View Full Version : SI's Ranking of top 50 prospects heading into combine

02-18-2011, 05:28 PM
Mike Pouncey is ranked pretty low here at #48, maybe he'll be available for the Steelers to draft at #31... :tt2

Posted: Wednesday February 16, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Ranking top 50 prospects heading into combine

By Tony Pauline, Special to SI.com, TFYDraft.com

One week before the NFL Scouting Combine begins in Indianapolis and it's time to revisit the draft board. Several players improved their grade with impressive performance at events such as the Senior Bowl and Shrine Game. Others were passed by and now rank lower.

Once again it looks like the first two rounds will be heavy with quality defensive line prospects. Twenty-one players who can make a living on the defensive line grace our top 50, a number that's sure to stand out in April.

An interesting side note is that no quarterback ranks among our top 10, although many mock drafts project two to be selected in the first handful of picks. More than anything else, this illustrates the dire need many franchises have at the position and, as witnessed in past drafts, the willingness to roll the dice on a lower rated prospect in the hopes of developing stability underneath center.

Here's a look at the top 50 draft prospects as we head towards the combine:

1) A.J. Green/WR/Georgia: Green is a game-breaking receiver with the skills to be a No. 1 wideout at the next level. He does not possess Calvin Johnson ability but is the best and safest prospect available in April.

2) Da'Quan Bowers/DE/Clemson: The Tigers' pass rusher extraordinaire was a force in the ACC from his freshman campaign on. He has all the skills to be an impact lineman at the next level and would do well in a four-man front.

3) Nick Fairley/DL/Auburn: Fairley was one of the most dominant defensive players in the country last season after breaking into Auburn's starting lineup. He has the skills to play several positions on the defensive line and can be an immediate starter.

4) Patrick Peterson/CB/LSU: Scouts graded Peterson as a big-time NFL cornerback the moment he stepped on the field at LSU. He ranks as the top athlete in April's draft.

5) Marcell Dareus/DL/Alabama: Dareus was the dominant force on the Alabama defensive line, a unit that has put a lot of talent in the NFL the past two drafts.

6) Cameron Jordan/DL/California: Jordan finished off a stellar college career by wowing scouts at the Senior Bowl. He's the top senior prospect.

7) Prince Amukamara/CB/Nebraska: The Cornhuskers star has been steady and solid the past two seasons. Questions about his speed have arisen as scouts await his combine workout.

8) Aldon Smith/DE-OLB/Missouri: Smith suffered through the '10 season with injury, yet at times looked like a one-man wrecking crew. Teams must watch the '09 film to see the explosive Smith at his best or they will be doing themselves a disservice.

9) Von Miller/LB/Texas A&M: He was considered by most as the top 3-4 outside linebacker prospect in the draft. Now Miller ranks as the top 4-3 weak side prospect after a great week at the Senior Bowl.

10) Robert Quinn/DE-OLB/North Carolina: A year ago, many mentioned Quinn's name in the conversation for the first pick in this year's draft, but a season-long suspension pushes him out of the top eight.

11) Blaine Gabbert/QB/Missouri: The Missouri junior is a strong-armed QB, but will need time to acclimate himself to a disciplined NFL passing system.

12) Tyron Smith/OT/USC: Smith is the number one tackle in the draft. He's an athletic blocker who possesses the strength to play on the right side as well as the footwork to be a blind-side protector in the NFL.

13) Cam Newton/QB/Auburn: Newton is all the rage outside of scouting circles but NFL decision-makers are not yet convinced. There's no doubting his physical skills, but many wonder how long it will take Newton to develop into a disciplined NFL-style passer.

14) Mark Ingram/RB/Alabama: The '09 Heisman Trophy winner was hobbled by preseason knee surgery and lost an edge on his game last season. Still, Ingram is one of the few complete backs available in this year's draft.

15) J.J. Watt/DL/Wisconsin: The former tight end has been a devastating force since moving to the defensive side of the ball. Watt is athletic, powerful and a defender who viciously sacks the quarterback or chases down running backs in pursuit.

16) Cameron Heyward/DL/Ohio State: Heyward is not as flashy as many of the highly rated defensive linemen, rather just a good football player who does the little things well.

17) Julio Jones/WR/Alabama: Jones was a dominant presence from Day 1 at Alabama. Despite his enormous talent he does not consistently play like a number one receiver, which concerns NFL scouts.

18) Akeem Ayers/OLB/UCLA: Ayers is one of the most complete linebackers available in April's draft. He has the athleticism to be used as a weak-side defender in a conventional alignment as well as the strength to stand up over tackle in a 3-4 system.

19) Ryan Kerrigan/DE-OLB/Purdue: One of the most polished seniors in the draft, Kerrigan has the skill, character and work ethic that scouts love. His 255-pound frame is a slight concern.

20) Adrian Clayborn/DE/Iowa: Scouts graded the Iowa product as one of the highest rated seniors before the season began, but a disappointing campaign in 2010 has caused him to slip.

21) Brandon Harris/CB/Miami-Fl: Harris is a natural cover-corner with the size and ball skills to start at the next level. He's best in a man-cover system and is a prospect who can help a franchise as a rookie.

22) Christian Ballard/DL/Iowa: Unlike teammate Adrian Clayborn, Ballard is zipping up draft boards. He's a sensational athlete at 288 pounds and offers the ability to play several defensive line spots.

23) Derek Sherrod/T/Mississippi State: Sherrod has shot straight up draft boards after a terrific senior campaign. He's one of the few pure left tackles available in the draft.

24) Ryan Mallett/QB/Arkansas: Mallett is a pure pocket passer and enters April's draft with possibly the strongest arm of any quarterback available. He needs a lot of work on his fundamentals and decision-making.

25) Nate Solder/OT/Colorado: The former tight end is considered a project in the works. He has the size and athleticism to start at the all important left tackle spot yet needs to polish his game.

26) Phil Taylor/NT/Baylor: He impressed scouts with his play on the field and the work he put in off it. Taylor, who transferred from Penn State, is the top nose tackle prospect in the draft.

27) Anthony Castonzo/T/Boston College: Castonzo's stock is on the rise after impressing scouts the past five months. He offers potential at both offensive tackle spots.

28) Jimmy Smith/CB/Colorado: Smith is a large, physical cornerback who quarterbacks purposely avoid. He has starting potential at the next level.

29) Muhammad Wilkerson/DL/Temple: Wilkerson is one of the most underrated defensive line prospects in April's draft. He's a great combination of size, athleticism and brute force.

30) Gabe Carimi/OT/Wisconsin: Carimi played well against top competition last season and continued the momentum with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl. He's another with possibilities at either tackle positions.

31) Allen Bailey/DL/Miami: Bailey disappointed scouts as he never improved off the brilliance he showed early in his Miami career. He's still a quality lineman and may just need proper coaching.

32) Jonathan Baldwin/WR/Pittsburgh: The next top receiver from the Pittsburgh program, Baldwin is a tall, imposing wideout who takes over contests when focused on his game.

33) Brooks Reed/DE-LB/Arizona: Reed is on the rise as he's a nasty defender whose style is drawing comparisons to Clay Matthews.

34) Marvin Austin/DL/North Carolina: The incredibly talented Austin flashed dominance in Carolina yet also displayed a lot of inconsistency and poor judgment in his college career.

35) Aaron Williams/CB/Texas: Williams comes off a solid year and offers big-league size with the ball skills to match.

36) Torrey Smith/WR/Maryland: Smith is one of the few game-breaking receivers available in April. He needs work on the details of his game yet comes with a high upside.

37) Drake Nevis/DL/LSU: Nevis was unstoppable for most of his senior season. Size concerns (6-1, 291 pounds) will push him down draft boards.

38) Jake Locker/QB/Washington: Locker's physical skills and leadership qualities are early round-one caliber. His poor mechanics, accuracy and often suspect decision-making drops him a full round.

39) Titus Young/WR/Boise State: Young is drawing comparisons to DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles. He's a play-making receiver who also breaks games open as a return specialist.

40) Kendall Hunter/RB/Oklahoma State: Hunter lacks the size to be a feature runner in the NFL but has the makings of a Leon Washington-type player.

41) Colin Kaepernick/QB/Nevada: Kaepernick answered the call at the Senior Bowl and improved his draft stock by a full round. The combine will give him an opportunity to prove it was no fluke.

42) Jabaal Sheard/DE-OLB/Pittsburgh: Sheard stepped up last season after his talented teammate Greg Romeus went down with injury. He offers potential at defensive end or outside linebacker.

43) Leonard Hankerson/WR/Miami-Fla: The Miami senior comes off a career season and has positioned himself as the top senior wideout in the draft.

44) Danny Watkins/OL/Baylor: The former firefighter from Canada plays smart, tough football and continues to exceed expectations.

45) Justin Houston/DE-OLB/Georgia: The Georgia junior is a tremendous pass rusher out of a three-point stance. The problem is Houston lacks the size for the defensive end position and has poor instincts as a linebacker.

46) Jerrel Jernigan/WR/Troy State: Jernigan is a tremendous skill player who positively affects the game as a receiver, return specialist and on the occasions he's asked to run reverses.

47) Jerrell Powe/NT/Mississippi: Powe is a big man who controls the line of scrimmage. He's a dominant force at the top of his game yet has stretches where he disappears from the action.

48) Michael Pouncey/G/Florida: Though not as gifted as his brother Maukrice, first-round pick of the Steelers last April, Michael is still legitimate starting material in the NFL.

49) Stephen Paea/DT/Oregon State: Disappointing play as a senior followed by an injury during the Senior Bowl has pushed Paea into the second round.

50) Kyle Rudolph/TE/Notre Dame: Rudolph sits atop a very weak class of tight ends. He's a terrific blocker and solid pass catcher but not a consistent downfield playmaker.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/football/nfl/02/16/2011-nfl-draft-prospects/index.html#ixzz1ELN851N6

02-24-2011, 05:12 PM
With Scouting Combine Ahead, a look at USA Today's Top 64 Prospects

By Derek Harper, Special for USA TODAY

Here is a closer look at the top 64 prospects heading into the combine listed with their respective position, college, height, weight and projected draft round (*denotes underclassman):

1. *Patrick Peterson
CB, LSU, 6-1, 212, 1: The 2010 Jim Thorpe Award winner patterns his game after that of Charles Woodson, who he kept in touch with during the Green Bay Packers' run to the Super Bowl XLV title. Like Woodson, the 1997 Heisman Trophy winner, Peterson leaves college with a truckload of accolades and the potential to be a shutdown cornerback in the NFL. One of the traits Peterson admires about Woodson is his versatility, and he prides himself as a big, physical cover man with dynamic return skills. Peterson had 42 tackles, six pass breakups and four interceptions as a junior, despite rarely being tested by opponents. He has a stated goal of running the 40-yard dash in 4.2 seconds at the scouting combine, which would go a long way toward securing the No. 1 overall pick. The highest-drafted cornerback in modern NFL history was Shawn Springs, who went third to the Seattle Seahawks in 1997.

2. *Nick Fairley
DT, Auburn, 6-4, 298, 1: Take his size and explosiveness and combine it with an outstanding junior season that resulted in the Lombardi Award, and Fairley has all the makings of the next Warren Sapp. A former high school basketball player, Fairley has quick feet and a rare ability to provide an upfield rush from an interior lineman. But there's just enough under the hood to make NFL teams navigating the draft's top five hesitate. Fairley signed with the Tigers in 2009 after two years in junior college. And while he flashed potential at the end of his first year with Auburn, no one could anticipate the monster 2010 Fairley would turn in. Among his 60 tackles were 24 tackles for loss and 11½ sacks, as he demonstrated an explosive burst off the ball and a knack for slicing through gaps. But Fairley's body of work is limited, and a reputation for cheap shots grew during the national title game.

3. *Da'Quan Bowers
DE, Clemson, 6-4, 275, 1: Bowers could get the Carolina Panthers to consider a dip into the local draft waters, as they did with Julius Peppers a decade ago. Bowers grew up in Bamberg, S.C. He had two less than stellar seasons at Clemson before recording a nation-high 15½ sacks in 2010 and winning the Bronko Nagurski and Ted Hendricks awards while being named an All-American and the Atlantic Coast Conference defensive player of the year. Still, Bowers might be stronger against the run than he is as a pass rusher. That versatility could draw interest from teams running 3-4 schemes in addition to the 4-3 programs. Bowers recently had surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus that could keep him out of combine drills.

4. *A.J. Green
WR, Georgia, 6-4, 212, 1: As a freshman, he led the Bulldogs with 56 receptions for 963 yards and eight touchdowns. After a slight dip during his banged-up sophomore season, Green was suspended for the first four games of 2010 for selling his Independence Bowl jersey. But he fired out of the gates when he became eligible to average 96.4 receiving yards and more than a touchdown a game. For NFL teams looking for red flags and stuck on the suspension, Green was voted team MVP after last season. His combination of size, speed and incredible hands — which he uses to slap away defenders who try to press him at the line and to pluck balls away from those trying to reach over his long arms — will highly intrigue scouts.

5. *Marcell Dareus
DT, Alabama, 6-3, 309, 1: He is best known for the jarring hit that ended the college career of former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy in the 2009 Bowl Championship Series title game. That was one of the last true impact plays Dareus made for the Crimson Tide, as he became the focal point of opponents with Terrence Cody, Brandon Deaderick and Lorenzo Washington moving on to the NFL. After serving a two-game suspension for accepting improper benefits from an agent, Dareus posted 33 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 4½ sacks in 2010. But coach Nick Saban's 3-4 defense isn't about linemen racking up big stats. Dareus can set his ample anchor into the ground and lock up interior running lanes, freeing others to make plays.

6. *Robert Quinn
DE, North Carolina, 6-5, 268, 1: His name unfortunately first became a household name because of his involvement in the agent scandal that rocked the Tar Heels in 2010. Suspended for the season, Quinn hasn't played a down since UNC's bowl game at the end of his sophomore season, but he opted to leave the program as a likely top-10 pick. His size and explosiveness helped him win a starting job by the second game of his freshman season. Perhaps more important to NFL teams will be Quinn's pre-draft interviews and his pre-suspension game film. At 20, he's raw but is also a few pass-rush moves away from being a truly elite athlete who could transition to a 3-4 outside linebacker.

7. Von Miller
OLB, Texas A&M, 6-3, 237, 1: The Butkus Award winner proved you can stay in school and earn money as a senior. After leading the country with 17 sacks as a junior, Miller put the NFL off for a year after the coaching staff cooked up a hybrid position called the "Joker" to take advantage of his versatility. He played through nagging injuries to rack up 8½ sacks. More important, Miller showed on film that he has the quickness to stay with running backs in coverage to go along with his exceptional pass-rushing ability. He had a strong week at the Senior Bowl.

8. Prince Amukamara
CB, Nebraska, 6-0, 205, 1: He initially had his heart set on playing running back and considered transferring when the coaching staff asked him to focus on defense. But everything changed when new coach Bo Pelini returned the Blackshirts to national prominence. Amukamara is big, physical and not afraid to get dirty in run support and could be an elite press-cover corner in the NFL. The consensus All-American closed his career with 59 tackles and 13 pass breakups in 2010. His speed will be questioned after lapses against Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon in October.

9. *Blaine Gabbert
QB, Missouri, 6-5, 235, 1: When Andrew Luck announced he was returning to Stanford, Gabbert jumped at the opportunity to be the likely top quarterback prospect in an underwhelming class. The primary question will be whether he can make the transition to taking snaps from center. But there's no denying his size, quick release and arm strength. He can beat the Cover 2 with a tight spiral and is a surprisingly good athlete on the move.

10. *Julio Jones
WR, Alabama, 6-4, 220, 1: He leaves Tuscaloosa with the Crimson Tide's single-season record for receptions (78) and receiving yards (1,133), and he's second all-time with 179 career catches for 2,653 yards in 40 starts. Jones is blessed with excellent size and strength, and he'll mix it up as a blocker in the ground game. Jones will frequently make a highlight-reel grab, but he needs better concentration to haul in the routine reception before kicking it into gear with his excellent running ability after the catch.

11. *Cam Newton
QB, Auburn, 6-6, 250, 1: Opinions on Newton personally and athletically spark debate almost as heated as those surrounding the BCS. Built like a quicker, faster version of Ben Roethlisberger, Newton has an easy smile that helped him weather an NCAA investigation into whether his father tried to sell his recruitment coming out of Blinn (Texas) Junior College, where he won the 2009 junior college national championship. Auburn was his third college. He started at Florida but was stuck behind Tim Tebow and transferred. Newton also was suspended in 2008 after charges involving a stolen laptop computer. One of his most impressive qualities has been his ability to brush aside the off-field distractions. He passed for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2010 and added 1,473 yards on 20 more scores on the ground. He'll have to prove he can take snaps from center, set up properly and read NFL defensive schemes, but Newton has an undeniably tantalizing upside.

12. *Aldon Smith
OLB, Missouri, 6-4, 258, 1: A freshman All-American in 2009, he missed three games with a broken right leg last season and went on to record 48 tackles — 10 for loss — and recorded 5½ sacks. It's that toughness, along with an athletic frame with room to grow, that shows potential to be an elite pass rusher.

13. Cameron Jordan
DE, California, 6-4, 287, 1: He is a productive four-year starter with proven size, strength and consistency who can jump right in and help an NFL team in a 3-4. While his ceiling might not be as high as some, Jordan impressed with his ability to remain productive as a senior even with 2010 first-round pick Tyson Alualu moving on to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He posted career highs in tackles (62) and tackles for loss (12½), despite his primary job being to occupy blockers in the running game. His father, Steve, was a six-time Pro Bowl player in a 13-year NFL career.

14. Anthony Castonzo
T, Boston College, 6-7, 305, 1: When he hangs up his cleats, this Rhodes Scholar nominee as a biochemistry major has aspirations of curing cancer. Castonzo might have to try a few different positions before settling in at the next level. He lacks great strength and improved when he moved to the left side as a senior and didn't have to deal with power ends as often. Some teams will project him as a guard, where he was a willing participant but struggled at the Senior Bowl. He has a long frame with good balance and quick feet — which were honed by starting a school-record 54 games as a three-time All-ACC pick.

15. *Tyron Smith
T, Southern California, 6-5, 285, 1: He has all the tools to emerge as an elite blind-side protector. The problem is, he has no significant experience at the position. He spent the last two seasons on the right side for the Trojans, earning first-team all-Pac-10 honors as a junior. While he lacks the bulk teams covet on the right side, he has the size, balance and agility to ultimately prove to be the best tackle in this class.

16. *Mark Ingram
RB, Alabama, 5-10, 215, 1: He didn't arrive at Alabama as the most likely prospect to become the first Heisman Trophy winner in program history and was best known as the son of former New York Giants receiver Mark Ingram Sr. But Ingram Jr. quickly made a name for himself as a freshman All-Southeastern Conference pick as a prelude to his 2009 season in which he became the first running back since Tony Dorsett (Pittsburgh, 1976) to win the Heisman and a national title in the same season. Ingram again is overcoming critics who question his speed and how much of his 3,289 career yards and 5.75-yard average was because of an outstanding supporting cast. Ingram's vision, balance, burst and pure instincts should serve him well.

17. Adrian Clayborn
DE, Iowa, 6-3, 286, 1: He almost never played contact sports because of Erb's palsy, a nerve damage condition suffered during the birthing process. The only damage when Clayborn has been on the field, however, has been to quarterbacks. His best season came as a junior, when he had 20 tackles for loss and 11½ sacks. He lacked the same backfield presence in 2010, and the question for scouts will be whether he simply gutted it out through nagging injuries or lacks an explosive first step.

18. *Mikel Leshoure
RB, Illinois, 6-0, 230, 1: He suffered a broken jaw in a fight with a teammate in 2008 and was suspended for violating team rules in 2009. But the switch flipped last year as Leshoure was praised by coach Ron Zook for his improved maturity, which helped pave the way to a single-season school-record 1,697 rushing yards and 17 TDs. He helped the Illini to their first bowl win since 1999 with 184 yards and three TDs in the Texas Bowl. Leshoure has the power to run between the tackles, the vision to escape traffic and the burst to rip off big chunks of yardage.

19. Nate Solder
T, Colorado, 6-8, 314, 1: He is an excellent athlete and excels in pass protection. And he's learning the nuances of the position after spending his first two years on campus as a tight end. Solder started every game over the last three seasons, including playing all 847 snaps in his All-America senior season. Solder does have a somewhat slight frame but should be able to add a few pounds without affecting his athleticism.

20. *J.J. Watt
DE, Wisconsin, 6-6, 292, 1: Leaving early for the NFL wasn't an easy decision for Watt, who broke into tears after Wisconsin's loss to TCU in the Rose Bowl and wrote an open letter to Badgers fans in announcing he would skip his senior season. His stock is soaring after a junior year in which he routinely blew up opposing backfields, finishing third in the country with 21 tackles for loss to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors. But Watt might be seen as a 'tweener with a great motor but not quite enough athleticism to beat NFL pass-blockers or the speed to track down faster ballcarriers.

21. *Corey Liuget
DT, Illinois, 6-3, 300, 1: Pronounced "Legit," Liuget proved to be just that for the Illini. The high school wrestler's strength is evident on the field. But it took time for Liuget to work his way up the depth chart and into a full-time starting role as a junior. He led the Illini with 12½ tackles for loss in 2010 to go with 4½ sacks. It's that ability to provide an upfield pass rush along with his strength against the run that really intrigues scouts. He will be considered closely by teams running 4-3 and 3-4 schemes.

22. Ryan Kerrigan
DE, Purdue, 6-4, 255, 1-2: Earned the reputation of a tireless worker who consistently turns in game-changing plays. Among them was a Big Ten-record 14 career forced fumbles to go with 33½ sacks and 57 tackles for loss. Kerrigan won't blow anyone away with his straight-line speed, but he uses hustle, excellent hands and good strength to live in opponents' backfields. He could get a look from 3-4 teams seeking edge pass rushers.

23. Gabe Carimi
T, Wisconsin, 6-7, 315, 1-2: Carimi redshirted in 2006, then was handed the inglorious task of taking over for 2007 first-round pick Joe Thomas on the left side of the Badgers' line. Carimi acquitted himself well, steadily improving to the point that he won the Outland Trophy as first-team All-American as a senior. Carimi's drawback is that he likely will have to move to right tackle and therefore won't be as highly coveted. But he is a road-grader who could be given a look at guard.

24. Jake Locker
QB, Washington, 6-2, 228, 1-2: A local hero credited with putting the Huskies back on the national radar, Locker returned to UW for his senior season despite the potential of being a top-10 pick last year. The goal was to continue to advance the Huskies program while becoming more pro-ready in his second season under the tutelage of coach Steve Sarkisian. Locker gets a check mark for accomplishing the first goal, leading Washington to its first bowl game since the 2002 season. But along the way, he failed to develop as a passer. Locker has immense athletic ability, which includes good elusiveness and a big frame to finish off runs. But the film doesn't lie, and Locker continued to struggle with his accuracy at the Senior Bowl.

25. Derek Sherrod
T, Mississippi State, 6-6, 312, 1-2: He is one of the few tackle prospects in this class with the potential to start immediately. The 2010 first-team All-SEC performer started 47 of 50 games during his career. The experience shows; he has some of the best recognition skills among blockers in this draft.

26. *Akeem Ayers
OLB, UCLA, 6-4, 255, 1-2: After posting 14½ tackles for loss, six sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles as a sophomore, he turned in a career-high 68 tackles last season, though his impact plays dipped. Ayers is blessed with excellent athleticism, which benefits him in coverage, and he seems to enjoy the physicality of playing linebacker. The lone red flag is he too often bites on play-action.

27. *Brandon Harris
CB, Miami (Fla.), 5-11, 195, 1-2: He dropped several interceptions during a rough freshman season in which he was thrown into the fire. But like any good cornerback, Harris has proved to have a short memory. He led the ACC with 15 passes broken up and picked off two passes as a full-time starter as a sophomore. By 2010, opponents largely stopped throwing his way. An excellent athlete, Harris is in his comfort zone in man-to-man coverage.

28. *Justin Houston
OLB, Georgia, 6-3, 258, 1-2: Thanks to Georgia's scheme switch in 2010, he has a year of experience under his belt as a stand-up pass rusher. That provides real game film for scouts to review, rather than trying to project how an undersized defensive end will make the transition. Houston racked up 18½ tackles for loss and finished second in the SEC behind Fairley with 10 sacks. But he has very limited experience dropping into coverage.

29. Jimmy Smith
CB, Colorado, 6-2, 205, 1-2: His size allows him to be physical, and he often lined up against the opponent's biggest receiver. Smith allowed 11 completions in man-to-man coverage the last two years and finished his career with 183 tackles and 16 pass deflections.

30. Cameron Heyward
DE, Ohio State, 6-5, 288, 1-2: The late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward was known as a punishing runner who had surprising agility for his size during 11 NFL seasons. His son possesses many of the same attributes. Cameron is strong enough to play the run inside and agile enough to display pass-rush ability on the edge, but he doesn't truly excel at either. He also is coming off a lackluster 2010 season, culminated by a hyperextended elbow suffered in the Sugar Bowl that ultimately required surgery. He's not expected to work out at the combine.

31. *Kyle Rudolph
TE, Notre Dame, 6-6, 265, 1-2: He decided to go pro despite season-ending surgery for a severe hamstring injury (the muscle separated from the bone) after the sixth game of the 2010 season. Rudolph closed his Irish career with 90 receptions for 1,032 yards and eight TDs. As long as the hamstring checks out medically, Rudolph has the ability to threaten the seam that is so coveted from tight ends in today's pass-heavy NFL. While he does have good size, he must prove he can get away from faster NFL linebackers.

32. Mike Pouncey
G, Florida, 6-4, 310, 1-2: After doing most everything with his twin brother growing up, Pouncey watched Maurkice leave Gainesville a year early and wind up as a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. To compound matters, Mike Pouncey was asked to slide over to center to fill in for his brother and struggled mightily early in the 2010 season. He might not replicate Maurkice's immediate success in the NFL, but Mike is a candidate to start for the next decade at any of the three interior line positions.

33. *Jon Baldwin
WR, Pittsburgh, 6-5, 230, 1-2: A standout as a freshman, he caught the attention of the NFL with 57 catches for 1,111 yards and eight touchdowns in 2009. He failed to build on those numbers in 2010, largely because of sporadic quarterback play. Baldwin makes highlight reels, but he also struggles with concentration and must answer questions about his straight-line speed.

34. *Aaron Williams
CB, Texas, 6-1, 195, 1-2: He plays a similar style to former Longhorns Cedric Griffin and Aaron Ross and has the requisite size and short-area quickness, though he lacks great physicality in his play. His career numbers include 106 tackles, four interceptions and 24 pass breakups.

35. Danny Watkins
G, Baylor, 6-4, 312, 1-2: Hailing from British Columbia, he grew up playing hockey and rugby before finding football in junior college. Watkins, 26, landed at Baylor and started all 25 games over two seasons at left tackle. Watkins' strength, agility and surprising technique for his limited experience will launch an NFL career, but it could be at guard because of his lack of ideal size.

36. Stephen Paea
DT, Oregon State, 6-1, 295, 1-2: He is a raw prospect. Born in New Zealand, Paea grew up in Tonga playing rugby and hoped to play professionally. His family moved to the USA when Paea was 16, and he wound up at Oregon State as a junior college transfer. Paea was a disruptive force for three years in Corvallis, and the wide-bodied run-stuffer is a two-time winner of the Morris Trophy as the Pac-10's most dominant defensive lineman.

37. *Ryan Williams
RB, Virginia Tech, 5-10, 205, 1-2: He took a significant risk declaring for the draft with his inconsistent football résumé. He earned first-team All-ACC honors in 2009 with 1,655 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns but regressed to 477 yards and nine scores while dealing with a hamstring injury last season. If 2009 is the barometer, Williams has the vision, acceleration and power to emerge as the top back in this class.

38. *Martez Wilson
ILB, Illinois, 6-4, 250, 1-2: He attacks gaps with aggression and is one of this draft's premier tacklers. Wilson doesn't deliver bone-jarring hits, but he would be a solid fit in a 3-4 scheme. His medical reports will be important after surgery on a herniated disk following the first game of the 2009 season.

39. Phil Taylor
DT, Baylor, 6-4, 337, 1-2: There are plenty of teams in desperate need of a massive nose tackle. Taylor fits that bill, which should help him overcome his dismissal from Penn State in 2008 after his alleged role in a fight in the student union. Taylor produced two solid seasons at Baylor, capped by 62 tackles and seven tackles for loss in 2010. Taylor has rare mobility for his size.

40. *Torrey Smith
WR, Maryland, 6-1, 205, 1-2: His first job is to distance himself from ex-Terrapins wideout and workout wonder Darrius Heyward-Bey. What Smith has going in his favor is a record-breaking career as a receiver and return man and a heaping of character praise from former coach Ralph Friedgen. Smith is electric with the ball in his hands and set Maryland's career all-purpose yardage record with 5,183 in three seasons.

41. Jabaal Sheard
DE, Pittsburgh, 6-3, 260, 1-2: Sheard earned first-team all-Big East honors in 2010 with 52 tackles, 14½ for loss, and nine sacks. He likely will remain a pass-rushing force in a 4-3 defense but could work as an outside linebacker in a 3-4. An assault arrest last summer will prompt in-depth questioning at the combine.

42. *Muhammad Wilkerson
DT, Temple, 6-5, 305, 1-2: The athleticism of this high school basketball star translates to the gridiron. Wilkerson dominated Mid-American Conference competition with his strength and surprising agility. He will get looks as a 3-4 defensive end and a 4-3 tackle.

43. Christian Ponder
QB, Florida State, 6-2, 222, 2: He has good size, mobility and arm strength. But what about reading defenses? Ponder graduated in less than three years and then earned his master of business. But a highly anticipated senior season was derailed by inconsistency and injuries. Ponder suffered a concussion in 2010 and has had two elbow surgeries to go with a separated right shoulder in 2009. He can regain a lot of his lost draft stock if he can show in pre-draft workouts that his arm strength is what it was in 2009.

44. Leonard Hankerson
WR, Miami (Fla.), 6-2, 205, 2: It took awhile before he could live up to early comparisons to former Hurricane Andre Johnson. Hankerson struggled with drops early in his career before seeking help from former Miami Dolphins star Mark Duper. The result was a far more reliable receiver in 2009 — and an explosive one in 2010. Hankerson's senior season ranked among the best in Miami history, and his 13 touchdown grabs broke Michael Irvin's single-season school record.

45. Christian Ballard
DL, Iowa, 6-4, 288, 2: He converted to defensive end from tight end as a freshman and eventually matriculated inside, where he could best take advantage of his size and quickness. Ballard didn't make a lot of big-time plays as a three-year starter, but many scouts will see him as a potential 3-4 end.

46. Luke Stocker
TE, Tennessee, 6-5, 255, 2: He is one of the few potential starters out of a weak tight end class. His experience in a pro-style offense and consistent production boost his stock. Working against him: He's a good, but not great, receiving threat who needs to improve his blocking.

47. Rodney Hudson
G, Florida State, 6-2, 291, 2: An All-American who allowed 1½ sacks and drew one penalty flag in 34 starts, Hudson was a rock for the Seminoles and has been earning national honors since his freshman season. His lack of size could predicate a move to center.

48. Bruce Carter
OLB, North Carolina, 6-3, 235, 2: A running quarterback, safety and running back in high school, all signs pointed toward NFL stardom as Carter amassed 133 tackles and 18½ tackles for loss while starting all 26 games as a sophomore and junior. Then came the agent scandal that rocked the program and left the Butkus Award finalist without some of his talented defensive mates. Carter was tracking toward a very productive senior season when he suffered a season-ending knee injury that required reconstructive surgery in December. Carter is an explosive athlete, but it's unlikely he'll be able to work out for scouts before the draft.

49. Drake Nevis
DT, LSU, 6-1, 285, 2: He earned second-team Associated Press All-America honors in 2010. Despite starting 18 career games, he ranks ninth in school history with 31½ tackles for loss. He was the most dominating SEC defensive lineman not named Nick Fairley, and his powerful frame makes him a nightmare to block one-on-one.

50. Benjamin Ijalana
OL, Villanova, 6-4, 320, 2: Started all 53 career games as a three-time all-Colonial Athletic Association performer and two-time consensus All-American. He was so dominating that Ijalana was the only Football Championship Subdivision player to make the Outland Trophy watch list. But a sports hernia robbed him of participating in the Senior Bowl. A left tackle for the Wildcats, Ijalana has to prove he can handle the speed of tougher competition.

51. Jason Pinkston
T, Pittsburgh, 6-3, 313, 2: He is the cousin of former Philadelphia Eagles wideout Todd Pinkston and is a converted defensive lineman. He earned first-team All-Big East honors at left tackle each of the last two years. While he has the feet to earn an NFL paycheck at tackle, he'll likely have to move back to the right side to capitalize on his strength.

52. Marcus Cannon
T, TCU, 6-5, 350, 2: He has surprising athleticism for his size but must handle the speed of NFL defensive ends. The more likely scenario is a move inside, where he can really rely on his size and strength.

53. Stefen Wisniewski
OL, Penn State, 6-3, 306, 2: He embodies many of the traits of his uncle, eight-time Pro Bowl guard Steve Wisniewski. His father, Leo, played three seasons for the Baltimore Colts. Stefen plays with similar fire, strength and athleticism. A repeat all-Big Ten player at guard, he is expected to play center in the NFL.

54. Jerrel Jernigan
WR, Troy, 5-9, 190, 2: A three-time first-team all-Sun Belt performer, he had many of his best games against SEC teams. That should help ease concerns about his level of competition, though an ankle injury kept him from playing in the Senior Bowl. Jernigan is the Sun Belt's all-time leader in receiving yards (3,128), receptions (262) and all-purpose yards (5,971). His size is a detriment, but Jernigan added bulk during his time at Troy to help combat press coverage. He has an outstanding burst and brings immediate big-play ability to the return game.

55. Davon House
CB, New Mexico State, 6-0, 184, 2: He started 13 games as a freshman and quickly emerged as one of the top cover men in the Western Athletic Conference. House is better suited as a press corner with his height and speed. If he turns in blazing 40 times at the combine, House could see his draft stock rise.

56. Quinton Carter
FS, Oklahoma, 6-1, 211, 2: He is an excellent athlete who needed time to find a position. A high school quarterback and basketball player, Carter graduated a semester early so he could get to Norman and show off his 4.5 speed in the 40-yard run and his 37-inch vertical leap. It took a while, but he finally emerged as a full-time starter in 2009 and was the team's second-leading tackler. That was a prelude to his All-Big 12 first-team performance as a senior, as Carter finished with 217 career tackles. In a weak safety class, Carter could stand out because he can play either position. He has the rare ability to support the run, play center field and line up in man-to-man coverage at times.

57. Curtis Brown
CB, Texas, 6-0, 180, 2: It took awhile to prove he was more than an exceptional athlete wearing a football helmet. Brown's initial value in the NFL will be as a versatile special-teams performer, but he has the speed and size to warrant a starting job on defense in a year or two.

58. Greg Jones
ILB, Michigan State, 6-0, 240, 2: He is the first Spartan to earn consensus first-team All-America honors since Bubba Smith and George Webster in 1965-66. Jones closed his career as a three-time first-team All-Big Ten pick and is second in school history with 46½ tackles for loss. To have a similar impact in the NFL, he will have to prove that his small frame can hold up. There is a chance Jones could line up outside to capitalize on his speed.

59. DeAndre McDaniel
SS, Clemson, 6-0, 213, 2: A troubled childhood was a precursor to an aggravated assault charge in 2008. But McDaniel emerged as an honor-roll student and team captain by 2009. He plays with excellent instincts, which allowed the Clemson coaching staff to turn him loose and focus on flying toward the line of scrimmage and making impact plays in the backfield. His experience as a linebacker-safety hybrid shows in run support, but he's not a liability in coverage.

60. Kendall Hunter
RB, Oklahoma State, 5-7, 199, 2: He made an immediate impact with a 6.5-yard average as a freshman, and he went on to finish fourth in school history with 4,181 career rushing yards. An injury-plagued junior season concerns scouts. Hunter could prove a big-play complement in a shared backfield role, but he lacks the size and strength to be an every-down back.

61. Allen Bailey
DE, Miami (Fla.), 6-3, 278, 2: He was recruited as a linebacker, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Ray Lewis. But he continued to bulk up and started four games at defensive end in 2008 and started to see time inside as a junior. He matched previous career highs with 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks as a senior. Scouts know he's versatile; what they don't know is where Bailey fits best — and more important, if he will be a difference-maker.

62. Marvin Austin
DT, North Carolina, 6-2, 312, 2-3: The only player actually kicked off the team following the Tar Heels' agent scandal, he has never been touted for his team-first approach. That's a significant amount of baggage to overcome, even for a prospect with first-round talent. Austin registered 42 tackles, six for loss, and four sacks during his junior season, which proved to be his last in Chapel Hill. He has a good burst and ability to get into the backfield.

63. D.J. Williams
TE, Arkansas, 6-2, 236, 2-3: The active NCAA leader in catches (147) and receiving yards (1,817) by a tight end, Williams lacks the size to be an every-down contributor in the NFL. But he's a tenacious blocker who should stick as an H-back.

64. Titus Young
WR, Boise State, 5-11, 174, 2-3: The three-time first-team All-WAC pick appears to move effortlessly and runs crisp routes, but he has a slight frame that will take a beating in the NFL. He has the ability to be a big-play threat and is a potential nightmare in the slot. Young closed his career as Boise State's all-time leader with 3,063 receiving yards.
Harper is the executive editor of NFLDraftScout.com

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