2011 NFL Draft: Top 25 Prospects

Big Board

1. Dequan Bowers DE

2. Andrew Luck QB

3. Marcell Dareus DT

4. Nick Fairley DT

5. Prince Amukamara CB

6. Patrick Peterson CB

7. A.J. Green WR

8.Robert Quinn DE

9. Adrian Clayborn DE

10. Ryan Kerrigan DE

I think Luck will probably be the top pick in the draft, but I rate Bowers as a better prospect. He is a complete defensive end, one in the mold of Julius Peppers and Mario Williams. Luck is a fantastic prospect, but I feel the uncertainty of quarterbacks is enough to keep him out of the top spot. Dareus and Fairley are both excellent defensive tackle prospects, with Fairley more of a pass rusher and Dareus better all-around. Dareus gets the nod for me here because I think he is a better fit at 3-4 end than Fairley, giving him better value to more teams. Fairley should do well as a 3-4 end, but Dareus is a notch above. Both Amukamara and Peterson project as shut down corners, with Peterson having more upside as a play-maker (including a kick returner) and Amukamara the better cover guy. While it is close between them I’ll go with Amukamara and his superior cover skills to translate to the NFL. Green is a good receiver prospect, and he really came on this season to earn the top wideout spot in a deep class. Clayborn is not as dominate and complete a player as Bowers, but he is an impressive prospect. Although he has the size for the 3-4 end, I think his best value comes as a 4-3 end. Kerrigan and Quinn profile as either a 3-4 rush linebacker or a 4-3 end. Either way they should be a dominate pass rushers.

11. Stephen Paea DT

12. Von Miller OLB

13. Janoris Jenkins CB

14. Allen Bailey DE

15. Cameron Heyward DE

16. Jonathan Baldwin WR

17. Ryan Mallett QB

18. Anthony Castonzo OT

19. Gabe Carimi OT

20. Justin Blackmon WR

Paea is one of my favorite players in this draft class, because he seems to possess exceptional football instincts and is a tireless worker. He profiles really well as a 4-3 DT and seems capable of handling the 3-4 end position as well (though wouldn’t be as highly ranked). Miller reminds me some of Clay Matthews Jr. as a rush linebacker only, who gets after the quarterback with reckless abandon. Jenkins is quietly creeping up draft boards and should be an excellent number 1 corner. Bailey and Heyward continue a deep and impressive DE class. Both project best as a 3-4 end, and Bailey could even project as a DT in a Cover Two type of system. Baldwin is a receiver who doesn’t get enough hype, but I think will be a very good number 1 in the NFL. I know most people have Mallett in the top 10 (and he could be drafted there) but he simply isn’t that complete of a prospect. Castanzo and Carimi are both very good tackle prospects. In fact I think Carimi is the most ready offensive tackle in this draft, though he projects more of a right tackle only. In fact it wouldn’t shock me to see him fall into the 2nd round, since he isn’t a good fit for the blindside. Justin Blackmon is flying up draft boards and when it is all said and done he could be a top 15 pick. He isn’t as big as some of the top receivers in this class, but he still has very good size.

21. Cameron Jordan DE

22. Tyron Smith OT

23. Cam Newton QB

24. Julio Jones WR

25. Brandon Harris CB

Jordan is very similar to Bailey and Heyward and projects best as a 3-4 end. Given team needs he (as well as the rest of them) could fall some in the draft, but he is a very good prospect. Smith has played right tackle throughout his college career, but has the athletic ability to move to the left side. He lacks good bulk, but my guess is he will work with a trainer to add some weight and still maintain is agility. If he can do that then he should be able to handle both speed and power rushers on the blind side. Newton is the man everyone will be talking about come draft day and he could find his way into the top 10. Right now I’m not sure it is fully warranted considering the offense he was in at Auburn. While I’d say all the quarterbacks need to sit for at least half the season next year (though I’m sure they won’t), Newton is the type who might need to sit for two full years. His potential is that of a Franchise quarterback, but I think he is farther away from reaching that (or even being a great quarterback) than some of the other ones. For me Jones put together a nice season, in an offense that doesn’t fully showcase his talents. I don’t know if he can ever be a number 1, but he should be a very good number 2 receiver. Harris is a quick athletic corner, who rarely gets beat deep. He is still developing but should be able to start right away (though more as a number 2 corner).


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