yards in a 41-38 overtime win over Stanford in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl. Blackmon is a gamer who plays faster than his clock speed and bigger, tougher than his measurements. He is especially dangerous after the catch. Off-field concerns include a DUI arrest in October 2010 in Arlington, Texas, when, not coincidentally, he went to visit Bryant and see a Cowboys' game.

6. *Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama, 5-11, 224, 1 Richardson is a better pro prospect than former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram (No. 28 pick in 2011 draft by New Orleans Saints), whose job he inherited at Alabama. Although he doesn't have world-class speed, Richardson explodes into and through defenders with sudden power. He is wide, low and runs with patience and control while looking for a lane, but if it isn't there he is willing to initiate contact, reminiscent of a short, stout Adrian Peterson. Last season, Richardson became Alabama's full-time starter for the first time and carried 283 times for 1,679 yards and 21 touchdowns to break Ingram's single-season school record. Richardson is an efficient blocker and excellent pass catcher who had another 338 yards and three touchdowns receiving last season. He was the only hint of offense in the BCS Championship game, scoring the lone touchdown, a 34-yarder, in the Tide's 21-0 victory over LSU. Richardson, who finished third in Heisman Trophy voting, is proudly responsible for two daughters, ages 3 and 5, from a long-time romance in his hometown Pensacola, Fla.

7. *Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa, 6-6, 300, 1 Reiff is the latest in a series of top-rated offensive tackles to come out of Iowa and seem ready to star in the NFL. Robert Gallery, selected No. 2 overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2004 (now with Seattle), is having a decent career at guard. Bryan Bulaga, taken 23rd overall by the Green Bay Packers in 2010, became a full-time starter last year. Like both of them, Reiff appears ready to man that important left tackle position that protects the blind side of a right-handed quarterback. Like Gallery, Reiff played tight end in high school, where he caught 27 passes for 321 yards and nine touchdowns. As a prep defensive end he also had 23 sacks and eight interceptions. That background, along with a 21-1 record in wrestling, helps explain Reiff's well-rounded athletic ability. He has excellent footwork, plays with aggression, uses his hands and leverage well and shows excellent technique blocking on the edge. However, his best-known display of footwork at Iowa may have occurred before he even suited up when, in 2008, he outran Iowa City Police for 20 minutes before being arrested for public intoxication. At 23, Reiff might be close to peak potential.

8. *Michael Brockers, DT, LSU, 6-5, 306, 1 As a third-year sophomore last season, Brockers became a leader by example on one of the most talented defenses in the country. He was named second-team All-SEC in 2011. He totaled 54 tackles, 10 for a loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and an interception. Brockers played best in big games, evidenced by a career-high seven stops and blocked field goal against Alabama in the BCS Championship Game. He arrived at LSU as a 250-pound defensive end but by the beginning of last season coach Les Miles predicted the he would be a "bear to handle inside." Although he had the luxury of being surrounded by a lot of talent, pro scouts still noticed that Brockers has the strength, length and motor to play in the NFL.

9. *David DeCastro, OG, Stanford, 6-5, 312, 1 Stanford's pro-style offense has prepared DeCastro to plug-and-play in somebody's NFL line. He is one reason why Stanford averaged more than 200 yards rushing a game for the last two years and he is easily the top guard prospect in this draft. DeCastro plays with a solid base, necessary aggression and knows how to use his hands to control defenders. His mobility is especially impressive when he pulls and leads through the hole. He also uses those quick feet and great body balance to mirror pass rushers effectively. DeCastro, a finalist for the Outland Trophy as top offensive lineman in the country, is regaled by teammates for his non-stop work ethic both in the weight room and in practice.

10. Devon Still, DT, Penn State, 6-4, 310, 1 Still remains a work in progress after overcoming injuries to play in all 26 of Penn State's games the past two seasons. He missed 2007 because of a torn left ACL and most of 2008 because of a broken ankle. He caught the attention of pro scouts in the Outback Bowl after the 2010 season when he had 3.5 tackles for a loss. Still lacks an explosive first step and barges rather than bursts into the passing pocket. He is a persistent pest who demands attention at all times, although he lacks closing speed. He needs to concentrate on staying low so as not to be moved back, but otherwise uses his wide base and long arms effectively. Still logs ample time in the weight room to build strength, but may need to work on cardio because he often seems gassed in the second half. Family includes cousins Art Still (defensive end, Kansas City Chiefs 1978-87, Buffalo Bills 1988-89) and Levon Kirkland (linebacker Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, 1992-2002).

11. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M, 6-4, 222, 1 Tannehill is this year's Rubik's Cube, a complex combination of intriguing variables reminiscent of many past NFL Draft challenges who were hard to solve. Like Tim Tebow and Cam Newton, problematic first-round picks from each of the past two drafts, he is a big guy with obvious athletic ability and an unorthodox passing motion. His delivery is the side-arm variety, somewhere between David Carr (Texans, Giants) and Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers). Tannehill also has traits similar to former 49ers tight end John Frank (1980s) and current New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Tannehill spent his first 30 college games at wide receiver, then, coached by west coast offense devotee Mike Sherman (formerly of Green Bay, now with Miami Dolphins), Tannehill moved to quarterback in 2010. Last season he completed 327 of 531 passes for 3,744 yards, 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. His complicated career totals include completing 484 of 774 passes for 5,450 yards, 42 touchdowns, 21 interceptions and those 112 receptions for 1,596 yards and a few punts. Scouts agree only on one thing -- he is a gamble, especially after requiring foot surgery in early January, complete with a screw to mend the fractured fifth metatarsal. He missed the Senior Bowl, will miss combine workouts, but will be ready for his March pro day. The boot was removed on Valentine's Day and he began working at IMG's Bradenton facility with QB mentor Chris Weinke, as did Newton last year. Meantime, after a January wedding to model Lauren Ashley, life on the home front can be compared to that of Brady, based on this scouting report.

12. Janoris Jenkins, CB, N. Alabama, 5-10, 191, 1 Jenkins finished his career at North Alabama after being dismissed by new Florida coach Will Muschamp following a second charge involving marijuana. He might have qualified for the NFL supplemental draft last year, but preferred to take time to rehabilitate his off-field image so pro scouts would judge him more on his on-field abilities. And pro scouts think his on-field ability is extraordinary. Jenkins has that rare combination of instincts, quickness and agility needed to be a truly great cover cornerback. Scouts at the Senior Bowl likened his play to that of All-Pro Asante Samuel (Philadelphia Eagles). Jenkins flashed his talents in 2010 at Florida when he held two players selected in the top six of last year's draft to an average of 38 yards -- Georgia's A. J. Green (No. 4 pick, Cincinnati Bengals) and Alabama's Julio Jones (No. 6 pick, Atlanta Falcons). He should be able to step in immediately and cover those pesky slot receivers as well as help as a punt returner.

13. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame, 6-3, 224, 1 Floyd arrived at Notre Dame as one of the most heralded high school recruits in the nation and seemed to validate that when he caught 48 passes for 719 yards as a true freshman. But he also became a true problem over the next three years as he was cited for underage consumption of alcohol twice and driving under the influence once and finally was suspended from the team last spring. Although he was allowed back on the team, he lost his role as captain. Despite all that, and a broken clavicle in 2009, Floyd was undoubtedly one of the top receivers in college football the past four seasons, with a total of 171 catches, 2,539 yards and 28 touchdowns in 30 games. He is an intriguing combination of good quickness, better speed, great size and awesome hands that engulf the football. His size and strength should help him against NFL press coverage and his long arms will be an asset going for the ball. Floyd certainly has the physical ability to star in the NFL if he works hard enough at it on and off the field.

14. *Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford, 6-5, 305, 1 Martin is gifted with natural athletic ability, quick feet and spontaneous reactions. All this and more was necessary for him to protect Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck's blind side. His awareness and ability to locate and eliminate targets at the second level was a key to Stanford's consistent running game. He is adept at succeeding in a zone blocking scheme, but will need to muscle up and bone up on technique if he expects to succeed in defeating on NFL defensive linemen head on. He does flash some attitude, but is far from a bully and doesn't always finish off plays. Martin was on the 2011 preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy and was named first-team All-Pac-10 in 2010 and first-team All Pac-12 in 2011.

15. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor, 5-10, 190, 1 The four-year starter scorched college defenses with blink-quick moves and should slide into somebody's slot position in the NFL and become a nightmarish matchup for everybody's defense. Wright holds at least a share of 10 Baylor career receiving records and set a single-season mark last year with 108 catches for 1,663 yards, 14 touchdown receptions and nine games with more than 100 yards. His career total of 4,004 yards receiving is 1,300 yards more than anyone who preceded him. Wright is a tireless athlete who also played on the Baylor basketball team, squatted more than 550 pounds and reportedly has a vertical jump of 42 inches. He has the natural ability to be a returner but was not showcased there in college. At Pittsburgh High in Texas, Wright was a three-sport sensation as he played quarterback in football, averaged almost 25 points a game in basketball and won the state championship with a meet-record triple jump of 50-feet, 8 3/4 inches in 2008.

16. Melvin Ingram, OLB/DE, S. Carolina, 6-2, 276, 1 Ingram showed versatility in college, playing both ends and even moving inside at defensive tackle. His combination of strength, leverage and speed made him a pass rush threat from all those positions and NFL scouts think they might have yet another position for him -- outside linebacker. Last season, Ingram made All-SEC after leading the Gamecocks with 13.5 tackles for a loss and 8.5 sacks. He also intercepted two passes and scored three touchdowns, including a 68-yarder on a fake punt in a win at Georgia. Ingram finished his career with 21.5 sacks, fourth in team history. Originally recruited as a linebacker out of North Carolina, he played 12 games as a freshman when he even returned five kickoffs for an 18-yard average. After missing 2008 because of a broken foot, he was moved to the defensive line in 2009. "Wherever they point me, I'm ready to go there," Ingram said when asked if he was ready to play as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the pros.

17. Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama, 6-2, 273, 1 Pro scouts debate where Upshaw best fits in an NFL defense, but based on his play in college he will probably wind up in a quarterback's mug regardless of where he lines up. Used as an edge rusher, sometimes as the Tide's so-called "Jack" linebacker and sometimes as an end, Upshaw thrashes blockers with great hand an arm action and shows ample speed and agility to find his way into the offensive backfield. He has instincts beyond that of a pure pass rusher, with an uncommon awareness for draws, screens, counters and reverses. Although he was not asked to drop into coverage often at Alabama, he has a fluid athleticism that may allow him to adapt to such a demand. In Alabama's 49-7 thrashing of Michigan State in last year's Capital One Bowl, Upshaw was voted MVP after a pair of sacks, five tackles (three for a loss) and a forced fumble.

18. *Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama, CB, 6-2, 192, 1 Kirkpatrick can be a special pro if he learns self discipline and gets his ample athleticism to match his audacious attitude. Even as he announced his decision to attend Alabama, Kirkpatrick adopted a nickname and reputation, "Swag" -- or as teammates call it "Swagga" -- when he dissed and dismissed Texas as "ain't got no swagger." While that's a good attitude for resiliency at the vulnerable position of cornerback, Kirkpatrick sometimes pushed the limits on and off the field, where his swagger staggered into a charge of marijuana possession only one week after declaring he was entering the draft. The charge was dismissed, but lingers in the minds of scouts even as they admire the rare combination of size, speed, agility and strength that helped him grab 11 career interceptions. He plays with aggression on the field, which sometimes works against him on pump fakes and double moves. On balance, that was a criticism of Ronnie Lott at Southern Cal. Coach Nick Saban rode Kirkpatrick hard to keep him focused in college, but he will be rich and on his own in the NFL.

19. *Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College, 6-2, 237, 1 His name is pronounced "Keek-lee" and it is called more often on play-by-play than his measureable athletic ability would seem to warrant. To be exact, his name was called on 532 tackles, an NCAA career record, including 299 solo, or an average of 14 total/7.9 solo in his 37-game stay at BC. Like the linebacker himself, Kuechly's ascent was relentless as he was ACC Freshman of the year in 2009; All-American and semi-finalist for the Dick Butkus Award as the nation's top college linebacker in 2010; and consensus All-American last season when Butkus himself showed up to meet Kuechly and present the prized award. Kuechly won't dazzle scouts with agility drills, timed sprints or anything else that goes on a spreadsheet. But give him a job on the field and he will get it done, including long snapping. His range is limited in pass coverage, but he is alert, actually played DB in high school, and cannot be ignored on underneath patterns. Long-time fans will recognize him as the latest, maybe greatest, version of productive tackling machines whose history stretches from Tennessee's Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds in the 1970s-80s (49ers, Rams) to Ohio State's James Laurinaitis, (second round, Rams, 2009).

20. Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina, 6-6, 281, 1 Coples turned adversity into opportunity when he was cleared of any wrongdoing in the same UNC agent scandal that resulted in star defensive tackle Marvin Austin being suspended. Austin opted for the draft (Giants second-round pick 2011). Coples, considered a natural defensive end, moved inside in 2010 to help the team and in so doing helped himself. He showed pro scouts he had the toughness and tenacity to get the job done at either position and finished with 59 tackles, including 15.5 for a loss and 10 sacks. He then played defensive end in the controversial 2011 Music City Bowl victory over Tennessee and dominated with six tackles, two QB hurries, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Back at defensive end last season, Coples collected 51 tackles, 13 for a loss, and 7.5 sacks and was a standout in the Senior Bowl. Coples seems best suited for a 4-3, every-down LDE in the NFL rather than a pass-rush specialist.

21. *Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State, 6-4, 295, 1-2 Cox is naturally big, plays bigger and is expected grow even more in size and ability. A third-year junior, Cox was the only player from Mississippi State to be named to All-SEC first team after he collected 56 tackles and five sacks last season. He works hard from kickoff until the final whistle, setting a pace for teammates and wearing down opponents. Cox played both defense end and defensive tackle and his versatility will be an asset in the NFL, where scouts think he is similar to San Diego's Corey Luiget, an 18th overall pick out of Illinois last year. Cox was one of five Bulldogs suspended for the 2011 season opener against Memphis for breaking team rules, but he returned to the field with a vengeance and earned praise from his coaches.

22. *Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin, 6-5, 315, 1 Konz (pronounced "Kahnz"), showed his character even as he made the decision to opt for the draft after his junior year. He wrote a letter of explanation to Badger fans, telling them among other things that he crammed 18 units into the fall semester so he could graduate this spring and, oh yes, he was getting married. Konz was equally accountable on the field, where he always found a way to get the job done. His alertness compensates for average quickness so he still gets in position in time to take on defenders. Konz is more of a persistent, wall-off type of blocker than a physical mauler. In order to play in 30 college games, he overcame several setbacks, including blood clots in both lungs (2009), a severely sprained ankle (2010) and a dislocated left ankle that kept him out of three games before he returned to play in the 2012 Rose Bowl against Oregon.

23. Cordy Glenn, OG, Georgia, 6-6, 346, 1-2 This massive man looked like a natural when he was first thrown into a starting role as a freshman. Glenn went on to tie a school record with 50 total starts, including 28 at left guard, 18 at left tackle and four at right guard. There was even talk about trying him on the defensive line, but it didn't happen. Glenn obliterates defenders on the run and is excellent in pass protection, certainly a factor in Georgia finishing third in the SEC with an average of 413 yards a game. Glenn appears most natural at guard, but was used at left tackle last season and in Senior Bowl workouts. He struggled against speed rushers, so expect him to be inside in the NFL. He has all the strength you would expect of a man his size and then some, but it his footwork on pass blocking and ability to get downfield to pick off second level defenders that is a surprise, both to scouts and the overwhelmed defenders themselves.

Worthy comes in as a known quantity in the run-stopping department. (Getty Images)  
Worthy comes in as a known quantity in the run-stopping department. (Getty Images)  
24. *Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State, 6-3, 310, 1-2 Worthy is the definition of the word load. He demands immediate and constant attention by blockers or he can ruin an offense, and pretty much did exactly that as he earned All-American honors last season. Worth anchored a Spartans defense that led the Big Ten in rushing defense (100.5 yards per game), total defense (277.4 ypg) and sacks (45). Worth explodes off the line at the snap and quickly uses his strong hands and unusual overall power to maintain an advantage. Little wonder he had at least one tackle for a loss in nine of 14 games last season. He said his decision to enter the draft as an underclassman was partly because his father suffered a stroke in 2010 and he wants to offer financial support for the family.

25. Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State, 6-7, 323, 1-2 Adams has a substantial frame with conspicuous muscle in the right places and the footwork of a dancer, albeit more like hip hop than ballet. At this point he lacks the great technique that would make him a reliable left tackle to protect a right handed quarterback's blind side. Given time he certainly could learn. Meantime, Adams already moves well enough to get into linebackers on the second level. On film he did well handling Wisconsin's J. J. Watt (drafted No. 11 overall by Texas last year), but was befuddled by the nifty moves of Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan (drafted 16th overall by Washington last year). Adams has a history of issues on and off the field. He underwent shoulder surgery and then a season-ending left foot injury, both in 2008. Adams missed five games in 2009 with knee injury and was suspended for two games the same year for violating team rules. He as one of five players suspended first five games last year for receiving benefits from selling collectibles through a tattoo parlor and had to pay back $1,000 he received for a ring.

26. Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska, 5-10, 203, 1-2 Dennard is a tenacious, physical cornerback who has the ability to make it difficult to get a clean release off the line if he plays up. If Dennard plays off he has the closing speed and toughness to make it difficult to catch or keep the ball. He won the Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year award last season after getting four interceptions, six pass breakups, and 31 tackles, most of them loud. Dennard was the main reason opposing Big Ten quarterbacks were held to a conference-low 51 percent on completions. His career included 97 tackles, four for a loss. Dennard led Wilcox County High (Rochelle, Ga.) to second place in the Class A state championships, stealing five passes as a cornerback, catching 39 passes for 780 yards, 14 touchdowns at wide receiver and returning two kickoffs for touchdowns.

27. *Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis, 6-5, 350, 1-2 His name is the key to his NFL future, as in Poe-tential. Naturally gifted with size and strength, Poe used those assets to great advantage in three years at Memphis, but hasn't really improved as much as pro scouts expected. "Dontari is a powerful, powerful you man who has the potential to be the best defensive lineman I ever coached," offered Memphis defensive line coach Mike DuBose, who saw some pretty good DLs in his days as head coach at Alabama, where he won an SEC championship in 1999. DuBose says Poe often over-thinks what he is doing rather than just doing it and needs to just rely on his abilities more. That probably accounts for the reason Poe doesn't always explode off the line. But DuBose says Poe is a dedicated athlete in the weight room and on the field, where he will still need to refine some techniques to maximize his God-given abilities at the next level.

28. *Nick Perry, DE, Southern Cal, 6-3, 250, 1 Although it is unclear exactly what position he will play at the next level, Perry opted for the draft after being named USC's Defensive Lineman of the Year following a 2011 season in which he led the Pac-12 in sacks with 9.5. That was the most sacks by a USC defender since 2007. Most scouts believe he projects as a stand-up linebacker in a 3-4 defense, despite not showing instincts to play in the open. If he adds muscle to his frame he may be more comfortable with his hand on the ground as a traditional defensive end in a 4-3. Scouts would also like to see more hustle on plays away and/or better conditioning as he seems to fatigue in the fourth quarter. Perry was a prized recruit after he led Detroit's King High School to a 14-0 season and a 2007 state championship with 147 tackles and 36 sacks, a Michigan prep record.

29. *Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama, 6-4, 260, 1-2 Bigger and badder than your average inside linebacker, Hightower was only a freshman when he caught the attention of former Alabama teammate Rolando McClain. "He is a freak who can play any position on the field," said McClain, the No. 8 overall selection by the Oakland Raiders in 2010. Hightower was playing up to the hype until he blew out his left knee in 2009 and required reconstructive surgery on his ACL, MCL and meniscus. It wasn't really until last season that he was playing back to top form, which is comparable to a larger and more athletic Brandon Spikes (New England, second-round pick out of Florida, 2010). Hightower combines dutiful film work and great instinct to help get him quickly into position for plays and then his substantial physical abilities take over. He is a natural leader on and off the field and is known as a fanatic in the weight room who extols the virtues of good nutrition.

30. Mark Barron, SS, Alabama, 6-2, 218, 1 Barron's rating is a bit tenuous after recent surgery for a double hernia that is expected to keep him out of the Combine workouts. He hopes to be ready for Alabama's Pro Day, March 7. A consensus All-American and All-SEC player, Barron was a leader in Alabama's devastating, No. 1-ranked defense. If his feet were as quick as his instincts he would be a great free safety, but Barron is built like and plays like an outstanding strong safety. He has exceptional read-and-react skills, gets a quick jump on passes and has great hand-eye coordination going for the ball. All this somewhat compensates for his lack of great speed. On run support, Barron plays with a good balance of patience and aggression that keeps or puts him in the middle of plays that others might overrun. While he does make the occasional big hit, Barron is more of a text book tackler.

31. *Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois, 6-4, 265, 1-2 Mercilus' startling 2011 season sent scouts scrambling to learn more about him, and the news was better than expected. After two mediocre seasons at Illinois, Mercilus used cat-like moves to become an All-American and win the Ted Hendricks Award as the best defensive end in the country. He led the nation with 16 sacks, nine forced fumbles and had 22.5 tackles for a loss. Scouts gush a list of positives traits, including quickness, agility, strength, instincts, condition, attitude ... and he is just beginning to mature and could be a great outside linebacker. Reaching for comparisons, they mention names like Simeon Rice, Dwight Freeney, Richard Dent, and even the great Reggie White. The U.S. born son of parents who emigrated from Haiti in the 1980s, Mercilus played mostly soccer until high school. His 2011 season had an auspicious beginning when lost the tip of his left index finger last spring in a weight room accident. Teammates were shocked when he light-heartedly dismissed the injury as only a bother when he played the keyboard or tried to pick up coins. He should wow scouts at the Combine with his remarkable athleticism and then he will surely need to pick up a lot more coins after the NFL Draft.

32. Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson, 6-2, 311, 1-2 Nicknamed "Yams" in recognition of the huge thighs that help him clog the middle of Clemson's defense, Thompson is an immovable object willing and able to crush anything that tries to get past him. He has been a classroom and weight-room fanatic since high school, which earned him academic honor roll recognition in 2010 and the weight-lifting statistics of a tractor -- 450-pound single bench press, 36 reps with 225 pounds, 615-pound squat lift and 370-pound power clean. On the field that translates to somebody smart enough to know what to do and strong enough to get it done. He explodes off the line with tremendous force and uses his wicked strong hands to gain an advantage. This helps him as a dangerous bull rusher, but he is not really a pass rush threat. His college statistics may not be relevant because offenses tried to stay out of his way, even if it took two men to do so. Thompson may be NFL ready right now, but he is already maximizing his physical ability and may have marginal upside.

33. *Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson, 6-4, 255, 1-2 Allen has all the positives and negatives that come from being a former basketball standout. The positives include great body control and big, soft, reliable hands as a receiver. The negatives are a lack of great speed or the ballast necessary to be an overwhelming blocker. Allen accentuated the positives at Clemson and won the 2011 John Mackey Award as best tight end in the country. Last season he caught 50 passes for 598 yards and eight touchdowns after a 2010 season in which he grabbed 33 for 373 and one TD. Allen doesn't have the blazing speed to stretch the field at the seams, but he has plenty of quickness and agility to be a real pest on short and intermediate patterns. He is a well-rounded athlete who gives up his body to do whatever is necessary, including in-line blocking, and is a very alert player.

34. Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina, 6-1, 236, 1-2 Brown is fast and fascinating, but is only beginning to learn how to maximize his exceptional athletic ability on a football field. He has an abundance of one natural ability that can't be taught -- speed. He officially set a school record in track with an indoor 60-meter time of 6.72 seconds in 2009. He unofficially was timed in 4.28 seconds for 40 yards by his football coaches. If Brown repeats that the Indianapolis Combine he will cause quite a stir. His raw athleticism is tantalizing, but he lacks the instincts to be a great linebacker and will need to add bulk to make a physical impression at the next level. Meantime, he can be a terror on special teams, same as he was in college.

35. Andre Branch, DE, Clemson, 6-4, 260, 1-2 Branch is a raw, flashy, long-armed player with great closing speed, but still has a long ways to go if he wants to excel in the NFL. He arrived at Clemson as a highly rated high school linebacker and lined up there occasionally in college, but was usually at the team's "Bandit" or right end spot. He was selected first-team All-ACC in 2011 after leading Clemson in sacks (10.5) and tackles for a loss (17). He finished his career with 17.5 sacks and made at least one tackle in 41 consecutive games. There is nothing fancy about Branch's game and he will probably best fit into an NFL defense that has a very specific role to take advantage of his exceptional straight-line speed.

36. *Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers, 6-2, 215, 1-2 After impressing coaches and scouts with every ability needed at wide receiver except blinding speed, Sanu appears ready to work some magic in the NFL. He is a physically tough player who is unafraid to do anything necessary to catch the ball. After the catch he does has moves to elude some tacklers, strength to run through others and if that doesn't work he has a jolting stiff arm. Sanu started 37 of his 38 games at Rutgers and finished with career statistics of 210 catches, 2,263 yards and 12 touchdowns. Last season he caught 115 for 1,206 and seven scores. He was bigger and stronger than almost all defenders he faced in college so it will be interesting to see if he maintains that advantage, and his strong self confidence, at the next level.

37. Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford, 6-6, 245, 1-2 Another former star high school basketball player who has the leaping ability and soft, sure hands that are mandatory in that sport. Fleener lined up at almost every eligible receiver position at Stanford and was a huge target for Luck. Fleener showed a good feel for finding soft spots in zones and had the speed and guts to run across the middle to catch passes in stride without blinking. He is not built for, nor does he seem to relish those tough, in-line blocking assignments. He was most productive as a senior with 34 catches, 667 yards and 10 touchdowns, boosting his four-year totals to career totals in included 96 catches, 667 yards and ten touchdowns, 96 catches, 667 yards (16.1-yard average) and 10 scores.

38. *David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech, 5-10, 205, 2 After starting only one full year in college, Wilson elected to jump to the NFL. Pro scouts will want to see improvement in pass blocking, receiving and hear why he questioned coaches in college on play calling. But Wilson has shown he can run. Last year he collected 1,709 yards on 290 carries with nine touchdowns. That earned him ACC Player of the Year honors and he was named second-team All-American. Wilson doesn't have much of a change of pace as he seems to run as fast as he can all the time. He doesn't show the explosive first step expected of a track star who triple jumped 52-feet, 6 3/4 inches. But when he does get up to speed, he is definitely hard to catch and will be valuable as a kickoff returners. In his senior year at George Washington High in Danville, Va., Wilson set school records with 2,291 yards rushing and 35 touchdowns.

39. Lavonte David, OLB/SS, Nebraska, 6-1, 225, 1-2 David is Mr. Max, as in maximum effort, attitude, results and, unfortunately, his size, which he cannot increase any more. NFL scouts aren't sure whether to play him at linebacker or strong safety. But somebody will draft him, put him on the field somewhere and he will do what he has always done -- tackle people. He worked hard to get this far, so being told he is too small won't impress him. David had a sensational high school career with Miami Northwestern's No. 1-ranked team, but due to low grades he played at Fort Scott Community College, where his team lost a national championship game to Cam Newton's Blinn College. When he finally arrived at Nebraska, David proved he was a tackling machine by setting a school record with 152 tackles in 2010 and finished his career with 285. He has pass coverage and ball reaction instincts to be an excellent nickel linebacker. A good 40-yard time will help his draft stock.

40. *Brandon Washington, OG, Miami, 6-4, 320, 2 Washington is a stout, no-nonsense, get-it-done lineman who played guard and tackle at Miami but will move inside at the next level. He is one of four siblings raised by his single mother in a tough Miami neighborhood, where he first played three years at Edison High then finished on Miami Northwestern's National championship team. Rated one of the top preps in the country, Washington needed to attend Milford (N.Y.) Academy to become academically eligible for Miami. He has improved each year and is a brutal blocker on runs, but still needs work recognizing variables presented by various pass rushers. At Miami he started 15 games at left guard his first two years and 12 at left tackle last season.

41. Kendall Reyes, DT, Connecticut, 6-4, 300, 2 Reyes played both end and tackle in college and didn't impress scouts as a pass rush threat until he outplayed some of the best offensive linemen in the country at the Senior Bowl. Teams still appreciate his consistency against the run more than his threat as a pass rusher, however. He has good short-area quickness and will win most fights in a phone booth. Reyes arrived at Connecticut as a 245-pound, three-sport prep star (including basketball and track) and developed into a big body without losing his quickness and agility. He started 42 games at UConn and finished with 31.5 tackles for a loss, 10th in school history.

42. *Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina, 6-1, 193, 2 Gilmore plays with an astute awareness that makes him a dangerous defender to test. He is a vocal team leader who understands everybody's role on defense and is especially effective in zone coverage where he seems to triangulate well, tracking both the quarterback and receivers. Gilmore is aggressive both going to the ball and coming up on the run, although he could use a little more bulk to hold up in the NFL. Gilmore started at cornerback all 40 games the last three years and in 2011 made 46 tackles and led the team with four interceptions, giving him eight for his career. He was selected first-team All-SEC and third-team AP All- American in 2010.

43. *Lamar Miller, RB, Miami, 5-11, 212, 2 After doing well in his only full year as a starter, Miller has decided to enter the draft although many scouts think he needs to learn a little more in college. But with an eye on the cash and a concern over getting beat up in college, he is convinced it is, as teammates call him, "Miller Time." He is a tough runner with deceptive second-gear acceleration, both of which serve him well as a kickoff returner. In his only full season as a starter last year, Miller finished second in the ACC with 1,272 yards rushing on 227 carries with nine touchdowns. The third-year sophomore's career included 1,918 yards, 335 carries, 15 touchdowns, 28 catches for 181 yards, and 15 kickoff returns for 376 yards and his most memorable college play, a dazzling 88-yard return for a touchdown against Ohio State in 2010.

44. Kelechi Osemele, OG, Iowa State, 6-5, 333 That's pronounced kah-LETCH-ee oh-sem-AH-lee, and pro scouts know it well. Osemele may be stronger than he is big, which is saying something. While some players use a strong base and others rely on a powerful upper body, Osemele has both. He seems to enjoy using that strength most on run blocking, where he overwhelms most defenders. He is a bit more tentative as a pass blocker and must work on recognizing what is happening there. A hard working student on and off the field, Osemele made the academic Honor Role three times and was selected All-Big 12 Conference first team in 2011. He played in 49 games and started 43 in a row despite missing most of one game last year with a severely sprained ankle.

Osweiler's height makes up for his somewhat sidearm delivery. (Getty Images)  
Osweiler's height makes up for his somewhat sidearm delivery. (Getty Images)  
45. *Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State, 6-7, 240, 2-3 Osweiler is a former high school basketball star who considered a scholarship to Gonzaga before focusing on football. His natural leadership ability was evident from the start at Arizona State, where on Nov. 14, 2009, he became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Sun Devils since Jake Plummer in 1993. Obviously tall with huge hands that engulf the ball, Osweiler is an intriguing physical specimen but has started only 15 games. His delivery is sometimes 3/4-side arm, but at his height that does not put the ball in jeopardy of being batted at the line. He seems to have a natural feel in the pocket and moves with grace for such a tall dude. But his strength, and his upside, is passing the ball, which he does with authority. Last year, his only full season as a starter, he completed 326-of-516 passes for 4,036 yards, 26 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He probably isn't ready for primetime pro action, but there is a lot of promise.

46. Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State, 6-6, 308, 2 When starting left tackle Andrew Datko went out with an injury last year, Sanders moved from right to left and seemed to have some of the best games among his 50 career starts. He is a lithesome, long-limbed athlete who was very effective in FSU's zone-slide pass protection scheme. But in the Senior Bowl he had trouble handling power rushers one-on-one and scouts think he will need to add about 20 pounds of muscle to cope with NFL defenders. Sanders has shown the exceptional dedication it takes to be an Eagle Scout, an accomplished violist in a chamber orchestra or, most important, an NFL offensive tackle.

47. *Alshon Jeffery, WR, South Carolina, 6-4, 229, 2 Jeffery has just about everything necessary to be a great receiver except natural speed to separate from defenders. Scouts will closely check his times in the 10, 20 and 40 yards at the combine. He is exceptionally agile for a huge receiver, able to contort his body as needed in order to get his oversized mitts on the ball. His size and physical abilities are very reminiscent of Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Mike Williams, formerly of USC -- that is, Southern California in this case, where, coincidentally, Jeffery originally signed. Williams was the 10th overall selection by Detroit in 2005, but was shuffled to Oakland and Tennessee before finally learning it takes more than size and good hands to be a pro football player. Like Williams, Jeffery looked great collecting his statistics against out-sized college defenders, including 179 career receptions for 2,894 yards (16.2 per catch) and 22 touchdowns. Coach Steve Spurrier held him out of the opening play against Navy last season for what was described as a violation of team rules.

48. Bobby Wagner, OLB, Utah State, 6-0, 241, 1 Four-year starter, two-year captain and three-time All-WAC, Wagner can be called short, but he don't call him small. He packs the power of a man much larger and uses it effectively to tackle anybody with the audacity to be in his vicinity with a football. His senior year was his best, with 147 total tackles, including 67 solo, four sacks, and two interceptions. His muscular build was impressive at the Senior Bowl weigh-ins and he was hyper-active during the week of practice. But Wagner wasn't allowed to really tackle until the game, when he put on a clinic as he led everybody with seven tackles, including one for a loss, and an interception.

49. *Rueben Randle, WR, LSU, 6-3, 208, 2 This underclassman can benefit from a great showing at combine and pro day workouts to quantify or validate the athletic ability he flashed at LSU. After catching only 44 passes in his first two years, Randle grabbed attention last season with 53 catches for 917 yards and eight touchdowns. Randle is obviously big and fast and scouts want the fine details on those measurables. But his exceptional athletic ability has been known for a while back in Bastrop, La., where he played both quarterback and wide receiver as a high school senior -- although only one position at a time. He led Bastrop High to the state semifinals (11-2) in 2008, passing for 2,461 yards and 20 touchdowns, rushing for 683 yards and another dozen scores and catching a few passes, too. As a prep junior he played wide receiver and caught 55 passes for 1,058 yards and 11 touchdowns to help Bastrop win consecutive Class 4A state championships.

50. Leonard Johnson, CB, Iowa State, 5-10, 198, 2 After being ejected from a game for a late hit as a freshman, Johnson quickly matured into vocal and by-example team leader. He finished that season well enough to earn Freshman All-American honors as a kick returner (26.4-yard average) and has been a starting cornerback ever since. Johnson is a quick-twitch athlete with great speed the right attitude to play corner. His most dramatic performance was a key to Iowa State's upset victory over then second-ranked Oklahoma State. His job was to cover two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon, rated as the best receiver in this draft. Blackmon had one of his least productive games as Johnson held him to 99 yards receiving and snagged a big interception in the third quarter. Johnson's career numbers include 39 starts in 50 games, 247 tackles (eight for a loss) and six interceptions. He can help anybody immediately as a kickoff returner.

51. Doug Martin, RB, Boise State, 5-9, 219, 2 Martin's commitment and attitude stand out even on what is perhaps consistently the most disciplined and well-coached team in the nation. He is a between-the-tackles, no nonsense, bowling ball of a runner with good quickness and just enough speed to be dangerous. He rushed for 1,260 yards in 2010, 1,299 last year and finished with 617 carries for 3,431 yards and 43 touchdowns. He is an adequate receiver who grabbed 67 passes for 715 yards and another four scores, but was often taken out when pass protection was a must. Martin's strength and tackle-breaking ability help as a kick returner (28.4-yard average). He is a weight room animal who challenges teammates to keep up with him. In the spring of 2009 he obliged a request to help at defensive back, but he was able go back on offense when the season started.

52. Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska, 6-4, 285, 2 Crick decided to return to Nebraska rather than join last year's draft, but his senior season was literally painful. He sprained a knee in spring practice, then had a series of injuries during the season until he was sidelined for good in October with a torn pectoral muscle. He finished his career No. 8 on the school's sack list with 20, including 9.5 each in 2009 and 2010. A former Nebraska prep track (shot put) and football sensation, Crick ignored offers from all over the country when he considered only Nebraska. Pro scouts do not see him as a pure pass rusher, but rather as a 3-4 end. He plays with excellent technique and wins most hand fights, but lacks the foot speed to be a real pass rush threat.

53. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State, 6-4, 219, 2 Weeden has all the physical ability to be a pro quarterback, but after five years (2002-2006) pitching for the Yankees, Dodgers and Royals minor league teams he will be a 28-year-old NFL rookie with some medical concerns. Weeden pitched 374 innings, had only a 19-26 record and 5.02 ERA. More significant, he left baseball because of a torn labrum and tendinitis in the rotator cuff of his throwing arm and did not have surgery. Instead, he redshirted at Oklahoma State in 2007, played little the next two years, then did so well the last two years pro scouts couldn't ignore him regardless of his age. He is not a vociferous team leader, but often has too much confidence in his arm. He needs to improve pocket awareness and stepping up. Weeden sometimes negates his height with a 3/4 side-arm delivery that might have concerned right handed batters, but is ripe for an alert defensive lineman to bat down. He looks excellent when timing is on, but sails wild pitches off his back foot when things break down. Weeden ruptured a tendon in his right thumb the first game of 2010 but played through the injury. Most of all, his production was too gaudy to overlook. In little more than two seasons he completed 766 of 1,102 passes (69.5 pct) for 9,260 yards, 75 touchdowns and 27 interceptions (157.7 passer rating).

54. Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia, 6-0, 185, 2 There are obvious signs of genetic inheritance and perhaps a bit of coaching from his father, Frank, who was a Pro Bowl caliber cornerback for the Cleveland Browns (1984-92). Chase is tall, lean and plays alertly within the framework of the system. He is high cut, and could use a little more heft if he can handle it because he already isn't exceptionally fluid when flipping hips. Minnifield is a menace in press coverage as he re-routes receivers well and has exceptional ball skills, aided by excellent leaping ability and long arms. He sat out Virginia's 42-24 loss to Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and on Jan. 3 underwent arthroscopic surgery at the Andrews Institute for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Gulf Breeze, Fla., to evacuate floating cartilage particles that bothered him most of the 2011 season. His father said the procedure took 15 minutes and expects Chase to be 100 percent, but did not say if he would take part in the Combine. Minnifield was selected All-ACC the last two seasons and in four years he had 151 tackles, 13 interceptions and showed decent return ability.

55. *Ronnel Lewis, OLB, Oklahoma, 6-2, 244, 2 Nicknamed "The Hammer" by teammates for the way he hits, but coaches could never find the right nail for this unusually gifted athlete. After playing only eight-man football in high school, Oklahoma coaches knew they had an unusually gifted, raw talent but never figured out where to best use his abilities. He played most of the front seven positions like a wild animal chasing his last meal, especially when in pursuit of a quarterback. College coaches say he is a good kid, willing to learn but he has maturity issues and struggled with class work. Lewis was suspended at the end of last season for academic reasons and his coaches suggested he turn pro. Along with persistent back problems, Lewis had minor knee surgery in 2010 that put him out of two games and a neck injury in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl that caused him to lose feeling in his arms for a short time. But in a little more than two seasons, he totaled 118 tackles (67 solo), 20.5 for a loss, 10 sacks and two interceptions. He is expected to further complicate evaluations by being a workout wonder at the Combine.

56. Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin, 6-4, 315, 2 A perfectionist, Zeitler expects more out of himself than anybody else possibly could in the class, in the weight room and on the field. His anxious nit-picking is noticed by classmates, teachers and teammates, but it is opposing defenders who pay the price when the sum of his hard work pays off on the field. So, as expected, scouting reports show he does just about everything according to the book to his best ability -- and he has plenty of ability. Zeitler added a significant amount of lean mass in his college career and used it well. According to NFL Draft Report statistics, he led college football with 142 knockdown blocks and had 33 blocks that resulted in touchdowns, obviously a major reason Wisconsin had a per-game average of 44.62 points and 467 total yards, including 237 on the ground in 2011.

57. *Orson Charles, TE, Georgia, 6-3, 242, 2 Charles didn't exactly sneak up on anybody after coming out of Tampa's Plant High School following a senior season that included 75 catches for 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns at tight end. He followed that by being named Freshman All-American at Georgia and went on to compile three-year career statistics that included 94 catches for 1,370 yards and 10 scores. He also blocked a punt against Vanderbilt last year and was s named first-team All-SEC and to the Sporting News first-team All-American squad. He shows more athleticism than aggression in his game, but does show a mean streak on occasion. He works hard in the film room and classroom, where he earned honor roll accolades three years.

58. Sean Spence, OLB, Miami, 5-11, 228, 2 Spence does everything he can to overcome lack of natural size and strength. He is already a coach on the field -- something teams may note for the future -- and shows amazing recognition skills that result from intense film analysis. Athletically, he reads and reacts quickly without wasted steps. Spence is not fooled often by play-action, and shows above average skills as a pass defender. He a sure tackler who hits as hard as he can, again, for his size. Spence has been consistent throughout his athletic career, collecting more than 100 tackles as a senior on Miami Northwestern High School's 2007 national championship team (chosen by USA Today). As a high school junior he had 147 tackles (10 for loss), two interceptions and three sacks. In 2008 he earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors at Miami and his career totals include 317 tackles (169 solo and 46 for a loss) and 10.5 sacks.

59. Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall, 6-3, 265, 2 Here is that potential pass rusher every team is seeking. Curry is strong and relentless off the edge, and so intent on getting to the passer that he is often too upright and vulnerable to a quick cut block. However, he can get down and dirty with a decent bull rush and uses his strong hands well. Curry was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 when he had 11 sacks, seven forced fumbles and 22 tackles for a loss. After a great high school career, Curry went to Cincinnati's Harmony Community School in 2007 to prep for college. He played only seven games as a true freshman, then began to show up as a sophomore and finished his career with 26 sacks, 49 tackles for a loss and 10 forced fumbles. And it was difficult to get all the way through this recap without a single "Yo, Vinny!"

60. *Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse, 6-5, 265, 2 Jones is a strong, fast, long-armed, raw talent who can play LDE right now, but might have upside as a decent pass rusher. His draft projection and his stats would be more impressive if he didn't have a knee injury in the season opener last year that caused him to miss five games. It was listed only as a "lower body injury," but medics at the Combine will get a clear picture, literally. Jones is an extremely hard worker respected by teammates and coaches and has interesting bloodlines. One brother is Jonny "Bones" Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion, and another brother, Arthur, was a former all-conference DT at Syracuse and is now with the Baltimore Ravens (fifth-round selection, 2010). Despite missing games last year, Jones was named All-Big East first team and finished his career with 147 tackles, 27 for a loss and 10 sacks.

61. *Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech, 6-4, 206, 2 Hill should be worth watching at the combine, where if he surely will wow scouts who are seeking more data on this undergrad who averaged a lot of yards per catch. As a senior at Miller Grove High School, Hill was not only an MVP football player but set the Georgia State prep record with a long jump of 25-feet, 8 and 3/4 inches, which would have placed ninth at the last Olympics. Hill finished his three-year college career with 49 catches for 1,248 yards (16th in school history). That average of 25.47 yards per reception would have broken the school record, but he fell one reception short of qualifying (minimum 50 receptions). His nine career touchdown receptions rank 14th in Georgia Tech history. Last year he took his 28 catches for 820 yards, a 29.3-yard average that led the nation.

62. Jonathan Massaquoi, OLB, Troy, 6-2, 250, 2-3 Some NFL teams think Massaquoi is an untapped talent who might have benefitted more if he played college at a higher level with more expectations and better competition. He has an interesting combination of strength and agility that served him well at that level without showing much technique. Massaquoi made a stop at Butler Community College before going to Troy in 2010. He was as named Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year going into the 2011 season and finished his two-year career with 128 tackles, including 31 for a loss and 19.5 sacks.

63. Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia, 5-9, 183, 2-3 Boykin might have a small frame, but he came up big to win the Paul Hornung Award as the nation's most versatile player in 2011. He is a formidable athlete as both a cornerback and a kick returner. Boykin, who may run 40 yards under 4.4 seconds, had three touchdowns on kickoff returns as a sophomore, two for 100 yards each and then added another in 2010 to become the only player in SEC history with three plays of at least 100 yards. He is hardly bashful as a corner, where he surprises bigger opponents by getting right in their face as much as he can rather than playing off and using his speed to catch up. In 1999, this bothered Oklahoma State star Dez Bryant (now with Dallas), who was held to three catches and 77 yards. Boykin's career totals include 159 tackles (20 for a loss), nine interceptions and he averaged 24.2 yards on 110 kickoff returns.

64. Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State, 6-3, 248, 2-3 McClellin has been known for his versatility since his days as a three-sport sensation at Marsing (Idaho) High School. And before he was able to play any of those sports he got up before sunrise to feed the animals on the farm of the grandparents who raised him. He lettered in baseball, basketball and football, where as a senior he played running back and linebacker. He rushed for 1,893 yards and 22 touchdowns and added 126 tackles, six interceptions and seven touchdowns on defense. For that he had the unusual honor of being named Western Idaho Conference Offensive AND Defensive Player of the Year. At Boise State he continued to do whatever was asked and do it well, which was somewhere between defensive and linebacker. And that's how he enters the NFL, as a hyperactive, efficient DE/OLB who has great field awareness and is as tough as, well, a good old farm boy.


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