Saturday, March 19, 2011

2011 NFL Draft - Prospect Rankings Update

Here’s another update; minimal changes. I’ll probably do this once more right before the draft.

1 – Jake Locker (Washington)
2 – Christian Ponder (FSU)
3 – Blaine Gabbert (Missouri)
4 – Ryan Mallett (Arkansas)
5 – Colin Kaepernick (Nevada)
6 – Cam Newton (Auburn)
7 – Andy Dalton (TCU)
8 – Ricky Stanzi (Iowa)
9 – Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech) (up 1)
10 – Greg McElroy (Alabama) (up 1)
11 – Pat Devlin (Delaware) (down 2)

1 – Mikel Leshoure (Illinois)
2 – Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech)
3 – Mark Ingram (Alabama)
4 – Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State) (up 3)
5 – Jordan Todman (Connecticut) (down 1)
6 – DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma) (down 1)
7 – Shane Vereen (California) (down 1)
8 – Derrick Locke (Kentucky)
9 – Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State)
10 – Daniel Thomas (Kansas State)
11 – Bilal Powell (Louisville)
12 – Delone Carter (Syracuse)
13 – Graig Cooper (Miami)
14 – Jamie Harper (Clemson)
15 – Stevan Ridley (LSU) (up 2)
16 – Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska) (up 2)
17 – Da’Rel Scott (Maryland) (up 3)
18 – Taiwan Jones (Eastern Washington) (down 1)
19 – Noel Devine (West Virginia) (down 4)
20 – Dion Lewis (Pittsburgh) (down 4)

1 – AJ Green (Georgia)
2 – Julio Jones (Alabama)
3 – Torrey Smith (Maryland)
4 – Randall Cobb (Kentucky) (up 1)
5 – Titus Young (Boise State) (down 1)
6 – Leonard Hankerson (Miami)
7 – Jonathan Baldwin (Pittsburgh)
8 – Jerrel Jernigan (Troy)
9 – Greg Little (UNC)
10 – Austin Pettis (Boise State)
11 – Dwayne Harris (ECU)
12 – Vincent Brown (San Diego State)
13 – Niles Paul (Nebraska)
14 – Terrance Toliver (LSU)
15 – Tandon Doss (Indiana)
16 – Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union)
17 – Ronald Johnson (USC)
18 – Greg Salas (Hawaii)
19 – Darvin Adams (Auburn)
20 – Ryan Whalen (Stanford)

1 – DJ Williams (Arkansas)
2 – Kyle Rudolph (Notre Dame)
3 – Luke Stocker (Tennessee)
4 – Lance Kendricks (Wisconsin)
5 – Rob Housler (FAU)
6 – Virgil Green (Nevada)
7 – Mike McNeill (Nebraska)
8 – Andre Smith (Virginia Tech)
9 – Weslye Saunders (*South Carolina)
10 – Charlie Gantt (Michigan State)

1 – Anthony Castonzo (Boston College)
2 – Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin)
3 – Derek Sherrod (Mississippi State)
4 – Tyron Smith (USC)
5 – Nate Solder (Colorado)
6 – Benjamin Ijalana (T/G, Villanova)
7 – Joseph Barksdale (LSU)
8 – Jason Pinkston (T/G, Pittsburgh)
9 – DeMarcus Love (T/G, Arkansas)
10 – James Carpenter (T/G, Alabama) (up 3)
11 – Marcus Gilbert (Florida) (down 1)
12 – Chris Hairston (Clemson) (down 1)
13 – James Brewer (Indiana) (down 1)
14 – Derek Newton (Arkansas State)

1 – Rodney Hudson (G, FSU)
2 – Mike Pouncey (G, Florida)
3 – Stefen Wisniewski (C, Penn State)
4 – Danny Watkins (G/T, Baylor)
5 – Marcus Cannon (G/T, TCU)
6 – John Moffitt (G, Wisconsin)
7 – Lee Ziemba (G/T, Auburn)
8 – Clint Boling (G, Georgia)
9 – Orlando Franklin (G/T, Miami) (up 1)
10 – Will Rackley (G, Lehigh) (down 1)
11 – Stephen Schilling (G, Michigan)
12 – Tim Barnes (C, Missouri)
13 – Kristofer O’Dowd (C, USC) (up 1)
14 – Jake Kirkpatrick (C, TCU) (down 1)
15 – Justin Boren (G, Ohio State)
16 – Bryant Browning (G, Ohio State)

1 – Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson)
2 – Robert Quinn (UNC)
3 – JJ Watt (Wisconsin)
4 – Cameron Jordan (California)
5 – Justin Houston (DE/OLB, Georgia) (up 1)
6 – Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) (up 1)
7 – Adrian Clayborn (Iowa) (down 2)
8 – Cameron Heyward (Ohio State)
9 – Christian Ballard (DT/DE, Iowa)
10 – Jabaal Sheard (Pittsburgh)
11 – Allen Bailey (Miami)
12 – Greg Romeus (Pittsburgh)
13 – Pernell McPhee (Mississippi State)
14 – Sam Acho (Texas)
15 – Markus White (FSU) (up 2)
16 – Cliff Matthews (DE/OLB, South Carolina) (down 1)
17 – Pierre Allen (Nebraska) (down 1)

1 – Marcell Dareus (Alabama)
2 – Nick Fairley (Auburn)
3 – Corey Liuget (Illinois)
4 – Stephen Paea (Oregon State)
5 – Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple) (up 2)
6 – Phil Taylor (Baylor)
7 – Marvin Austin (UNC) (up 2)
8 – Drake Nevis (LSU) (down 3)
9 – Jurrell Casey (USC) (down 1)
10 – Jarvis Jenkins (Clemson)
11 – Sione Fua (Stanford)
12 – Lawrence Guy (Arizona State)
13 – Jerrell Powe (Mississippi)
14 – Ian Williams (Notre Dame)
15 – Kendrick Ellis (Hampton)

OLB (4-3 and 3-4)
1 – Von Miller (Texas A&M)
2 – Aldon Smith (DE/OLB, Missouri)
3 – Bruce Carter (UNC; inj.) (up1)
4 – Brooks Reed (DE/OLB, Arizona) (up 3)
5 – Akeem Ayers (UCLA) (down 2)
6 – Dontay Moch (DE/OLB, Nevada)
7 – Jeremy Beal (DE/OLB, Oklahoma) (down 2)
8 – Mason Foster (Washington) (up 1)
9 – Mark Herzlich (Boston College) (down 1)
10 – Ross Homan (Ohio State) (up 3)
11 – Lawrence Wilson (Connecticut)
12 – KJ Wright (Mississippi State)
13 – Colin McCarthy (Miami) (down 3)
14 – Chris Carter (DE/OLB, Fresno State)
15 – Doug Hogue (Syracuse)
16 – Wayne Daniels (DE/OLB, TCU)
17 – Thomas Keiser (Stanford)

1 – Nate Irving (NC State) (up 2)
2 – Greg Jones (Michigan State) (down 1)
3 – Quan Sturdivant (UNC) (down 1)
4 – Martez Wilson (Illinois)
5 – Kelvin Sheppard (LSU)
6 – Casey Matthews (Oregon)
7 – Mike Mohamed (California)
8 – Josh Bynes (Auburn)
9 – Alex Wujciak (Maryland)
10 – Chris White (Mississippi State)

I’m still going to leave Jones and Sturdivant at ILB even though I think they’re both likely to have better success on the outside of a 4-3 scheme, but since I think Irving is the top pure MLB prospect, he’s finally headed to the top of the list.

1 – Patrick Peterson (LSU)
2 – Prince Amukamara (Nebraska)
3 – Jimmy Smith (Colorado)
4 – Ras-I Dowling (Virginia)
5 – Aaron Williams (Texas)
6 – Rashad Carmichael (Virginia Tech)
7 – Brandon Harris (Miami)
8 – Davon House (New Mexico State)
9 – Curtis Brown (Texas)
10 – Chimdi Chekwa (Ohio State) (up 4)
11 – Jalil Brown (Colorado) (up 2)
12 – Johnny Patrick (Louisville) (down 2)
13 – Brandon Burton (Utah) (down 1)
14 – Marcus Gilchrist (Clemson) (up 1)
15 – Shareece Wright (USC) (up 1)
16 – Kendrick Burney (North Carolina) (down 5)

1 – Deunta Williams (UNC; inj.)
2 – Quinton Carter (Oklahoma)
3 – Rahim Moore (UCLA)
4 – DeAndre McDaniel (Clemson)
5 – Tyler Sash (Iowa) (up 1)
6 – Robert Sands (West Virginia) (down 1)
7 – Ahmad Black (Florida)
8 – Jeron Johnson (Boise State)
9 – Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple)
10 – Jermale Hines (Ohio State)


  1. The players who were not invited to the Senior Bowl and also not invited to the NFL Combine should be ranked lower throughout. They are "not invited" for a reason.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Anonymous.

    As always, these rankings are an indication of my level of confidence in their professional potential, not an attempt to predict their order of selection.

    Do I believe that some lesser known players will outperform some of the more popular prospects? Absolutely. It happens every year.

  3. I will assume the first post was meant as a wry comment about the uncertainties in the talent evaluation process.

    Anyhow, you are pretty much on an island about Jake Locker (on the high end) and Cam Newton (on the low). I bet for most people it would be closer to the reverse (although, I bet it wouldnt be as dramatic a reversal among professional scouts) but good on you for sticking to your guns. The thing is, I watch Jake Locker play and the name "Derek Anderson" pops into my head.

    I can't justifialby call you out for homerism on Ponder. Over a month ago I wrote to a famed local talk radio host that someone at the Sr. Bowl was going to fall in love with him and take him in the 2nd round. His position in the pro game is moving towards guys like him; smart guys with pass first instincts and small area athleticism.

    Do you remember a few years ago when the top receivers coming out were guys like Limas Sweed, Devin Thomas and Malcom Kelly that haven't done squat in the NFL? That running back list reminds me of that year; is there really a guy that you would think to take with, say, a top 15 pick? Not me. In retrospect though, DeSean Jackson was probably worth a top five the hell did he drop to the middle of the second?

    You have Nate Solder pretty low; I've seen a couple of mocks having him going to the Pats or Giants right above us, and I didn't see a run on tackles before his name came up. What flaws do you see in his game that has you dropping him to five at his position?

    The Bucs...or should I say the stars of the 2012 Hard Knocks show as seen on HBO...are going to take Mark Herzlich in the third round, thus sealing Barrett Ruuds fate.


  4. Hey, TPE.

    Yeah, as I said in my initial rankings, I’m really not sold on any of these guys as a franchise QB. Locker tops the list for me because I think his best football is ahead of him. He has all the skills, and I’m counting on those skills to really shine with an improved supporting cast. Newton is toxic IMO, and there’s just too much love for too little output with Gabbert. I like Gabbert’s chances of professional success better than Newton’s, but I need to see him be forced to make decisions and choose wisely, regularly.

    I’ve always been higher on Ponder as a pro than most folks because, as you point out, he has the smarts and athleticism to be successful starter. You mention the second round, but there’s buzz he could sneak into the first. He’d make a hell of a lot of sense in Cincinnati with their new WCO if he gets past the Bills at #34. I have Mallett going to the Bengals in the last mock, but that will change in my next one. He’s certainly not a WCO guy.

    Of those receivers, Thomas is the only one I liked because I thought he has some speed, strength, and quickness to be a big factor in the vertical game. That obviously didn’t pan out. You’re right, with this year’s backs. There’s no Adrian Peterson, but I think the overall talent is a lot better than it’s been the last couple of years. I like the quantity of backs that could be key producers in the pros. Leshoure, Williams, and Ingram are clearly the top three down backs, and I think each of them has a chance to be as productive as Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, and Cedric Benson, the 2nd, 4th, and 5th, overall picks of the 2005 draft. Then you’ve got guys like Hunter, Vereen, Todman, and Locke that could be really dynamic in tandem with a bigger back. I’m not high on Daniel Thomas, but he has the body of a pro. I like Murray, but you’ll get a lot of variance in his pro projection. Guys like Powell, Carter, Helu, Scott, and Cooper have a chance to be value picks later on in the draft.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I think Solder has a long way to go to be a solid NFL LT. He’s best assets are his size and athleticism, but he doesn’t have the strength to get much of a drive as a run blocker and isn’t stout against someone who can pop him in the mouth and drive him back into the QB. If he gets bigger, does he lose too much quickness/athleticism? From my perspective, he’s too often poor in establishing a perimeter as a pass blocker. He’s quick, but he just doesn’t look like he knows what he’s doing. He lacks sufficient NFL upper body strength, and his technique needs a hell of a lot of work. Does he understand how to establish a pocket? I didn’t see him create a consistent bubble, and he let defenders too far inside on him. He has zero punch (can’t stun/slow a pass rusher) and gets very little push in the run game, but he is quick out of his stance and moves really well laterally. I noticed that he trailed his interior blockers quite a bit and too often on vertical run plays. If I’m an NFL GM, there’s no way I can take a top 20 chance on either him or Tyron Smith. I think they’re both being projected too high on potential.

    Yeah, I’m intrigued by the possibility of them being on Hard Knocks. On the pessimistic side, they would finally be mentioned in the season we’re going through a lockout. Herzlich isn’t on my radar for the Bucs, but they could do a hell of a lot worse in the leadership, character, and heart categories. I’ll be rooting for him wherever he ends up. Irving is obviously my favorite, and I like Mike Mohamed (Cal) as a later prospect. I just hope they’re not handing Tyron McKenzie the job and bypassing draft options.