The 2010 College Football season is getting closer and closer. We’ve got an early look at the 2011 NFL Draft, courtesy of National Scouting.
1) Prince Amukamara/CB/Nebraska/7.3
New Era: While Amukamara is a great cornerback, hands-down the best in college, he may not be the best prospect on his own team (DT Jared Crick may hold that honor). We like Amukamara, but this pre-season ranking is too high. We currently have him at #11.
2) Adrian Clayborn/DE/Iowa/7.3
New Era: There is a lot to like about Clayborn, and we could see him being the 1st pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He is a prototypical end, able to play in the 3-4 or 4-3. His talent and drive are unquestioned.
3) Mark Herzlich/OLB/Boston College/7.2
New Era: A great player, but his health is scary. Herzlich missed the ’09 season recovering from cancer, and while all reports are that he’s completely healthy, we are taking a wait-and-see approach here. During the ’08 season Herzlich was dominating, and if he returns to form his stock will rise this high.
4) Allen Bailey/DL/Miami-Fl/6.9
New Era: We like Bailey, but there are tackles that we like better. Bailey fits the 3-4 defense as an end with great size and speed. He is a throwback to the vintage “U” defensive lineman, and a definite top 10 pick.
5) Von Miller/OLB/Texas A&M/6.9
New Era: A pure pass rusher, Miller will shoot up draft boards. While talented, we do not feel he warrants a top 5 slot. A dominating senior season, and improved technique and hand use, could push Miller up the board. Pass rushers are always needed in the NFL, so do not be surprised to see him over-drafted.
6) Greg Romeus/DE/Pittbugh/6.8
New Era: Our #5 overall player, Romeus looks like a sure-thing at right end. He has the ideal size, strength and speed to really entice general managers and coaches. He has dominated the Big East as of late and is a preseason candidate for the Lott Troy, Lombardi Award and Nagurski Trophy.
7) Marvin Austin/DT/North Carolina/6.7
New Era: If it is possible for a top 10 player to be overlooked, Marvin Austin is just that. Austin is currently our #3 overall player. Our reasoning: He fits in every defense, can penetrate or stop the run, and has a motor that never stops. Austin is a serious candidate for the #1 overall slot in the 2011 draft.
8 ) Christian Ponder/QB/Florida State/6.7
New Era: Surprised? You should be. Ponder is a late-first round player to us, but the boys at National saw something they liked. In our defense, they really liked Chris Rix too. Ponder has impressive tools, but he’s too inconsistent for us. Maybe his senior season will be Carson Palmer-esque, but we cannot see him as a top 10 pick.
9) Jake Locker/QB/Washington/6.7
New Era: And here is our #1 player, way down at #9 for National. We love Locker’s athleticism, his moxie and his leadership ability. We also love that he has a rocket for an arm, very good short-to-mid accuracy and can stretch the field vertically. Throw in his 4.5 speed and ability to make plays with his feet and Locker looks like your #1 pick in the 2011 class.
10) Stephen Paea/DT/Oregon State/6.5
New Era: A little short and a little light (6’1, 288), but Paea has us intrigued. He sits currently at #7 overall, mostly because our belief that he can gain weight. NFL teams will love his ability as a one-gap penetrator, so look for a Cover 2 team to covet his ability early in round one.