95-99 Elite talent
90-95 Solid top 10 pick
85-90 Solid first round pick
80-85 Late 1st-early 2nd
75-80 Solid 2nd round pick
70-75 Solid 3rd round pick
65-70 3rd-4th round pick
60-65 4th-5th round pick
55-60 5th round pick
50-55 6th round pick
45-50 7th round pick
40-45 Undrafted, invite to training camp
30-40 Career practice squader
20-30 No NFL future
0-20 No football future
1. DT/3-4 DE Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska) 99
People who love stats get high off of Suh’s stat card. Over the last two years, Suh has 158 tackles, 19 sacks, 3 picks, and 2 touchdowns all as a 6-4 300 pound defensive tackle. He also led his team in pass breakups this year with 10. There’s a reason he received the most Heisman votes of any defensive lineman in NCAA Football history. Almost the size of some entertainment centers, he may be the most dominant defensive lineman of the decade. He can play both the 3-4 defensive end position and the 4-3 defensive tackle position. He will make a huge impact on the huge from the moment he enters the NFL. I can’t see him falling past the Lions at #2 and he could be the first defensive tackle to go #1 overall since Dan Wilkinson in 1994.
2. QB Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame) 98
Didn’t step up clutch in close games last year, but still had a hell of a statistical year for a mere junior throwing 28 touchdowns to 4 picks and averaging 8.8 YPA out of a pro style offense. It’s safe to say that while he lost a lot of close games, all 6 of his losses were by a touchdown or less, Notre Dame would have gotten destroyed without him. He played his best in big games and got absolutely no help from his defense. He has experience playing behind a poor offensively line, which he’ll likely have to do in the NFL if he goes top 5 as he’s projected, and he played most of last season through an injured foot, showing his toughness. He’s the top quarterback prospect in this draft class and gets a 98 rating. For the record, Matt Stafford got a 97 last year.
3. OT Russell Okung (Oklahoma State) 98
He’s got excellent footwork and good zone versatility. He has the agility, athleticism, and footwork to be an elite zone blocking left tackle, but he also has good strength, though not elite, and can take down defensive ends one-on-one. His footwork is his best attribute and he is strong as a run blocker and as a pass blocker.
4. S Eric Berry (Tennessee) 98
3/2/10: Of all the good things we could say about Berry, freakish athleticism was not one of them. That is no longer the case as he ran a 4.40 at 6-0 211, benching 19 reps, and flying 43 inches into the air. He’s still a risk in the top 3 because of his position. If he were drafted in the top 3, he’d absolutely have to be a perennial Pro Bowler, otherwise it was a waste of a pick. That being said, he’s one of the few safeties I’d say is deserving of a top 5 pick and if the Chiefs didn’t need a left tackle so badly, he’d be a lock to go 5th overall. He still could if Russell Okung is off the board at 5.
Berry didn’t have as many picks this year, 2, as he had in his first 2 years at Tennessee, 12, but that barely will effect his stock. He’s a real ballhawk in the defensive backfield and patrols zone very well with excellent instincts, but he also has above average coverage skills for a safety and has spent some time at cornerback, in addition to free safety and strong safety. He hits hard, but because of his size, 5-11 200, he projects as a free safety at the next level. In his NFL career he is going to break up plenty of passes, get plenty of tackles, picks, etc and could be the first defensive back to go in the top 3 the last 13 years this year if Tampa Bay falls in love with him.
5. DT/3-4 DE Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma) 96
If it weren’t for Suh, we’d all be singing McCoy’s praises right now. He would have been a lock first round pick last year and he came back and followed up his 6.5 sacks in 2008 with a repeat performance this year of 6.5 sacks. He is a top ten pick lock and could go in the top 3, along with Suh, the first time a defensive tackle has gone in the top 3 since 2000. He would be an ideal fit as a 4-3 one gap penetrator in a zone scheme defense but he can play the 3-4 as a defensive end and all 4-3 schemes.
6. QB Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) 92
4/9/10: Bradford looked great in his Pro Day, showing the stronger arm that it was predicted he would have when he showed up 15-20 pounds heavier to The Combine. The Rams have not announced him as the #1 pick, saying they are going to wait until his private workout with them on the 19th, but I would be very surprised if he wasn’t the pick and they didn’t have a contract in place with him before draft day on the 22nd.
2/26/10: It is reported that Bradford’s shoulder examination went excellent. I am also hearing that a dozen or possibly more NFL GMs were asked about Clausen and Bradford and all of them liked Bradford more. I still like Clausen more, but that won’t matter, if the Rams like him more. I haven’t made this decision final, but I think I could have Bradford atop my mock next week. He also bulked up from 218 to 236, a very impressive feat and necessary for someone whose arm strength was a question mark.
Quite the opposite of Clausen, he’s a proven winner with very mature decision making, but he doesn’t have Clausen’s arm or experience in a pro style offense. There’s no denying the season he had in 2008, but the fact that when Bradford got hurt this year, his freshman backup was actually able to put up close to similar numbers may show that Bradford is just a system quarterback. Then of course there’s his injured shoulder which is a red flag. He has a better arm than about 90% of the quarterbacks in this draft class, and his decision making is great, but there are some red flags here.
7. MLB Rolando McClain (Alabama) 92
3-4 middle linebackers prospects rarely go top 10, but McClain might be an exception. At age 21, McClain is drawing some pretty warranted, though still premature, comparisons to Ray Lewis. In 3 years, McClain has 270 tackles, 5 picks, and 8 sacks. Beyond the numbers, I haven’t seen a linebacker as big as him move as well as he does. At 258 pounds, he was able to chase Tim Tebow down from behind and he could run a low 4.6 40. He’s a huge thumper and a great fundamental tackler. 270 tackles in 3 years doesn’t seem like much for a middle linebacker, but when you consider he’s a 3-4 middle linebacker and those 3 years were freshman-junior and not sophomore-senior, that’s impressive. Of all I have seen of him, he hasn’t done one thing one. He drops back into coverage with great skill already at his young age and he’s a former defensive end so he’ll be excellent on blitz packages in the NFL. Because he already has experience in a 3-4, there will be no major learning curve for him when a 3-4 team drafts him, but I do have some concerns about which positions he can play in a 4-3. I’m pretty sure he’ll fit as a 4-3 middle linebacker, but not sure about 4-3 strong outside linebacker.
8. DE Derrick Morgan (Georgia Tech) 91
Great combination of size and speed, and more important an excellent motor and initial explosiveness. He had 12 sacks this year and was also strong against the run at 275 pounds. The only thing stopping him from being a top ten pick lock is the fact that he won’t transition well to a 3-4 scheme, though I wouldn’t be surprised if a team tried to convert him to a 3-4 rush linebacker, though that’d be a mistake. He still has a good shot of going in the top ten and I think he has top ten talent at a possession of huge value in the NFL.
9. CB Joe Haden (Florida) 91
4/9/10: Turns out that 4.57 40 from his Combine was a result of a sore back. Haden ran a 4.43 40 at his Pro Day, in the rain nonetheless, so I’ll move him back to his Pre-Combine status. He’s still, by far, my top cornerback.
3/2/10: Not going to knock him down too much, but the 4.57 at 5-11 193 hurts his chances to go in the top 10 as he competes with Derrick Morgan, Rolando McClain, and Jason Pierre Paul to go 7th to Cleveland. I do expect him to run a little better at his Pro Day, but really his lack of speed today can be attributed to his running style, which shouldn’t hurt him on the football field. He doesn’t have good track speed, but he has football speed.
A former quarterback and wide receiver, Haden has all of the physical tools necessary for the NFL and he showed this year that he can be an amazing shutdown corner. He plays with great physicality and strength and uses those to shutdown the opposing wide receiver. He doesn’t scream #1 corner at me just yet, but he’s only 20 and in his 3rd year playing the position so if his development continues as it should, the sky is the limit for him. He is good against the run and as a blitzer which are rare, but useful skills for a cornerback to have.
10. OT Charles Brown (USC) 88
2/25/10: He needed to measure in at over 300 to get drafted in the first round and after measuring in at 303, the former blocking tight end looks like a future franchise left tackle. The Seahawks may consider him at 14. He also had 35 ¼ inch arms which is good and I think, in terms of pure footwork, he’s the best left tackle in the draft class.
A former blocking tight end, who I believe will need to weigh in at least at 300 pounds to get drafted in the first round. Very few offensive tackles ever get drafted in the 1st round at less than 300 pounds. His first weigh in will be at the Senior Bowl next week so we’ll see how he weighs in. If he can bulk up to 305-310 pounds he could be a dominant left tackle at the next level. He has amazing footwork for his age and experience in a zone style blocking scheme at USC so he is going to be one of the more coveted left tackles by teams who use zone blocking schemes.
11. OLB/MLB Sean Weatherspoon (Missouri) 88
3/1/10: A very good day for him, shaving about .1 second off of his projected 40 time with a 4.57, and also recording a 40 inch vertical leap and 34 reps on the bench press.
1/30/10: If there were a co-MVP, it would be Weatherspoon. He played middle linebacker for most of the game and that was where he indicated in an interview that he has best fit, but he really can play any 4-3 linebacker position, in addition to 3-4 middle linebacker, because hustle and vocal leadership don’t necessarily have a position and those are his signature traits. His coaching staff was raving ability his leadership ability all week and his hustle showed through on the field. On one play, Weatherspoon, a 241 pound linebacker, ran step for step with Mississippi’s Dexter McCluster, a 5-8 165 running back/wide receiver who is projected to run a 40 in the 4.3s, and trapped him in the corner of the end zone and broke up and almost intercepted the pass. He also had a late interception. His efforts were a huge part of the North’s front 7 domination and I think he has solidified himself as a 1st round prospect.
12. QB Tim Tebow (Florida) 88
4/9/10: He didn’t look great in terms of throwing delivery at his Pro Day, but he certainly, mechanically looked a ton better than he did in the Senior Bowl and all last season. In fact, the work he has made on his throw is a huge testament to his amazing work ethic and love of the sport. He’s still a project and far from a finished project, but he has good upside and I think he has the work ethic to fulfill it. I don’t see why some places regard him as less than a 2nd round prospect.
1/30/10: Contrary to what the media is saying, Tebow did not struggle in the Senior Bowl, in fact, his Senior Bowl was painfully neutral. I say painfully because I wanted him to either show me he’s not a true quarterback or that he is, but he did neither. He didn’t make a ton of tough throws, although he threw one impressive curl, and he completed 8 (should have been 9 if it weren’t for an easy drop) out of his 12 throws, but he was operating with Miami’s playbook which is one of the most college esque playbooks in the NFL. Basically, he was playing with the same Florida playbook he was comfortable and we didn’t get to see him be challenged by a pro style offense. So, basically, I learned nothing about Tebow in his Senior Bowl.
Showed in the Sugar Bowl his ability to throw the football and step up in big games by throwing more touchdowns than incompletions, but his mechanics are still poor. However, I don’t believe he has a single mechanical issue that can’t be fixed at the next level and he’s an extremely hard worker. His intangibles are off the chart. Right now the #10 pick is his to lose, based off of the comments Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver made about him earlier this season, so he’ll need to step it up once again in the Senior Bowl.
13. WR Damian Williams (USC) 87
Doesn’t get the big hype of guys like Dez Bryant and Golden Tate, but I think he’s the best overall wide receiver in this draft class because he possesses two traits, in addition to his natural athleticism, that very few wide receivers his age do, good route running, and a humble personality. He really knows how to get open and catch the ball at the best possible point and he’s not one to complain if a quarterback doesn’t throw to him. He’d be a perfect fit for a west coast offense and he can also return punts. He hasn’t been off the charts in terms of production, but he’s led the Trojans in catches and receiving yards in each of the last two years and had 70 catches for 1010 yards and 6 touchdowns this year in a pro style offense, despite having a true freshman at quarterback.
14. DE/RLB Brandon Graham (Michigan) 87
3/1/10: Graham wasn’t expected to run well but a 4.69 40 at 6-1 268 showing some surprisingly athleticism. He also put up 31 reps of 225 pounds.
1/30/10: Graham had a huge Senior Bowl week. It started out bad when he measured up at just over 6 feet and with the shortest arms of any defensive lineman, but he really impressed in practice and even more so in the game. He won Senior Bowl MVP with 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, a tackle for a loss, and 5 tackles. He was disruptive on almost every play and had more signature plays than any other player. He really hustled and earned a lot of praise from the commentators. He chased down Jarrett Brown, the fastest quarterback on either roster, from behind, something that will only show up on the stat sheet as a tackle. He’s a former linebacker, with an excellent motor and an excellent pass rushing repertoire, but he’s also extremely stout and disruptive against the run. He can play both 4-3 left end and 4-3 right end, in addition to rush linebacker. The commentators compared him to LaMarr Woodley of the Pittsburgh Steelers and I think that comparison is dead on. I think he cemented himself as a 1st round pick.
1/27/10: Measuring in at just over 6 feet at his weigh in isn’t good, but he’s making scouts forget about his lack of height, with his play at practice this week. He has a very solid base and looks like a legitimate defensive line player in the NFL. His form against the run needs to be improved, but he has shown great speed rushing moves in addition to being one of the best young bull rushers at the Senior Bowl. If he can impress in coverage, he could be a 1st round pick as either a defensive end or rush linebacker.
With 29 sacks in the last 3 years against Big 10 competition, Graham is a pass rushing machine, but despite his size, he isn’t great against the run. He’s best fit as a rush linebacker at the next level and I can’t see him fitting all schemes. His 40 time isn’t great either so he’ll be viewed as a bit of a tweener by the scouts and that could drop him down in the 3rd round. He has first round upside as a rush linebacker though despite his lack of height and timed speed, assuming he can transition to a new position well and hold up in pass coverage.
15. RB Jahvid Best (California) 87
2/28/10: Jahvid Best just ran faster than CJ Spiller (4.35 compared to 4.37). Now what is Spiller better at? Best is the more complete back of the two, the only thing that Spiller could really say was that his speed was on another level. Now that doesn’t appear to be the case. Best is a better between the tackles runner, he’s more explosive. The only real thing Spiller does better is catch passes. I have compared Spiller to a gimmick weapon type guy like Reggie Bush all along and Best to a speed feature back like Jamaal Charles. In a few years, when Best is the better runner, you heard it here. Yet despite all this, Spiller is getting more hype because of his “unofficial” 4.27. It’s unofficial for a reason.
He could fall below CJ Spiller in the draft because of his concussion late in the season, but he’s a more complete player than Spiller. He’s got more explosive legs, he’s a better runner in between the tackles, and his 40 time is probably going to be faster. They are comparable players in terms of pure speed, but Spiller is more of a straight line runner while Best has better running back skills like initial explosion and good change of direction.
16. S Earl Thomas (Texas) 87
Undersized and has poor tackling form, but he hits hard and his fundamental tackling issues can be corrected. He’s only 20 years old, but he had 8 picks this year showing his ballhawking abilities as a free safety. He has decent coverage skills too and could be looked at as a cornerback, though he has more value as a safety. His only issue will be at 5-11 190, fighting through the physicality at the line of scrimmage on running plays, and also, as is the case for someone who plays as wildly as he does at a small size, injuries in the future could be a concern.
17. OT Bruce Campbell (Maryland) 87
2/27/10: The 6-6 314 pound left tackle just ran a 4.78. In all honesty, this barely moves him up in my book, but after running a 4.78, measuring in with 36 inch arms, jumping 38 inches, and benching 225 pounds 34 times, Campbell has been the star of the combine. He should buy his house in Oakland now because I know somewhere Al Davis just shit his diaper.
2/25/10: After measuring in at 6-6 314 with 36 ¼ inch arms and benching 225 pounds 34 times, Campbell is making his case as the most athletic NFL draft prospect. If he runs a sub 5 at the combine, Al Davis could pull the trigger on him at 8. He still has questions about inconsistency and injuries in his past, but I think he’s shedding the label of “soft.”
If scouts can look past his history of injuries, he could get drafted in the top ten, but I don’t think they will be able to, so he could slip. He’d be best fit in a zone blocking scheme and he has amazing athleticism, but I haven’t seen it brought out of him enough yet for me to consider him a top ten pick. However, that 4.95 40 at 6-7 315 could turn heads, especially Al Davis’ head, unless he can’t turn his head without it falling off.
18. NT Terrence Cody (Alabama) 87
2/27/10: Cody weighed in at 370 at his Senior Bowl weigh in after promising he’d be at 355 and his stock lowered. Cody weighed in at 354 today at the combine. He still needs to lose some weight, but I think I can move him back up a little after dropping him following the Senior Bowl. If you’ve ever seen this guy play, he might be the most agile 354 pound man you’ve ever seen.
1/26/10: He is a large man. One can only hope he keeps his shirt on when he runs the 40 at the combine.
He may only be a two down nose tackle in the NFL, but so are Kris Jenkins and Jamal Williams and most are hugely important to their teams success. With so many teams switching to the 3-4 defense and so few of them having true 3-4 nose tackles, Cody could be a hot commodity this year going as high as 5 to the Chiefs and I think no lower than #29 to the Chargers.
19. WR Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State) 86
4/9/10: Bryant’s measurables and workout in the positional drills, especially after basically a year off of football, were really impressive considering he was wearing brand new cleats that had not been broken in before. However, when you consider that the reason he did not have cleats is because he “forgot,” it’s hard to consider this pro day a success. He is known for having mental lapses on the field, and dropped a few catchable balls today, so forgetting something as important as your cleats cancels out the good that the strong workout did, especially when it’s something as important of your Pro Day after being suspended a whole year for something stupid. He really did not seem to get the importance of this day.
Suspended for something bizarre, but that shouldn’t hurt his draft stock too much. The character red flags are there and he doesn’t always seem to have his head in the game. He drops way too many passes and isn’t a good route runner, but he’s going to be an excellent #2 deep threat at the next level at worst. He has an amazing size, speed combination and is extremely dangerous in the open field.
20. NT/DT Dan Williams (Tennessee) 86
1/30/10: Williams was a big disruptive force all game and really pushed the defensive line back in a big way. However, what really impressed me is, at 325 pounds, how mobile he is. He moved around great and actually covered a running back and prevented him from catching the ball out of the backfield. He also had a pass deflection. He can play any scheme, unlike Terrence Cody. He’s big enough to play 3-4, but also fast and agile enough to play defensive tackle in a 4-3, and he actually has experience in a cover 2 scheme at Tennessee so, despite his size, he can play that scheme at the next level. I can’t see him falling past Tennessee at 16, who needs a big defensive tackle to play in their cover 2 defense. I currently have him ranked as the top nose tackle ahead of Terrence Cody because of his scheme versatility, even though Cody is a better natural run stopper. Cody also weighed in at 15 pounds higher than expected at his weigh in which is not good.
Williams is the more versatile of the two elite nose tackle prospects this year as he can also play 4-3 defensive tackle and is a true 3 down nose tackle. He moves extremely well for his size and gets a great push up front, but he is nowhere near as physically dominant as Cody.
21. TE Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma) 86
2/27/10: After his 4.76 40, questions about the health of his knee have resurfaced. That’s the last thing Gresham wants to happen at this point. 4.76 isn’t awful, but he was expected to run at least .1 to .15 seconds faster so this is a bit concerning.
Despite being injured all season, he’s still an elite tight end at the next level. Assuming his knee holds up strong through the combine and in team workouts, he’s a lock to be the first tight end off the board and a first round pick. He’s big, 6-6 260, and fast mid 4.6 40, and has amazingly soft hands. He’s not afraid to go over the middle and he’d be a welcome target for any quarterback in the league. He put together one of the greatest statistical seasons ever by a tight end in 2008 with 66 catches for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns and would have been the first tight end off the board in 2008 had he declared.
22. OT Bryan Bulaga (Iowa) 86
A very athletic offensive tackle who has had some trouble with injuries in the past, but he has the ability to play both left and right tackle at the next level. He moves well for his size and has big upside, but too often gets knocked over and doesn’t use his size with good leverage.
23. DT/3-4 DE Jared Odrick (Penn State) 85
1/27/10: After Suh and McCoy go off the board early, Odrick makes a great case to be the next 3-4 defensive end chosen by displaying great agility, size, and hand use this week. He could also push Brian Price to be the 3rd defensive tackle chosen as well.
Very good agility for his size and good use of his hands to shed blockers, but a DUI back in March of 2009 could hurt his stock. He fits one gap penetrating schemes and also as a 3-4 defensive end. I think he actually would be better at the next level as a 3-4 defensive end which is good because a ton of teams have switched to the 3-4 lately creating a bigger need for natural 3-4 defensive ends like Odrick.
24. DT/3-4 Brian Price (UCLA) 85
Burst onto the scene with 7 sacks as a junior this year and should be able to turn that into a first round selection. He may be a bit of a one hit wonder, but if he continues his physical dominance at the next level, he will be a very solid player in the NFL as either a 4-3 defensive tackle or 3-4 defensive end.
25. DE/RLB Everson Griffen (USC) 85
3/1/10: Griffen put on about 10 pounds this season bulking up to 273 and there were some concerns about how he would carry the weight. After he ran a 4.64 40 today, those concerns should be gone. He also put up 32 reps of 225 pounds.
It’ll be interesting to see what he runs at the combine. He’s rumored to be able to run a 4.5 40, but he also put on 10 pounds of muscle this season so I’m not sure he can still run that fast. If he can, his stock could soar even though he never really did anything of note at USC in 3 seasons. 7 sacks this year after 9 combined in his first two years show good improvement and his run blocking form got a lot better this season with the added weight, but if his 40 time suffers, he may only be looked at as a left end, rather than a right end or rush linebacker. He’s still a major project either way.
Go on to 26-50