Wednesday, April 21, 2010


ACC DRAFT PREVIEW-By William Queen for Football Reporters Online


Georgia tech

Wide receiver DeMaryius Thomas is a big play receiver if there ever was one. Averaging more than 25 YPC in 2010, Thomas takes advantage of every ball thrown his way. Unfortunately, Georgia Tech runs a triple-option offense, where the receiver is more of a blocker, so his 3.28 receptions per game is tough to judge. But no matter, NFL scouts are getting very good vibes from this kid; he’ll be taken sometime in the late first round.

During his college career, running back Jonathan Dwyer found himself living a running backs dream; the triple option. The Yellow Jackets made there living on the ground the entire time Dwyer was at Georgia Tech, so it’s safe to say that he never had to fight for carries. However, providing the fact that there’s no A-back position in the NFL, Dwyer is one of the toughest backs to project. Tallying 2,790 yards and 26 touchdowns in his last two seasons, there’s no question that he can run the ball, but a primary running back position will be a huge change for Dwyer. Personally, I think he won’t be taken till the mid-second round, but he’ll be an immediate contributor in a running back rotation.

Now switching to the other side of the ball, the Yellow Jackets will be without their two largest defensive forces, Derrick Morgan and Morgan Burnett. Defensive end Derrick Morgan isn’t the top rated defensive end in this year’s draft for nothing. His ACC-leading 12.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss in 2009 is only a side attraction for his impressive skill set. Morgan gets great leverage on the line and is always in the right position to make a play. He has great athletic ability that is complimented by an unbelievable motor and should be a great asset to any team in need of a 4-3 defensive end. Because of his speed and quickness, he may also be converted to a 3-4 outside linebacker. He should be the selected in the top half of the first-round; you can’t go wrong with this pick.

Safety Morgan Burnett gave Georgia Tech’s defense some fire to it 2009. His big-play ability and quick, athletic play, Burnett can make a quarterback think twice about a throw. His aggressiveness in the box doesn’t quite match up to his 6’1” 210 pound frame, but he still manages to bring the ball-carrier to the ground. Burnett never makes mistakes. His big-hits may not work so well on NFL ball carriers, but Burnett’s well worth a high second round selection based on his game-speed and instincts alone.

North Carolina

Defensive tackle Marvin Austin has steadily developed into a top-notch player during his time at North Carolina. He played all through his whole career at UNC and has plenty of playing experience coming into the draft. Austin is a huge space eater. He may have only had 4 sacks in 2009, but his play goes further than just his stats. He gets plenty of penetration and finds a way past the offensive line and into the play. Austin always seems to be in on the play and looks like he’ll be getting a call from a team sometime in the first round.

Numero dos in UNC’s defensive tackle montage, Cam Thomas is a force to be reckon with. Six foot three inches tall and 331 pounds, Thomas is as big as they come. Accumulating only 23 tackles as a senior, he doesn’t make very many plays, but he eats up tons of space on the offensive line and gives his teammates a chance at the ball. His pass rush collapses the pocket at ease and his lower body strength gives him very good potential in the NFL. He’ll probably land himself in the 2nd round sometime.

Cornerback Charles Brown has a very great potential in the NFL as well. Another underclassmen deciding to declare, Brown is about as close to the total package as you can get; a classic shut-down corner. He was the leader of the UNC secondary in 2009, accumulating 66 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 3 interceptions. It’s tough to find any predictions on where Brown will fall in the Draft, but somewhere in the top 3 rounds for sure.

Elite Tarheel linebacker Quan Sturdivant will be greatly missed in the ACC. He racked up more solo tackles than just about any other linebacker in the nation. Sturdivant is a very fast, physical linebacker that’s not afraid to hit you straight up. A real football player. One of the best players tackling in the open field. Wasn’t expected to declare as a junior, but will most likely get drafted in the 2nd round anyways. Can play middle linebacker in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense.

It seems as if UNC’s whole defense is leaving to the NFL. Safety Deunta Williams is leaving the Tarheels as a very established player. Racking up 138 tackles and 12 interceptions during his 3-year collegiate career, Williams has plenty to be proud of. He has great speed and a huge dedication to studying the game; watches more film than most quarterbacks. Displays very impressive hands for a defensive back; should go in the mid second round.

Outside linebacker Bruce Carter and defensive lineman Aleric Mullins and E.J. Wilson will also find their way early on in the NFL Draft.

NC State

The Wolfpack have just a few impressive prospects entering this year’s NFL Draft, the best being linebacker Nate Irving. Irving only started 12 games throughout his college career, but, averaging 8.7 tackles per game, took advantage of his playing time. Unfortunately, he was part of a bad car wreck in the summer of 2009, breaking his leg, collapsing a lung, and ultimately losing a third of his season. Due to a lack of playing time, it’s safe to say that Irving flew under the radar and should be a surprisingly good pick for a team in the early-to-mid 4th round.

I did a double-take when I saw quarterback Russell Wilson on this year’s NFL Draft prospect list. Wilson is a rare talent at quarterback and can turn a broken play into a touchdown by using his feet; the only problem is that he’s coming out as a sophomore. For a quarterback, declaring for the draft prematurely is often frowned upon. Quarterback is the most logistic position in football and, because of that, experience is wanted in a quarterback that is headed to the NFL. However, in situations like these, you ought to think that he’s taking the gig early just for the money. Hey, I don’t blame him, you get paid big bucks in the NFL. But since he’s coming out as a sophomore, he’s not only hurting Wolfpack fans across the state of North Carolina, but he’s setting him self up to be sitting on the bench for most of his early career.

Wide receiver Owen Spencer and defensive end Willie Young are also good value picks in the mid rounds; they will be missed in Raleigh.

Virginia Tech

Defensive end Jason Worilds will be the first guy off the board coming from the Hookies. His power and explosiveness surprises offensive lineman at the snap and he can really beat you into the back field. Worilds put up extremely good numbers in his first year as a starter in 2008 (18.5 TFL and 8 sacks), but didn’t live up to his standards in 2009 (11TFL and 4.5 sacks). Even though his senior season wasn’t as great, he still earned the respect of many when he played with a shoulder injury through the year. He may be a suitable outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, so his versatility should bump him up into the 2nd round.

Safety Kam Chancellor made his way into the 3rd round with his impressive performance on the bench press at the combine. Yet, even 22 reps at 225 pounds doesn’t accurately represent the strength and effort he exemplifies on the football field. He plays with tons of power and delivers huge hits on whoever is near the ball. Lots of ACC receivers ate dirt because of this guy. Even though he had six interceptions in 2009, he doesn’t exactly have the best hands, always manages to knock it down though. Chancellor’s excitement will surely be missed by Hookies fans.

Offensive lineman Sergio Render and Ed Wang should make there way into a new home sometime in the 4/5th round.

Boston College

Linebacker Mark Herzlich is one of the best stories in this year’s draft. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, and, instead of letting it interfere with his life, he’s made a near full recovery and continues to make plays on the football field. Herzlich runs right through blockers and always makes the tackle in the backfield. Racking up 110 tackles in 2010, it’s clear that he plays very smart and never lets the ball carrier get the best of him. Reeling in 6 interceptions last season, he’s also shown exceptional coverage skills as well. Herzlich has the potential to be an immediate starter at the next level. He’s a first round lock.

Running back Montel Harris was one of, if not the biggest, offensive tool in Boston College’s offense. Harris exploded as a sophomore, running the ball for 1,457 yards and 14 touchdowns. As a result, his NFL Draft stock went flying through the roof and Harris decided to declare. Though most players are encouraged to stay in school and finish their degree, I think that he made the right decision. Many teams are looking for a rotation back such as Harris. Harris hit’s the hole hard and speeds through the front seven. He makes quick cuts and has no trouble making defenders miss. A good comparison, yet a bit of an exaggeration, would be Knoshon Marino. I see Harris going in the early-mid 3rd round, a good pick up.

Boston College is losing practically their whole offensive line in this year’s draft. Starting offensive tackles Anthony Castonzo and Rich Lapham are both predicted to go either in the 2nd or 3rd round. And starting center Matt Tennant and starting guard Thomas Claiborne are also predicted to depart in the 3rd round. All four leaving in the same year will cripple Boston College’s offense greatly in 2010. Now I know why running back Montel Harris is leaving; he doesn’t wanna get killed!


Offensive tackle Jason Fox has what it takes to make it in the NFL. Though I think he’ll only go in the 3rd round, Fox has plenty of potential. He possesses great footwork and displays great leverage when blocking. He uses his lateral quickness to make sure the defensive end doesn’t get around him. A great zone blocker. Has had a few injuries during his career, but has always manned up and played through them. Fox is a very tough player that gets the job done. He may not be as strong or imposing as you want your left tackle to be, but, as I said before, he gets the job done.

Tight end Jimmy Graham is an ex-basketball player that decided to try football in his senior year of college. Well it’s obvious now that that decision was a good one; he’s now looking at a potential NFL career. Graham doesn’t have very great technique, but that should be fixed by simply playing more football. He has great speed and physical features and runs his routes very well. He’s able to use his size to overpower to smaller defenders when the ball’s in the air. Graham’s also a solid blocker and, like I said earlier, more experience is key to his development. Very coachable. A good comparison would be San Diego Chargers Pro-Bowl tight end Antonio Gates; both are former college basketball players and if Graham turns out anything like Gates, then he has a heck of a career ahead of him.

Two Hurricane running backs have a crack at the NFL this Thursday; Graig Cooper and Javarris James. Cooper never ran for more than 850 yards in any given season, but his natural athletic ability is too much to pass up. While Javarris James is more of a power runner and will serve as more of a one-cut runner and goal-line back in the NFL. Both should get drafted in the later round of the Draft.

Miami is also losing linebacker Darryl Sharpton in the NFL Draft. Sharpton will most likely be drafted in the 5th round do to his explosiveness and power at the point of attack. Offensive guard Orlando Franklin also has a shot in the NFL due to his monstrous 6’7”, 320lb frame and raw abilities.


Competitive cornerback Chris Cook has a good chance to be drafted high in this year’s NFL Draft. He tallied 40 tackles and 4 interceptions in 2009, setting him towards the top of this year’s cornerback class. Cook is a true competitor. He is very tough and provides great help with run support. Lacks the elite lateral quickness and change of direction that you look for in a starting corner, but has good straight line speed; he ran a 4.46 40-yard-dash at the combine. Due to his instincts and competitiveness, he’ll probably be drafted in the late 2nd round.

Virginia’s second departing corner, Ras-I Dowling will be going approximately the same time as Cook. Tight end Joe Torchia and offensive tackle Will Barker will also be drafted towards the middle of the draft.

Florida State

Myron “Academic Heisman” Rolle has finally entered the NFL draft. Perhaps one of the smartest people to ever play football, Rolle skipped his senior season to be a Rhode Scholar and study in Oxford. Not only is this guy smart, but he’s built to play football. He has prototype speed and size for a safety and never gets tricked by a quarterback. Because of him missing his senior season, there isn’t much game film to judge him by. But when he did play, Rolle was considered on of the top safety’s in the NCAA. He’ll probably be selected in the late 2nd round because of his lack of recent football experience.

Cornerback Patrick Robinson is making his way into the NFL spotlight. He’s one of those players that can go either way; he may be a big-time player or may be a big-time bust. Either way, he’ll get drafted high. Robinson has tremendous speed and leaping ability. Will challenge every ball thrown his way. He has great football instincts and easily sheds blocks to get to the ball carrier. However, Robinson relies on his athleticism a little too much when he plays, which is why I said he has a potential to be a bust.

Linebacker Dekoda Watson is one of the most imitating players in this year’s draft. He is built perfectly for the linebacker position and, despite his huge physique, he’s still an amazing athlete. Watson shows amazing quickness and keeps moving through the whole play; he doesn’t waste time taking on blockers. A tremendous rusher coming off the edge and plays with the intensity and leadership that you look for in a starter. Despite all this, he’ll probably only be drafted in the 4th round. A big sleeper at his position.

Florida State has two offensive lineman going in the mid rounds of the draft; center Ryan McMahon and offensive guard Rodney Hudson. McMahon is a very reliable player that will endure the whole NFL experience very well and will go in the 4th round. While Hudson is a very agile player that takes pride in footwork and should go in the 2nd round.


The man himself, Clemson’s very own ,C. J. Spiller is entering the NFL Draft after a very successful four-year collegiate career. In senior season, Spiller racked up 1200 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, 4 receiving touchdowns, one passing touchdown, and 5 touchdowns as a return specialist; this guy lights the scoreboard up. He is such a scoring threat, that it is impossible for NFL teams to ignore him. Spiller does have a slight injury problem with his toe and hamstrings, but he played through it all last season and managed to put up those numbers I mentioned before. He makes his cuts extremely fast and is as good as they get in the open field. Spiller runs through every arm-tackle and can explode in between the tackles and into the secondary. So much versatility, so many possibilities, he’ll most likely get selected in the mid 1st round.

Wide receiver Jacoby Ford was easily overshadowed by CJ Spiller through his career at Clemson. Yet, he still put up great numbers. Reeling in 56 balls for 779 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2009, Ford was primarily a big-play receiver. If this were any other receiver, they may not be in the 2nd-3rd round conversation. However, because of his sub 4.40 forty speed, Ford is looking at an early draft selection. He can catch the ball well in traffic and is dangerous on short screen passes. Reminds me of a less celebrated version of Percy Harvin. Ford will probably stick himself in the late 2nd round because of his speed.

Offensive guard Thomas Austin and defensive end Ricky Sapp are preparing for this year’s draft as well. Austin is a very powerful blocker who uses leverage and never gets pushed around. He doesn’t let defenders make plays and is a very durable player. He’ll probably go in the 4th round. Sapp is more of a 3-4 outside linebacker than a defensive end. His speed and coverage skills sets him apart from most d-lineman and should get some good looks because of his versatility. When he does rush, he gets into the back field in a hurry; should be drafted in the 3rd round.


Offensive tackle Bruce Campbell has a heck of an NFL career ahead of him. He has the size, strength, speed, and awareness to be a successful left tackle in the NFL. His length allows him to slow down the pass rush and his quickness helps him to get in the right places and be a really effective blocker in the open field. He can really open up a screen play with his raw power. I can see this guy contributing to some big plays at the next level. However, Campbell is more of a prototype and may need some time to learn so that he doesn’t get outsmarted by NFL defensive lineman. No matter, he’s bound to find his way somewhere in the 1st round.

One of my “ACC Rising Stars”, running back DaRel Scott will be in this year’s draft. Scott broke out as one of the ACC’s best backs in 2008. Yet, do to injury, he only rushed for 425 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2009. He missed about half of his season due to injury and flew under the radar as a junior, making himself one of the biggest sleeper running backs. Once Scott gets the ball, he picks a hole and explodes through it. He breaks every arm tackle and doesn’t slow down when he makes cuts. A very north-south runner. Scott will probably go sometime in the 3rd round.

Defensive back Antwine Perez and linebacker Alex Wujciak will also be selected in the mid rounds of the Draft.


During his time at Duke, quarterback Thaddeus Lewis was the ring leader of the football program. The Blue Devil’s football program has slowly been on a rise as far as winning is concerned; give it up for the man behind the plan. Lewis nearly led Duke to a bowl game by throwing for 3,300 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions in 2010. He’s the type of quarterback that will do anything to help his team win. He delivers quick, accurate throws to his best receivers. Rarely makes mistakes and can really work his way around in the backfield in order to find an open receiver. Despite all this, he’s not very high on many draft boards; most have him going in the 7th round. I think he’s one of the biggest sleeper at quarterback in this year’s draft, he’ll surprise many of people a few years down the road.

Defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase is the classic big-boy defensive tackle. He has some injury and endurance issues, but, when he’s at his best, he can really do some damage. Only 37 tackles (7.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks) in 2009, Oghobasse didn’t live up to expectations due to foot injuries. Yet, he’s still looking like he’s going to be a second-day selection. He has enough upper-body strength to bull rush effectively and has the versatility and smarts to learn any position on the defensive line. Oghobaase should be a solid back up in the beginning of his career and may have chances to move up.

Wake Forest

Field general Riley Skinner is one of many risky picks at quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft. His low release and 6’1” height makes things tough to be successful as an NFL quarterback. But hey, six foot tall Drew Brees just won the Super Bowl; there shouldn’t be a problem. Short or not, Skinner can play. He’s known for his intense study of the game and perfection of pre-play reads and calls. Skinner threw for 3160 yards and 25 touchdowns while maintaining a 66% completion percentage in 2009. He has tremendous accuracy and creates time in the pocket using his feet. Tends to squeez the ball into tight spaces and that may hurt him at the next level. Most likely a late round selection and should be a solid back up for the time being.

Cornerback Brandon Ghee will make a living in the 3rd round in this year’s draft. Ghee is a very well-rounded corner who has great coverage skills as well as run support. He only had one interception during his whole career as a Deacon, mostly because teams don’t throw his way, but still racked up 56 tackles in 2009. Ghee helped out his draft stock tremendously with his performance in the NFL Combine. He was a top performer in the 40-yard dash (4.45) and ranked among the top performers in the broad jump, 3-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle, and 60-yard shuttle. Ghee should be an early 3rd round selection.

Defensive tackle Boo Robinson is another player that will make his way into the NFL sometime in the 4th round. Robinson had to be double teamed in college and may get some 1-on-1 situations in the NFL. He outsmarts every offensive lineman he goes up against and has a huge upside. His size offers versatility as a 3-4 nose tackle.