Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2011 NFL Draft –Inside Linbacker Prospects

Top Inside Linebackers 2011 NFL Draft By Rafael Garcia Sr. Contributing Writer-Southeast Region
Football Reporters Online

1. Martez Wilson ILB Illinois 6'4" 250 lbs. 40 Time: 4.49 Bench@225: 23x Jr. Wilson is a sound all around ILB and finished up as one of the leading tacklers in the country. He has the ability and speed to slice through the defense and make the tackle in the backfield. Shows good moves when forced to the outside to make the tackle. Has the speed to get to the quarterback or to the sideline. Uses his long arms to keep opponent at bay and then uses those arms to get around his man for the tackle. Is able to follow play once he reads it and will hustle all the time. In pass defense he can keep up with receivers and uses his hands to knock them off their routes. Will affect the passing game with his length and effective in zone coverage. Has to work on reading the play faster to more of an impact. Will need to add bulk to his frame for the NFL. Has the habit of over pursuing the play because he is so aggressive trying to get to the quarterback. Finds himself lost in coverage due to lack of anticipation and gets cut blocked too often. His lack of flexibility will make it hard for him to fit into a 3-4 or 4-3. Showed poor footwork during Pro Day. Projected Round: 2

2. Quan Sturdivant ILB North Carolina 6'1" 241 lbs. 40 Time: 4.65 Bench@225: 21x Sr. Sturdivant is an excellent gap tackler and a big hit linebacker. He is very consistent, instinctive and aggressive. Has excellent straight-line speed and gets a lot of tackles. Has very good work ethic and loves to work hard. Good lateral movement and pursuit. Good athleticism and awareness that keeps him around the ball a lot. Very quick off the line of scrimmage to beat opponent to spot of the ball. Needs to back off some on his aggressiveness as it leads him to find himself out of the play. Will make tackle but he lacks execution and technique. Needs to work upper body strength and the use of his hands on his man. Struggles a bit with change of direction that results in blown pass coverage. He depends on his speed too much when it comes to making the play. Must get better at breaking free from initial block. Does not have the best agility and base so he will have to work on that too. Projected Round: 2

3. Kelvin Sheppard ILB LSU 6'2" 232 lbs. 40 Time: 4.70 Bench@225: 22x Sr. Sheppard is very good at ball location and athleticism. Possess the agility and speed to get to the ball carrier. Very good at reading the blitz and coming off the edge. Has excellent pursuit and lateral movement that allows him to get downfield. Consistently gets past his blocker to make the tackle. Has very good hand and footwork to go with his awareness. He will make the open field tackle more often than not. Weak on play action and reaction to the play. Does not have the pop to beat more physical opponents. Must stop getting cut blocked as much as he does. Must add upper body bulk to disengage from his block quicker. His aggressive play tends to allow ball carrier or receiver to use cut back on him and get away. Projected Round: 3

4. Greg Jones ILB Michigan St. 6'0" 242 lbs.40 Time: 4.69 Bench@225: 21x Sr. Jones plays with good instincts and awareness. Good reaction as play develops with good acceleration. Strong enough to command more than just an initial hit from opponent. Has the ability to become a playmaker at the next level. Good against the run as he reads when reading the play. Very quick off the snap and gets penetration. Has good leverage for a player his size. Avoids cut blocks by keeping low to the ground and uses his hands well. Can play sideline to sideline and gives maximum effort. Good enough to read the blitz and make the play because of his anticipation. Great work ethic on and off the field. Smaller than most teams would want at his position. Can get overpowered by bigger man and lost in traffic due to over pursuit. Tends to overrun routes in pass coverage. Bigger and taller tight ends will give him problems too. Can be beaten in the run game by faster back. Must get to thee hole faster to avoid being stood up by bigger lineman. Projected Round: 3

5. Colin McCarthy ILB Miami 6'1" 238 lbs. 40 Time: 4.64 Bench@225: 23x Sr. McCarthy is a player that you will find all over the field though he isn't the fastest player. Did great in the drills at combine workout. Fantastic against the run the way he attacks the line of scrimmage. This allows him to beast his blocker which resulted in a lot of tackles. Has good pop and knows how to shed a block as well. Has great pursuit and shows a love for the game. Can be to over active against the run at times allowing the ball carrier to get away from him. Needs to work on his footwork while in pass coverage to keep up with receiver. Needs to work on blitz rush technique. Another player that must do better to avoid cut block. Could be more athletic for better coverage too. Will help on special teams right away. Projected Round: 4

6. Casey Matthews ILB Oregon 6'1" 232 lbs. 40 Time: 4.79 Bench@225: 13x Sr. Matthews is the brother of Green Bay Packer Clay and we know his family roots in the NFL. Had a weak combine but that did not matter much since he is a game day player. He is a great competitor and works on his game at all times. Has above-average instincts and plays with great passion. Will make the tackle most of the time and gets into great position. Can anchor, shed and make plays off the block as well. Has knack of getting into the backfield to make a tackle for a loss. Has good football smarts and will be a durable dependable player for years to come. He does not have that top speed and was used a lot in the blitz packages. Will need to work on change of direction and man coverage. Needs to work on his field vision as well and will not overwhelm you with speed. Jack of all trades but master of none. Projected Round: 5

7.Jeremy Beal ILB Oklahoma 6'2" 267 lbs. 40 Time: 5.16 Bench@225: 22x Sr. Beal is one of those dominating players that should be just as good in the NFL. He has a motor that will not stop and is good at getting to the quarterback. Has been consistent throughout his college career. Knows his assignment and will stick to him. Reads the play well enough and with patience. Uses his hands to tip or bat the pass away. Good lateral movement and knows how to cover in space. A player that will give it his all and likes to knock the ball out of the runners hands or strip receiver. Likes to watch film and study his craft. Will find himself with matchup problems with quicker runner or receiver. Needs to come up with other ways to get penetration. Needs to improve decision making to make up for lack of speed. Projected Round: 5

8. Nate Irving ILB North Carolina St. 6'1" 240 lbs. 40 Time: 4.76 Bench@225: 27x Sr. Irving is a very productive football player when healthy and on the field. Very versatile player that will help on special teams and later at linebacker. Can be a tackling machine and works hard at getting better. Finds himself in the right place at the right time to pick off pass. Had great Pro Day workouts that will help his stock. Overcame life-threatening injury that shows he can can be depended on and is tough. Can get to the quarterback often and makes the play. Needs to improve footwork and is lack of speed will hold him back a bit. Must improve on field vision and pass coverage downfield. Has a lot of work to do to succeed at the NFL level, but has the heart and desire to get it done. Projected Round: 5

9. Mario Harvey ILB Marshall 6'0" 257 lbs. 40 Time: 4.43 Bench@225: 27x Sr. Harvey has been making a name for himself lately. He is very good and getting better in the run game. He gets a hold of the ball carrier a brings him down more times than not. Has the ability to shed his blocker to make the play. He has that nose for getting to the quarterback, producing a sack or two, as well as hurries. He can be a tackling machine as his sats will show. The team leader in tackles most of his career. Impact player that can make a game changing play. Strong enough to play at the next level. He lacks the speed to move up in the draft and he needs to work on his pass rushing skills more. Needs to get better at reading the play and not get lost in the pack so much. Must remain healthy since his opposition will be much bigger than what he has faced. Can make an impact on special team until he gets a spot. Projected Round: 6

10. Chris White ILB Mississippi St. 6'3" 237 lbs. 40 Time: 4.72 Bench@225: 17x Sr. White is a very durable and dependable player. He has the size technique needed to play at the next level. Good at getting his feet under him to make the tackle. When making the tackle he uses his hands to wrap up carrier and drop him. Plays smart between the tackles and always plays hard till the end of the play. Can become a very productive player so long as he puts in the work at all times. His lack of speed and agility are a negative. Does not have that knee bend needed so he tends to play too high. Needs work on mobility and lateral movement. Will not make an impact off the edge. Weak in pass rushing that will be exploited in the pros. Projected Round: 7

11. Josh Bynes ILB Auburn 6'2" 240 lbs. 40 Time: 4.81 Bench@225: 21x Sr. Bynes is very active and likes to play physical. Has good versatility and very reliable. Ran a slower 40 than he needed at Pro Day. Needs to work on breaking initial contact and getting to the corner faster. Projected Round: 7

12. Mike Mohamed ILB California 6'3" 239 lbs. 40 Time: 4.73 Bench@225: 21x Sr. Mohamed has a good football IQ and is a productive type player. He is very durable and has lots of experience at his position. Good in pass coverage. Plays too high at times and does not play with the consistent aggressiveness he will need. Projected Round: 7

13. Greg Lloyd ILB Connecticut 6'1" 246 lbs. 40 Time: 4.82 Bench@ 225: 22x Sr. Lloyd had great reaction and recognition to a play. Strong player that can get into the backfield. Needs to have better leverage and balance. Does not cover well in angles. Projected Round: FA

14. Orie Lemon ILB Oklahoma St. 6'1" 243 lbs. 40 Time: 4.87 Bench@225: 27x Sr. Lemon is a huge, solidly built linebacker. Has the power to hold his own at the line. Good leverage and hand work on his man. Could be taller needs to learn how to read a ply effectively. Play action seems to fool him too much. Projected Round: FA.

15. Akeem Dent ILB Georgia 6'1" 242 lbs. 40 Time: 4.87 Bench@225: 24x Sr. Dent is athletic with an ability to get to the corner and make play. He is not too bad in pass coverage. Too small for the his position and lacks the speed in coverage to be a difference maker. Projected Round: FA

16. Nick Bellore ILB Central Michigan 6'1" 245 lbs. 40 Time: 4.84 Bench@225: 23x Sr. Bellore plays at a high level and gives all out effort. Excels at reading and breaking down the play. Has good leverage and balance. Is not too good at wrapping up the ball carrier. He will get beat in coverage and cannot make up ground resulting in bug pass plays. Projected Round: FA

17. Brian Duncan ILB Texas Tech 6'0" 235 lbs. 40 Time: 4.89 Bench@225: 17x Duncan is a tackling machine that will fit good in a 3-4 defense. Overall he will need lots of work to make a roster and stick in the league.

18. Alex Wujciak, ILB, Maryland 6'3" 255 lbs. 40 Time: 4.84.
Bench@225: 21x Sr. A good tackler with playmaking ability. Needs to work on pass coverage especially sideline to sideline. Projected Round: FA.

19. Elijah Joseph ILB Temple 6'1" 243 lbs. 40 Time: 4.80 Bench@225: 31x Sr. Joseph is a good tackler that likes to hit. Good power and has the knack of knocking football loose from ball carrier. Lacks the football instincts and vision needed at the next level. Projected Round: FA

20. Obi Ezeh ILB Michigan 6'2" 250 lbs. 40 Time: 4.78 Bench@225: N/A Ezeh is good in pursuit and strong versus the run. Works good between the tackles but needs to work on pass coverage. Must get more physical to sustain every day rigors of the pros. Projected Round: FA

21. Derrell Smith ILB 6'0" 244 lbs 40 Time: 4.76. Bench@225: 17x Sr.

22. Kendall Smith ILB Florida State 6'1" 224 lbs. 40 Time: 4.83 Bench@225: 22x Sr.

23. Cobrani Mixon ILB Kent St. 6'1" 241 lbs. 40 Time: 4.69 Bench@225: 33x Sr.

24. Stephen Franklin ILB Southern Illinois 5'11" 244 lbs. 40 Time: 4.64 Bench@225: 17x Sr.

25. Brian Smith ILB Notre Dame 6'3" 240 lbs. 40 Time: 4.72 Bench@225: N/A Sr.

26. JoJo Dickson ILB Idaho 6'2" 247 lbs. 40 Time: 4.78 Bench@225: 36x Sr.

27. Brad Jefferson ILB Georgia Tech 6'2" 240 lbs. 40 Time: 4.75 Bench@225: 28x Sr.

28. Michael Lockley ILB Florida Atlantic 6'1" 237 lbs. 40 Time; 4.67 Bench@225: 22x Sr

29. Tressor Baptiste ILB Texas A&M-Kingsville 6'0" 235 lbs. 40 Time: 4.82 Bench@225: N/A Sr.

30. Chris Colasanti ILB Penn St. 6'2" 241 lbs. 40 Time: 4.67 Bench@225: N/A Sr.

2011 NFL Draft - Cam Newton To Panthers? Auburn QB Will Do Well

The latest rumors have Auburn Quarterback Cam Newton going to The Carolina Panthers with the 2011 NFL Draft 1st Round Pick on Thursday, and even ESPN's Todd McShay, who's no fan of Newton, has that scenario to start his NFL Mock Draft.

Even the Twitter-verse is starting to heat-up with the rumor. And all of this, while some others, most notably former Washington Redskins Quarterback Joe Theisman, are quoted as "dissing" Newton.

This blogger can't remember a QB prospect who has endured as much character assassination as Cam Newton. And while this short blog post is not to reconstruct all of the things said about Newton, there is one observation that was gained from watching Newton with former Tampa Bay Bucs coach Jon Gruden, and that's there seems to be some discomfort with Newton's style. Cam Newton reminds me of my good friend Keith Johnson, an engineering major at UTA, who would slowly consider what was said to him before reacting. But when pushed, Keith would and could aggressively show he was smart.

But it wasn't his style to do so.

Meanwhile Gruden's tossing complex play-calling terms at Newton was wrong-headed. He didn't do that to the other quarterbacks he talked to, like TCU's Andy Dalton, but he did it to Newton. It was as if Gruden was testing Newton's intelligence by using that age-old-stupid test: nomenclature. It didn't go over well with observers over at the blog SmartFootball. Coaches know all of that wordiness doesn't translate to a great football play.

This corner thinks Newton has the desire and skill to succeed at the NFL level, and he's a quick study. Newton's just not one to show what he knows.

Stay tuned.

2011 NFL Draft Position Ratings- Outside Linebackers

2011 NFL Draft – Outside Linebacker Prospects
by Jon Wagner-Sr. Contributing Writer-Football Reporters Online

1. Von Miller – OLB – 6-3 / 246 / Texas A&M (4.42, 21 BR)
Miller is not only the top outside linebacker prospect in the 2011 NFL draft, he’s very close to being the overall top pick. Getting drafted is the easy part for a talent like Miller. Actually playing, at least initially, might be another, as it could be for every player and draftee for which Miller is helping to represent, as the only prospect in this year’s draft who is involved in the players’ lawsuit against NFL owners in the current offseason NFL labor dispute. As for playing, Miller’s ability was evident early. He was named to The Sporting News’ Freshman All-Big 12 team before posting 44 tackles the following year. Miller was first-team All-America selection after leading the nation with 17 sacks. Adding another Big-12-leading 10.5 sacks, he was a consensus All-American and Butkus Award winner last year. If a team needs an accomplished pass rusher in this year’s draft, Miller would be at the top of the list with extreme quickness around the edge and great closing speed to the quarterback. Miller is also solid against the run though, with a strong upper body and tackling ability that make him tough for opposing backs to elude. If there’s one area of weakness, it’s that Miller is still a little raw with dropping back in coverage, but he gets by in that area because of his athleticism and quickness.

2. Akeem Ayers – OLB – 6-3 / 254 / UCLA (4.81, 18 BR)
After redshirting in 2007, Ayers earned Pac-10 All-Freshman awards before receiving a host of All-Pac-10 and All-America honors over his next two seasons. He was also a Butkus award finalist as a junior last season, when he had 68 tackles, 4 sacks, and two tackles. Ayers is a good pass rusher good explosiveness and flexibility, and although he’s a playmaker, he relies on reading a quarterback’s eyes too much in coverage. Against the run, Ayers is a physical linebacker who possesses the size, strength, and good hands needed to shed blocks and corral ballcarriers.

3. Bruce Carter – OLB – 6-2 / 241 / North Carolina (4.57, 25 BR)
Carter was having a great career at North Carolina until a couple of major roadblocks derailed him. First, there was the agent scandal that left the Butkus Award finalist without some of his fellow talented defensive teammates, and then something that could raise a much bigger red flag with Carter during his senior season – a season-ending knee injury that required reconstructive knee surgery in December. If there’s faith that he’ll be healthy enough to be what he was before the injury, Carter will remain a top prospect. Highly touted out of high school, Carter had 18 of his 25 tackles as a freshman in the final five games of his first year in college. He then exploded for 68 tackles, five sacks, and a pick the following year. As a junior, Carter had 65 tackles, two sack, and an interception return for a touchdown. Before the injury, Carter had 57 tackles as a senior. He’s also a star on special teams, having blocked six punts and a field goal in his college career. Carter is a supreme athlete, having been clocked as fast as 4.39 in the 40-yard dash (though he’s often been around 4.57), with a 40.5-inch vertical leap, and a max bench press of 440 pounds. He’s an aggressive run defender, an explosive hitter, and shows good route recognition in coverage. Carter is an effective pass rusher but he could use more of a variety of pass rush moves.

4. Justin Houston – OLB – 6-3 / 270 / Georgia (4.62, 30 BR)
A former defensive end, became a pass-rushing linebacker in Georgia’s new 3-4 scheme last season. Houston redshirted in 2007 before totaling 19 tackles and 2.5 sacks as freshman. He raised those totals to 39 tackles and 7.5 sacks as a sophomore, and earned multiple All-America awards as well as being named as a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski and Butkus Awards after having a stellar senior season in which Houston posted 67 tackles and ten sacks. Houston’s greatest asset is an explosive upfield burst, with a quick closing burst to whoever has the ball, but he needs to learn how to use his hands better to beat blockers. A 2009 suspension for reportedly violating Georgia’s substance abuse policy could scare teams away and drop Houston’s stock.

5. Mason Foster – OLB – 6-1 / 245 / Washington (4.75, 22 BR)
While quarterback Jake Locker received most of the attention, the key to Washington’s last-season run to a Holiday Bowl win over Nebraska last year was the Huskies’ defensive turnaround which was spearheaded by Foster. As a sophomore, Foster led the Pac-10 in tackles per game (in 12 games), averaging 8.75 per contest. A year later, he had 85 tackles, three interceptions, and had six forced fumbles, which set a school record and led the Pac-10 for the season. Foster was a first-team All-American. Foster reads and reacts quickly with good instincts. He’s at his best in pass coverage when playing zone and reading the quarterback’s eyes. Foster had a ridiculous 163 tackles (the most by a Pac-10 player since 1989) as a senior and 378 career tackles, but many of those came downfield without many other playmakers to compliment Foster on the Washington defense. Foster became a pass rushing threat as a senior, when he has 6.5 of his 10.5 career sacks.

6. Brooks Reed – OLB – 6-3 / 263 / Arizona (4.65, 30 BR)
Reed was an active part of one of the nation’s top pass rushers over the past two years but he could be a tweener being slightly undersized to be a 4-3 end while struggling a bit with coverage and open-field tackling in a 3-4 scheme. But, one thing Reed will always provide is great effort and hustle, with quickness off the snap. Reed redshirted in 2006 and lettered as a reserve and special teams player the next year before receiving an honorable mention as a sophomore. He had an injury-plagued junior season, but recorded a career-high 47 tackles and 6.5 sacks as a senior.

7. Dontay Moch – OLB – 6-1 / 248 / Nevada (4.40, 21 BR)
Moch is small for his position and doesn’t hail from a big-time school, but as a former track star, he’s super fast, durable, and enjoyed an ultra-productive career at Nevada, holding many school pass-rushing records. Moch was an all-WAC selection in his final three years, including his selection as Nevada’s first-ever WAC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior, and being named to the coaches’ All-WAC first team as a senior, after he had 64 tackles (43 solo and 22 for loss) and 8.5 sacks. Moch is quick off the snap and good at shedding blocks with his hands. He’s a defensive team leader who can drop effectively into zone pass coverage. Moch is not stout against the run and could have difficulty in man coverage, but overall. he projects well to the outside linebacker position.

8. Chris Carter – OLB – 6-1 / 248 / Fresno State (4.58, 27 BR)
The same size, and hailing from the same conference as Moch, Carter is slightly slower but also a little stronger than his former WAC counterpart. Consistently improving over his college career, Carter earned second-team All-WAC honors as a sophomore, made the All-WAC first team the next year, and was the WAC Defensive Player of the Year last season. Carter is explosive with long arms and a strong, muscular frame. Against the run, he shows good burst and acceleration to chase down ball carriers from behind and he uses a nice spin move to get to the quarterback, but the book no Carter is that he mainly possesses the instincts of defensive end while having the physical makeup of a linebacker.

9. Lawrence Wilson – OLB – 6-1 / 229 / Connecticut (4.71, 24 BR)
After redshirting in 2006, Wilson made an immediate impact UConn, where he was named a second-team Freshman All-American starting in place of UConn’s injured starting linebacker, ranking second on the team with 113 tackles (the most by a UConn freshman in a the FBS era). He again finished second on the team with 78 tackles the following year and was a first-team All-Big East selection as a junior with 140 tackles and five sacks. As a senior, Wilson led the Big East with 123 tackles to again be named to the All-Big East first team while concluding his college career with the second-most tackles in UConn history. Wilson is small for a linebacker but he uses his speed and tackling ability to catch ballcarriers before they break off big gains. He has good awareness in zone coverage and he’s capable of beating tackles off the edge as a blitzer.

10. K.J. Wright – OLB – 6-3 / 246 / Mississippi State (4.75, 20 BR)
Wright finished second in team tackles over each of his last three years at Mississippi State, racking up 72 tackles as a sophomore, 82 as a junior, and 98 last year. He’s an athletic playmaker whether making tackles, forcing fumbles, breaking up passes, or as he did during his freshman year, as a key special teams contributor. Wright is adept at helping stop the run and plays well in coverage, reading and recognizing routes well. Wright had a food pro day on 3/15/11, which included assistant coaches from the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.

11. Ross Homan – OLB – 6-1 / 240 / Ohio State (4.66, 32 BR)
After a productive freshman season, Homan took a medical redshirt with turf toe in 2007, before bouncing back to be a first-year starter at linebacker with 67 tackles. A year later, he helped lead the Buckeyes to a Rose Bowl win with 108 tackles while earning second-team All-Big Ten honors. He became a first-team All-Big Ten selection last year after being voted the team captain. Homan is an instinctual run defender with a nose for the ball, a very active pass defender, and a sold tackler.

12. Mark Herzlich – OLB – 6-4 / 244 / Boston College (4.91, 29 BR)
Herzlich was once the top-rated senior prospect at his position until he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in 2009. He wasn’t supposed to play football again, but he overcame the odds to win the Rudy Award and the ACC Brian Piccolo Award with 65 tackles (50 solo), two forced fumbles, and four interceptions last year. Herzlich, who received All-America awards in 2006 and 2008, when healthy, is an experienced pass rusher with good closing speed and a constant hustler, using a strong upper body to wrap up tacklers.

13. Brian Rolle – OLB – 5-10 / 229 / Ohio State (4.53, 28 BR)
The cousin of New York Giants’ safety Antrel Rolle, the former Ohio State star Brian Rolle projects as a good NFL outside linebacker with an ability to contribute well on special teams. He played an integral role (no pun intended with Rolle playing a significant role) on a talented Ohio State defense. Rolle was a team captain and first-team All-Big Ten selection last year. Though undersized, Rolle is very athletic, with good speed, and an ability to make big hits. In the right NFL system (most likely a Tampa Two), he can be successful.

14. Adrian Moten – OLB – 6-2 / 228 / Maryland (4.53, 18 BR)
Another Tampa-Two prospect, Moten overcame a 2008 wrist injury to finish a strong career at Maryland. Athletic and versatile, Moten makes plays all over the field. He can beat blocks wit ha quick first step.

15. Doug Hogue – OLB – 6-3 / 235 / Syracuse (4.62, 18 BR)
A former running back who was second at Syracuse with 251 rushing yards (on 77 carries) as a freshman, Hogue moved to outside linebacker two years later, receiving second-team All-Big East honors before making the All-Big East first-team as a senior. Hogue has great speed an athleticism with good recovery speed and coverage skills.

16. Scott Lutrus – OLB – 6-2 / 241 / Connecticut (4.68)
Lutrus was Freshman All-American and All-Big East second-team selection and two-time team captain, but he was hampered by neck stingers over the final two years of his career. Lutrus shows a good ability to disengage blocks with strong hands, and he’s a good blitzer who spots his lanes well, while always playing hard to the whistle.

17. Jonas Mouton – OLB – 6-1 / 239 / Michigan (4.84)
Nicknamed “The Assassin,” Mouton is dependable, productive, and was one of the Big Ten’s best defenders last season. He’s a sure tackler with a strong upper body who plays with a lot of intensity. Mouton was a highly recruited safety before redshirting and switching to linebacker at Michigan.

18. Thomas Keiser – OLB – 6-5 / 244 / Stanford (4.84)
Keiser is a formidable pass rushing threat with 15 sacks in 25 career games, but the junior prospect could have used the extra year to hone his skills before making the jump to the next level. Still, Keiser is talented enough to make help an NFL team in a 3-4 scheme.

19. J.T. Thomas – OLB – 6-1 / 241 / West Virginia (4.65)
Thomas, who redshirted in 2006 due to an ankle injury, suffered a neck injury prior to his senior season. He came back however, to be productive last year, as he was after his redshirt freshman season. Thomas flies around the field with a lot of energy, moving with good straight-line speed to close with sure tackles. He also has a lot of experience, having played in 48 games (mostly starts) despite the injuries.

20. Jabara Williams – OLB – 6-2 / 223 / Stephen F. Austin (4.64)
Don’t let the small school name and the light weight fool you. The 2010 Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year has long arms and is a good hitter, who plays best on the edge, while being a solid special teams contributor as well.

21. Quentin Davie – OLB – 6-3 / 232 / Northwestern (4.72)

22. Bruce Miller – OLB – 6-1 / 254 / Central Florida (4.81)

23. Jeremiha Hunter – OLB – 6-1 / 239 / Iowa (4.77, 20 BR)

24. D.J. Smith – OLB – 5-11 / 239 / Appalachian State (4.75, 20 BR)

25. Eric Gordon – OLB – 6-0 / 224 / Michigan State 6-0 (4.55)

26. Ricky Brewer – OLB – 6-1 / 222 / Colorado State (4.70)

27. Craig Stevens – OLB – 6-2 / 230 / Auburn (4.67)

28. Victor Aiyewa – OLB 29 – 6-1 / 219 / Washington (4.67)

29. Wayne Daniels – OLB 30 – 6-0 / 260 / TCU (5.03)

30. Kenny Rowe – OLB 31 – 6-2 / 244 / Oregon (4.90)

31. Michael Morgan – OLB – 6-3 / 220 / USC (4.64)

32. Chris Walker – OLB – 6-2 / 236 / Tennessee (4.72)

33. Anthony Leon – OLB –6-4 / 226 / Arkansas (4.68)

34. Jamari Lattimore – OLB –6-2 / 218 / Middle Tennessee (4.74)

35. Spencer Paysinger – OLB – 6-3 / 234 / Oregon (4.75)

36. Nate Bussey – OLB 37 – 6-1 / 219 / Illinois (4.64)

37. Malcolm Smith – OLB – 6-1 / 225 / USC (4.68)

38. Winston Venable – OLB – 5-11 / 219 / Boise State (4.68)

39. Jacquain Williams – OLB – 6-3 / 231 / South Florida (4.63)

40. A.J. Jones – OLB – 6-1 / 226 / Florida (4.66)

41. Keith Browner – OLB 42 – 6-5 / 266 / California (4.98)

42. Josh McNary – OLB 43 – 6-0 / 230 / Army (4.75)

43. Anthony Egbuniwe – OLB – 6-4 / 256 / Georgia Tech (4.98)

44. Jeffrey Williams – OLB – 6-0 / 229 / Gardner-Webb (4.64)

45. Eric McBride – OLB – 6-1 / 232 / Richmond (4.76)

46. Brian Smith – OLB – 6-3 / 235 / Notre Dame (4.72)

47. Antonio Johnson – OLB – 6-0 / 218 / Baylor (4.80)

48. Matt Berning – OLB – 6-0 / 242 / Central Michigan (4.80)

49. Bani Gbadyu – OLB – 6-1 / 247 / Penn State (4.67)

50. Darryl Gamble – OLB – 6-1 / 250 / Georgia (4.73)

2011 NFL Draft - Position Rankings-Safeties

2011 NFL Draft Position Ratings- Safeties
B y William Carroll-Special Contributing Writer-Football Reporters Online
1. Rahim Moore UCLA, 5’11 ¾” 201 4.62 Moore Missed no time during his 3 years at UCLA, with 14 career interceptions at it’s clear he has a nose for the ball. He is very sudden in his change of direction and shows a real understanding of the game. However he is no thumper and not impressive in run support. He is at his best when playing center field, [Cover-1 or single high safety] He is also experience in Cover-2 he was a respected, accountable leader on the Bruin’s defense. Moore is able to be so effective at least in part because he is a student of the game and instinctive however though Moore is willing enough as a defender of the run his ‘grab on and hope you trip over me’ tackling style is not the stuff that makes up instructional videos. Moore diagnoses quickly and consistently, he is rarely fooled or out of position. Moore does struggle to disengage from blocks, he is not terribly strong in the upper-body, comparisons to Ed Reed are inaccurate and unfair, Reed was much more explosive and violent in hitting, closing on the ball, running with the ball, leaping for the ball in every possible way he was a better and more complete safety. Moore will need to get stronger and gain experience playing in man coverage to be better than a solid starter. Career- 2010: 77 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 4 PBU, 1 INT
2009: 48 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 7 PBU, 10 INTs
2008 : 60 tackles, 4 PBU, 3 INTs
Rahim Moore 2011 Combine Results
Name Pos. College CL Ht. Wt. Arm Hand 40 Time Reps V-J 3-Cone Broad
Rahim Moore FS UCLA JR 5116 202 30 ¼ " 9.1 4.62 11 35.0 6.98 9'7"

There is a fairly strong probability that Moore could be over drafted due to the perception that he’s the best at his position but perhaps the only day 1 starter at FS in the whole draft. To some extent his amazing sophomore year is being overvalued. Moore will be a valuable addition to most teams, but anyone expecting a dominant or elite player is likely to be disappointed. Earl Thomas was more complete, if he progresses you might have a less powerful but more ball centered version of Madieu Williams or a more instinctive and reliable version of Gus Scott. Moore did pick the right year to declare as he’s go almost a round later most years, this year he could be in the top 5-10 picks in the 2nd and is a near lock to go in the top 50 selections, the Cowboys, Chargers and Bengals have shown strong interest, overall grade 8.6
2. Deunta Williams North Carolina 6'1¾" 205 4.56 [estimated] Williams is a 2007 graduate of White Oak High School in Jacksonville, N.C. where he was named a Super Prep All-America, and the No. 4 skill athlete in the country by Super Prep. He was also tabbed the defensive MVP for the North Carolina team in the Shrine Bowl. He was ranked the #8 player in North Carolina by The Charlotte Observer. As a senior, Deunta caught 29 passes for 299 yards on offense and averaged eight tackles per game and intercepted seven passes on defense. As a junior, he had 400 yards receiving, 250 yards rushing and 200 yards passing, Caught 16 passes for 11 TDs. As a true freshman at UNC in 2007, he switched from WR to SS, and started all 12 games and ranked fifth on the team with 59 tackles. He also led the team with three interceptions for 84 yards and broke up two passes.

In 2008, he started all 13 games and ranked fifth on the team with 65 tackles, including 55 solo stops. He also had three interceptions, three pass breakups and one forced fumble.

In 2009, he earned first-team All-ACC honors after finishing the season with 47 tackles, 1.5 tackles for losses, six interceptions for 114 yards, and eight pass breakups. He also had a 6-yard fumble recovery and ranked second in the ACC and 11th in the country with six interceptions. He ranked fourth in the ACC with 14 passes defended (6 INTs, 8 PBUs.)

In 2010, he played in only 9 games but still managed 49 tackles, 4 TFLs, 3 PBUs, and a FF. There are two primary concerns regarding Williams. Williams was suspended for only four games (lightest of the penalized) in the now infamous UNC agent-related scandal of 2010. Williams reported received $1426 in improper benefits from an agent and was ordered to make restitution.
Deunta Williams 2011 Combine Results
Name Pos. College CL Ht. Wt. Arm Hand 40 Time Reps V-J 3-Cone Broad
Deunta Williams FS/SS UCLA JR 6016 205 33 1/4" 10 DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

This is a strong safety that hits well, and is fairly fluid and agile. Can cover the requisite amount of ground to be a 4-down player, and has been very productive at a high level for one of America's best collegiate defenses. Williams has the ability to make receivers hear footsteps, and will have a shot at being one of the coveted true secondary enforcers in this draft. As an NFL comparison former Giants’ safety Greg Jackson comes to mind as well as Morgan Burnett, Williams is versatile, tough and athletic, he could play in either safety spot but he’ll need to show he’s recovering from having had his right fibula surgically repaired after he was injured making a tackle in the first quarter of the Music City Bowl. The injury will push him down if he had not had missed time due to the leg and suspension he’d be contending with Rahim Moore for the top spot in the position group, now he may fall to the 3rd/4th range, overall grade 8.5.
3. DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson, 6’0 1/8” 217 4.63
The No. 1 defensive back coming out of high school, according to some recruiting services, McDaniel had offers from Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Auburn and Louisville. He chose to leave the state of Florida and became a highly productive and durable three-year starter for the Tigers, where he matured into captain material after a difficult childhood. He originally signed with Clemson in 2006 but played in the fall instead for Hargrave (VA) Military Academy for Head Coach Robert Prunty where he compiled 48 tackles, four interceptions, and four sacks. As a senior in H.S. he had 53 tackles and eight interceptions, returning three for scores. As a junior he tallied 27 catches for 656 yards and six scores when he started on both sides of the ball and had three interceptions as a senior. He was a member of Prep Star’s Dream Team Top 100 as a senior. Despite 14 career interceptions, McDaniel enters the NFL with doubts about his coverage skills. He has the biggest hands among safeties in this class at 10”.

2010- Came into next season as one of, if not, the best safeties in the country, he finished with 73 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 4 picks, 6 PBUs and a couple QBHs.

2009- Received 1st team All-ACC honors. Had a breakout year; accumulated 98 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble, and eight interceptions. His eight interceptions tied for second in the nation in interceptions (tied with 1st round pick Earl Thomas).

2008- Started all year long and had 77 tackles and one interception. Was one of the key players on the Clemson defense, he also had 10 special teams tackles (included in tackle total), which was the most on the team.

2007- Received first team All-ACC freshman team recognition. Played 438 snaps and racked up 33 tackles.
DeAndre McDaniel 2011 Combine Results
Name Pos. College CL Ht. Wt. Arm Hand 40 Time Reps V-J 3-Cone Broad
DeAndre McDaniel
SS Clemson SR 6011 217 321/2" 101/8" 4.63 DNP 35” 7.07 9'8"

The 2 largest concerns for teams are his lack of an aggravated assault charge in 2008, wherein he was alleged to have covered her head with a comforter and choking her, hitting her and later throwing her down a flight of stairs. However, witnesses refuted the victim’s story, saying she looked normal and smiling as though nothing had happened upon leaving the apartment complex where the argument occurred, following this he became an honor roll student, he spent lots of time in the film room, learning from coaches and was a model teammate. The other issue is his lack of timed speed, he is most comfortable playing in the box but at times he will load up for the ‘kill-shot’ and occasionally he misses. His film study pays off as he reads the eyes of QBs as well as any safety in this draft. He’ll need to continue to show he’s overcome his difficult upbringing, prove he’s not a selective tackler, and use his instincts to overcome his average speed to make plays like the play he made against Nebraska, where he tipped a pitch in the backfield and took it in for a TD overall score 8.3.
4. Quinton Carter, Oklahoma, 6'0 5/8" 208
A good high school quarterback, Carter was a two-year starter; Thorpe award candidate, in 2009 he was the team’s second leading tackler, he is a natural free safety and one of the best players at his position in the nation. Smooth athlete with range and anticipation. Jumps patterns and has the hands for the interception. Carter primarily plays deep, but reads screens and can come up to force the run and lay the big hit; he has displayed solid tackling fundamentals and doesn't give up the deep ball.
Quinton Carter 2011 Combine Results
Name Pos. College CL Ht. Wt. Arm Hand 40 Time Reps V-J 3-Cone Broad
Quinton Carter SS Oklahoma SR 6005 208 311/2" 9 ¼ " 4. 57 23 34 ½ ” 7.05 9'8"

Carter will occasionally will duck his head and miss tackles, and sometimes will hit a player late on the sidelines; he has not used much in man coverage. He is a very athletic safety with range, with valuable versatility, enough so that he can be used at either safety position and perhaps he can even to slide inside and cover slot receivers in big nickel packages. Carter is likely a second or third-round choice and a future starter at the FS position. In a passing league such as the NFL, Carter has a chance to shine, and his best play could be in front of him. Carter is similar to former fine HS QB turned NFL safety Sean Jones overall score 8.25.
5. Jaiquawn Jarrett 2010- 1st Team All-MAC - led team with 74 tackles and 2 INTs
2009 - 1st Team All-MAC - 76 tackles, 3 INTs, 3 pass break-ups, and 2 fumble recoveries.
2008 - Led team with 88 tackles and an INT with 4 pass break-ups and 3 recovered fumbles.
2007 - Started in every game as a freshman and was the Special Teams Player of the Year for Owls. Jarrett is an excellent student who demonstrated a strong work ethic on and off the field. He was a respected team leader who won Captain's Award as a senior and Team Spirit Award as junior. He was a recipient of the 2010 National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame Academic Achievement Award. Recipient of the Temple athletic department's 2010 Enterprise Spirit and Sportsmanship Award, named to the 2010 Athletic Director's Honor Roll and a Senior Bowl invitee.

Jarrett is quick enough to cover slot receivers and just big enough to help in run support, blitz, and cover tight ends. On film, Jarrett shows the eagerness to attack ball-carriers. Although he’s at times inconsistent in the angles he takes, Jarrett is a consistent tackler once he gets in position. He wraps up well, keeps his feet moving and finishes with his many looking up at the sky.

Jaiquawn Jarrett 2011 Combine Results
Name Pos. College CL Ht. Wt. Arm Hand 40 Time Reps V-J 3-Cone Broad
Jaiquawn Jarrett FS Temple SR 5117 198 311/2" 9 ¼ " 4. 57 23 34 ½ ” 7.05 9'8"


Jarrett is very intelligent and durable he started for 4 years collegiate game (49 games) he’ tough and fills well against the run. Jarrett’s a big hitter who’s excellent breaking down, wrapping up and finishing as a tackler. Though he’s polished in coverage Jarrett sits in his backpedal too long at times, giving up too much ground in an attempt to avoid getting beaten deep. There are times, even when no receivers are threatening him deep, Jarrett gives far too much space in the deep middle Opponents have a hard time getting a block on him. He plays bigger than size, with good flexibility, he’s aggressive and able to find his way to the ball carrier, but his frame is less than ideal for an NFL safety and he lacks elite top-end speed but usually able to recover, he works hard to get in position to make a play but may not finish; he occasionally mistimes his jump for the ball and does not appear to have exceptional hands or ball skills and he’s not a workout wonder. Former Green Bay FS Marques Anderson is similar to Jarrett in style of play and build overall grade 8.2.
6. Ahmad Black, Florida, 5’9 ½” 187 4.74 So many of the things that could be said of Burney at the CB position also apply here in fact Some Cover-2 teams even were projecting the ball-hawking playmaker as a zone cornerback. Black is too small, too slow, yet somehow in the SEC the ‘Mini-NFL’ Black was a Consensus First-Team All-SEC pick and this past season was often the best player on the Gator’s defense. He has exceptional instincts; does a nice job reading the quarterback and getting into position to make plays. He displays ball skills (11 career interceptions). Team captain in 2010. He is dependable against screen plays and the run; he can handle the slot against receivers who aren't burners. He had 13 career interceptions to go with 244 tackles and 14 tackles for loss. Returned three interceptions for touchdowns. He didn’t miss a game during his three years as a starter for the Gators. However, his size will suggest future concern injury to many evaluating him for the next level.

Ahmad Black 2011 Combine Results
Name Pos. College CL Ht. Wt. Arm Hand 40 Time Reps V-J 3-Cone Broad
Ahmad Black SS Florida SR 5117 198 31" 9 7/8 " 4.74 18 35 ½ ” 6.85 9'11"

Unlike the Darrell Green’s and Bob Sanders of previous years there is not special physical talent to give evaluators cover if they wish to advocate for Black. All he has is 3 seasons of mostly, very good tape. There is no disputing that big WRs and TEs wills imply box him out of a certain number of plays. Black will have to cheat and use grit and guile to defend the slot and big backs may take a toll on him as well. Black is likely to come off the board on the second day of the draft. A slide into the fifth round is very doubtful, but it wouldn't be a shock if he lasted until the early-mid fourth round. Giving him a chance is his previous success against the highest level of competition, the fact that he can play SS/FS and Nickel and that the recommendation of Urban Meyer means something in the NFL. Though he is a bit smaller and slower he reminds of former Chargers and Raiders CB/S/Nickel Terrance Shaw, overall grade 8.1.

7. Robert Sands, WVU, 6’4 3/8” 217 Sands in 2010 was a first-team all-Big East selection had 53 tackles in 2010, including 1.5 sacks. He also had a forced fumble and made an interception. Sands closed his Mountaineers career with 151 tackles, including 88 unassisted, 1½ sacks and 10 tackles for loss. It’s impossible to ignore Sands’ large frame, long arms and big hands despite that he’s athletic enough to have some time spent at CB. To put is context Sands is being evaluated as everything from a Cover-2 corner to Nickel LB and all the positions in between. Sands is very aggressive he was named “Hardest Hitter” in the Big East by The Sporting News, he excels in run support; acts like an extra linebacker at times. He has adequate ball skills (six career interceptions) Sands has special teams experience and shows the kick coverage ace mentality.
Robert Sands 2011 Combine Results
Name Pos. College CL Ht. Wt. Arm Hand 40 Time Reps V-J 3-Cone Broad
Robert Sands FS WVU JR 6’4 3/8” 217 33 3/8" 9 3/4 " 4.57 12 35 ½ ” 7.03 9'11"

Sands is huge for the position, he ran a solid 4.57 in the 40 and he’s a hitter, so why isn’t he higher? In many mocks shortly after the season Sands was projected to go in the 1st half of the 2nd round, but as teams got a more in-depth look at his short area change of direction and though he’s a hard tackler he can miss more than teams like from the final line of their defense. He has drawn comparisons to Tank Williams of Stanford who played for the Titans, Vikings and Patriots, he’ll need to get a bit stronger, could he put on 10-15 pounds and play ‘Will’ LB, Sands raw talent means he won’t make it out of the 4th round, overall grade 8.0.

8. Tyler Sash Iowa In a safety class that seems to break down into athletes and football players Sash is one of a few that has a good amount of each characteristic. He started 37 games in three seasons and made enough big plays in the passing game: 13 interceptions, a total of 392 return yards, so that he came to be known as Sash-and-Dash. His best performances came in Iowa's biggest games, he had two interceptions, including a 48-yard return in the 2009 Outback Bowl win against South Carolina; three picks in 2009 against Iowa State, he's a natural leader with excellent strength for the position. The Hawkeyes' scheme, heavily based in two-deep coverage, often put him in good position. It also required him to read and react quickly, cover quality tight ends and running backs and make plays downfield. As a strong safety, his short arms, 30 inches, shorter than all other safeties at the combine this does cause him to run around blocks near the line, which can place him out of position in terms of run fits. In the Norm Parker scheme at Iowa there’s no attempt to trick the offense, the emphasis is placed on sound technique and pattern matching. In the Hawkeyes' pro-style defense, Sash recorded 79 tackles (three and a half for loss) and two interceptions during his final (Junior) year at Iowa. He was voted first-team All-Big-Ten by coaches and media, and he was also one of 10 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation's top defensive back.

Tyler Sash 2011 Combine Results
Name Pos. College CL Ht. Wt. Arm Hand 40 Time Reps V-J 3-Cone Broad
Tyler Sash SS Iowa JR 6’0” 211 30” 9 3/8 " 4.62 11 33” 6.90 10'7”

Sash likely declared because this season he could go as early as the late 2nd and is almost assured of being selected by the mid-3rd in this thin safety class. Sash will best fit a Cover-2 team and is very like the Bears’ Craig Steltz in style of play and athletic profile. Sash will never be mistaken for fellow, former Hawkeye SS Bob Sanders, but he can help on special teams and his is a natural sense for where the ball is going, overall grade 7.9.

9. Chris Conte spent most of his first three seasons as a reserve corner. Conte found his comfort zone as a senior, putting his instincts and aggression good use. He closed his career with 157 tackles (four of them for losses), two interceptions, 11 pass breakups, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and a blocked kick for a touchdown. Twelve of his 17 career starts came at safety, he finished the season as a 1st team All-Pac-10 selection. In 2010 he was third on the team with 72 tackles with an average of 6.0 stops per game. He had team's only blocked kick of the season on an Arizona State punt attempt, which he returned six yards for his first career touchdown. Conte played in 50 of 51 possible games at Cal but spent most of his first three seasons as a reserve cornerback. He finished his Cal career with 157 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions, 11 pass breakups, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and the blocked kick for a touchdown. Conte’s athletic ability shows up quickly and consistently – he can trail receivers very well for a safety, and he closes in on downhill plays with authority. He’s aggressive when getting to the ball carrier, and he takes good angles to facilitate the stop. He is raw and his long, lean rangy build is a detriment when it’s time to rapidly change direction and he struggles at times with compact, powerful players when he fails to get his hips low enough.

Chris Conte 2011 Combine Results
Name Pos. College CL Ht. Wt. Arm Hand 40 Time Reps V-J 3-Cone Broad
Chris Conte FS Cal SR 6’2 3/8” 197 30 ½” 9 7/8 " 4.53 18 35 ½ ” 7.01 10'7”

Conte’s size, speed, ability to play over the slot receiver as a nickel back at the next level will push him up the board, he may well go an entire round prior to Black, however though he’s bigger and a better athlete he’s not the better safety. His Long arms, balance, agility and speed are ideal and he might be slightly over-drafted as a result. He is more of a project than any of the top prospects at the position. To become a starter Conte will need to really apply himself in film study, play-action draws and double-moves were the bane of his existence at Cal. There are several lanky, athletic CB/S tweeners that come to mind Antuan Edwards, Gerald Alexander and Jason Sehorn are physically similar but all were far more developed in their skills than Conte, overall grade 7.6

10. Jeron Johnson, Boise State, 5'10 1/4" 212 4.52
Johnson is a very well-schooled run defender, with quickness, balance and agility . Johnson led the Broncos in tackles in each of his final three seasons, earning him all-conference honors three consecutive years. Johnson was named first team All-WAC in 2010, and second team All-WAC in 2008 and 2009. He finished his career ranked 12th all-time in career tackles (318) at Boise State
2010: 82 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 6 PBU, 1 INT
2009: 91 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 6 PBU, 4 INT’s
2008: 101 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 7 PBU, 3 INT’s
2007 – 54 tackles, 5.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 6 PBU

Johnson is smart, tough and an above average athlete, he’s in the top 3-5 in this class in delivering big hits. He has fluid hips and changes direction very well. Johnson is a very versatile player who can step up and lay out the big hit or drop back effectively in coverage. He plays bigger than he measures and anticipates plays well.

Name Pos. College CL Ht. Wt. Arm Hand 40 Time Reps V-J 3-Cone Broad
Jeron Johnson SS Boise St. SR 5'10 1/4" 212 30 ½” 9" 4.52 23 31 ” 6.95 9’5”

Johnson is one of the players that is just solid in all areas and better than most evaluators think, he will be a starter in a few years instincts and knows how to play the game, while he’s not an elite level playmaker: Polamalu, Reed, Sanders, those are rare players, he will be better than many reserves the day he’s drafted and would soon represent an upgrade for teams like Dallas, most teams have him targeted in the 4th, NFL comparison: Brock Marion was the 196th player chosen in the 7th round in 1993 and played 12 season, made 3 Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro in 200. Johnson may go in the mid-4th or fall to the 7th but he is a player overall grade 7.55.

11. Da'Norris Searcy, UNC, 5'10 5/8" 223 4.56 Searcy is a prototype strong safety; he is strong and physically imposing. 2010: Searcy returned to the team after sitting out the first three games due to the NCAA investigation. Searcy made an immediate impact with a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown in his first game vs. East Carolina on Oct. 2. He had a team-best four interceptions this season, including three in his first four games back on the field. He also posted 37 tackles and broke up four passes. Searcy served as the team's top punt and kickoff return man over the last two seasons. He scored on a 77-yard punt return vs. The Citadel in 2009 and had a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown this season vs. ECU. He has some experience at linebacker; he could be viewed as a weak-side linebacker by some 4-3 teams, he will be evaluated at both safety spots as well. He is in the top 5 in this class in all the ‘in the box’ characteristics; he is a tackler, a solid open field defender with a high understanding of run fits. Searcy at times over pursues and can be too nosy, at times he’ll get caught peaking in the backfield and double-moves of play action will catch him flat-footed. Searcy at the least should be a valuable player as a reserve or on special teams, he as a good chance to become a starting SS if he maxes out he could become a Donovin Darius type player, overall grade 7.4.

12. Jerrard Tarrant, GA Tech, 6’0 3/8” 204, 4.57 Tarrant led the Yellow Jackets with three interceptions for 93 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown return, with three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in his junior season. He also recorded 58 tackles, with 2.5 for a loss. Tarrant also served as a specialist in the Yellow Jackets’ kick return game, running back a pair of punts for touchdowns in 2009. He also scored on an interception return and fumble recovery in 2009. Tarrant has an above average football IQ, hands and skills to make plays on the ball in the air. Tarrant is a former CB and it shows in his tackling as well, he is not ever going to intimidate receivers. He identifies routes very well but is not as fluid or quick-footed as teams would like. Bhawoh Jue is a player who is similar to Tarrant a CB turned FS with many of the same strengths and weaknesses overall grade 7.3.

13. Shiloh Keo, Idaho, 5’11 3/8” 216, 4.7 Keo's passionate play and versatility leaves an indelible impression on scouts, he is the kind of prospect that an area scout will ‘bang the table’ to make his case as to why Keo should join their team. It’s quite possible that Keo will never be a starter, he has athletic limitations, NFL slots would likely be able to abuse him in coverage, and even the athletic tight ends would likely be able get away from him. He did a little bit of everything with the Vandals, as Keo's ability to impact the game as a big-hitter and ball-hawk on defense as well as a special team’s defender and returner made him a WAC standout from the beginning. Keo is the kind of player that like Hank Bauer can have a successful career as a special teams' captain. He is very much like former Cowboy Bill Bates, overall grade 7.2.

14. Jermale Hines, Ohio St. 6’1 1/8” 219 4.61 Hines was selected All-Big Ten Second Team in 2010 he had 61 Tackles, 2 TFL, 0.5 Sacks, INT, Fumble Recovered, 4 PBU. He is a very hard hitter and also a reliable tackler, who excels in the box, however like so many of the safeties in this class he is quite limited in what he can do when not blitzing or playing the run. Hines an example of a player who worked hard to move himself up the depth chart from special teams’ player as a freshman to an all-conference performer by his senior year. Hines could get his overall solid athletic ability from a strong pedigree. His uncle, Joseph Hines, was a member of Penn State's 1983 national championship team. Though Jermale Hines is strong, he still needs to work on his technique when it comes to shedding bigger blockers and wrapping up a ball carrier instead of simply lowering his shoulder into the runner. Hines lack of downfield coverage abilities has meant that some teams wonder if he could be a Nickel LB, overall grade 7.1.

15. Mark LeGree, Appalachian State, 4.56., LeGree ended his college career at Appalachian State defensive back Mark LeGree finished as the active leader in NCAA D1 football with 22 interceptions, four more than any other FCS or FBS player active in 2010. The 22 interceptions are good for second in Southern Conference history and third in ASU’s all-time annals. Despite opposing offenses steering away from the ball-hawking safety for much of the year, LeGree picked off five passes a senior, good for a tie for 20th nationally. He also broke up eight passes and made 49 tackles in his final collegiate campaign. He has innate ball skills, and learned from Corey Lynch about route recognition and toughness. He plays center field very well, he is nearly the equal of Moore in that area, consistency in his tackling and his pedestrian size/speed numbers are what’s keeping him on the board until well into the 6th/7th round range, LeGree has similar strengths and weaknesses to Elbert Shelley, formerly of the Falcons, overall grade 7.0.

16. M.D. Jennings 5’11 ¾-“ 187, 4.58 In 2010 Jennings was All-Sun Belt First Team he posted 84 tackles and 3 Interceptions, he’s has a nose for the big play and causes turnovers, in 2009he recovered a team-high three fumbles and had 6 PBUs and 1 pick and had 3 in 2008. He is instinctive and a willing tackler but he lacks bulk and strength, [10 bench reps @225] like most of the safeties in this class he’ll make any early impact on special teams and as he gets stronger he has a chance to be a 3rd safety or Nickel. NFL comparison, a much, much more slender Dexter Reid, overall grade 6.9.

17. Antwine Perez Maryland [USC], 6’1 1/8” 219 4.79 is a 2006 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Westville Grove, N.J. where he was a 2006 Parade All-Americana and was also tabbed first-team All-USA Today. He was also named an EA Sports first-team All-American and a member of Super Prep Elite 50. he earned a spot on the Prep Star Dream Team and the ESPN 150 and was a Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Super Prep All-Northeast Defensive MVP, Prep Star All-Eastern and Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year. He earned first-team all-state honors and was selected The Philadelphia Inquirer South Jersey Defensive MVP. In 2005 he had 82 tackles, 10 PBUs, seven interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He also threw for 1,700 yards with 14 TDs and ran for 195 yards with two TDs. As a junior in 2004, he recorded 58 tackles, seven interceptions, and four forced fumbles, and also passed for 1,763 yards with 15 scores and ran for another 10 TDs.

Antwine spent the 2006 season with the USC Trojans and played in seven games while serving as a backup free safety. He recorded three tackles on the season.

2007: Sat out due to the transfer rule.

2008: He played in all 13 games at free safety as a backup. Perez also played on special teams and outside linebacker due to injuries at that position.

In 2009, he played in all 12 games as a reserve safety and on special teams and recorder 45 tackles, a PBU and a FF.

In 2010 (pre-bowl) He really put it altogether and tallied 66 tackles, 5 TFLs, a sack, 3 INTs., 5 PBUs, 3 FRs and 2 FFs. Perez is an under the radar athlete who is better than many know. Though somewhat athletically limited, Perez is strong tackler with a nose for the ball, but won’t stand out in any way in workouts, but has size and knowledge/knack of the game could lead to him making it, he will hit and cover with equal efficiency. Better in short-area, short-field coverage situations, and is not CB-good in terms of COD, turn-and-go, or pure coverage ability, but is better in that area than a lot of NFL safeties. Solid tackler, who’s not a liability in the run game, a big play guy, strong (20 reps.) Perez is not a true enforcer as a hitter in the deep half and has been susceptible to the double move and to elite speed in coverage and hasn’t been able to get it done on a consistent basis in college, so is a bit of an untested commodity still. He can disappear for stretches and is not a great blitzer to this point in his career. Perez would almost certainly be under-drafted; he’s a late 4th round talent who could go as late as the 7th-PUDFA due to bouncing around some and not really getting a full-time chance with Maryland until this past season Perez is like a less athletic Jarrad Page overall grade 6.8.

18. Josh Thomas, Buffalo, 5’10 5/8“192 4.46 Thomas has played CB he has an aggressive nature and he could be a third or fourth, but with the way more teams are taking tough, tackling CBs to FS, I actually think he’ll be asked to move to FS by a team like Dallas or the Bills that has lacked coverage skills at the position and despite his size he’s a willing run defender and in the late 6th on he has value, if Thomas gets a bit thicker and moves to FS he could be like former Bear and Seahawk Mike Green, overall grade 6.75.

19. Will Hill, Florida, 6’0 ¾” 202, 4.64 Former Florida safety Will Hill denied posting some vulgar tweets that have been gaining attention online after being posted on a college football blog. Every Day Should Be Saturday published the tweets from Hill's twitter account, @Trill_SG, last week. Most of the offensive posts were made before his junior season. True or not there have been concerns about Hill’s desire to be great and focus as he has given up too many big plays. After a fantastic high school career as a dynamic playmaker at Saint Peter's Prep, he was the 2007 Star-Ledger Offensive Player of the Year and arguably one of the best New Jersey high school football prospects of the past two decades as Hill played several positions including QB he is in condition he has less than four percent body fat, but even without the Twitter affair there is the fathering of three children by age 20, his suspension at the University of Florida, if he were 100% clean he might have been a late 3rd round selection, as is he may go undrafted and is unlikely to be taken prior to the 7th, as an NFL comparison if he maxes out he could be as good or better than Denver’s Darcel McBath, overall grade 6.7.

20. Joe Lefeged, Rutgers, 5’11 5/8” 210, 4.43 The Rutgers safety was named All-BIG EAST Second Team for 2010 by a vote of the league’s football coaches. One of 10 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back, Lefeged finished his career with 238 career tackles. Lefeged was a three-year starting strong safety and a two-year starting kick returner. The senior played the most games of any Scarlet Knight on the roster with 50 appearances, and had the most consecutive appearance of any RU player with 49 straight games. A special team’s standout as well, he broke the school record with 948 yards on 38 kickoff returns for a 24.9 yards per return average in 2010. He’ll need to improve his tackling but he is quick-twitch, he can cover especially well on underneath routes he will be a real contributor on special teams Lefeged has returned both kicks and punts, and blocked two punts in one game in 2010, he is comparable to Damien Russell formerly of the 49ers, overall grade 6.6.

21. I am going to cheat a bit there are a few more players that I feel are worthy of noting but missed the top 20, I will summarize them briefly: A. Eric Hagg of Nebraska is a well-built 6’1 3/8” 209 FS that some teams see as a SS, his 4.62 speed is average he can cover and tackle but lacks any one great quality.

22. B. Dom DeCicco of Pitt might be shifted to Nickel LB he’s 6’2 ¾” 231, ran 4.63 at his pro day and could make any team that want a hard-nosed ‘old-school’ SS the same could be said of Kent State’s Brian Lainhart 6 ¼” 211 4.64 had 17 interceptions and 344 tackles as a four-year starter they 2 of them are in many ways ‘poor men’s John Lynches.

23. C/D. David Sims and Jay Valai are nearly the same player, both have been compared to Bob Sanders, [neither is the explosive quick-twitch athlete that Sanders was] Sims is 5’9 ¼ 200 and ran a 4.51, he’s tough, quick and a tackling machine which also describes Valai, 5’8 ¼” 200, 4.73 his ball skills are lacking but he packs a wallop. E/F/G/H There are 4 workout warriors that bear mentioning:

24. Frantz Placide of Wagner holds the NCAA (all levels) career record for blocked kicks in a career (12), in 2010, had an excellent season on defense and special teams, starting in 8 of the 11 games he played. He added 2 more blocked kicks and ended his career with 12. Had one punt return on the year, a 46-yard TD, and finished his career with 3 PR TDs on 5 tries, and also had 2 KR TDs on 64 tries (23 yard avg.). He also had another 40-tackle season, including 5 for loss. He defended 4 passes and forced a couple fumbles. Was named to the FCS Senior Scout Bowl Team.

25. Ron Parker of Newberry At his pro day he weighed in at 6'0" 200 pounds and he ran the 40 yard dash 4.36s, 4.40s and 4.41s. He is the fastest safety in this draft, but he also has tremendous change of direction abilities running a 6.71s 3 cone and 4.18s short shuttle. He's a fantastic athlete that has picked off 11 passes in the last two seasons.

26. The last 2 freak athletes are Wyoming’s Chris Prosinski, insert Raider joke again, he had an outstanding pro day workout: 4.39 forty and 39.5 inch vertical put him back into late 7th round conversations. Prosinski finished his career at Wyoming with an impressive 373 tackles.

27. Finally and perhaps the most intriguing prospect of all Keanemana Silva of Hawaii by way of OR State, was ranked second nationally in interceptions with eight and set a new UH record with 14 during his career and he lit up his pro day, Silva (6’0 ¾” 206) averaged a 40 time of 4.44 on two runs, had a 40” vertical leap, 10’3” broad jump, 4.16 short shuttle, 7.01 three-cone drill, and 23 bench reps, he at the least will be a PUDFA and now has an outside chance of being drafted.

2011 NFL Draft - ESPN's Erin Andrews Chats-Up Top Draft Prospects On Twitter

Suburban New York - One of the perks of being a top 2011 NFL Draft Prospect is the chance to have your photo taken with ESPN's super-hot, super-star college football reporter Erin Andrews, then chat with her on Twitter.

That's exactly what happened to Alabama's Marcell Dareus (in photo with Andrews), Auburn's Nick Fairley, Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, LSU's Patrick Peterson, and Prince Amukamara, who later Twitter tweeted to Andrews "I can't believe I forgot your name haha."

PrinceAmukamara Prince Amukamara
I can't believe I forgot your name haha @erinandrews
3 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

What's wrong with the Cornhusker standout Prince Amukamara that he would actually admit to forgetting Erin Andrews's name? That's something a man never tells a woman, especially on Twitter, where the result is all over the Internet.

Andrews was not amused:

I'm not laughing..good luck on Thurs :) RT @PrinceAmukamara: I can't believe I forgot your name haha @erinandrews

But it was all in fun; it's a bet Andrews isn't losing sleep over it.

But Florida State's Christian Ponder just may still be awake.  He missed the EA event, as well as flying to New York City for the NFL Draft, and got teased for it by his buddy Mr. Gabbert, or "Sunshine," who took a photo with Andrews and later tweeted about it.

BlaineGabbert Blaine Gabbert
@ErinAndrews haha wow! @cponder7 is jealous he wimped out on NYC
2 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

And this was Andrews' tweet:

ErinAndrews Erin Andrews
Nicknamed "sunshine" by @cponder7..everyone was convincing Blaine to keep the hair

Well, those were perhaps the most interesting Twitter tweet to come from Andrews' meetup with the top NFL Draft Prospects at the EA Sports party held Wednesday night.  There, Alabama's 2009 Heisman Trophy Winner and sure-fire 2011 NFL Draft 1st Round Pick Mark Ingram was introduced as the cover-boy for the game NCAA Football 12.

And as a note, this blogger wasn't there.  Thanks to Ms. Andrews' Twitter activity, attendance wasn't necessary and it made for a quick blog post!

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