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2011 NFL Draft - The CFN Post-Combine Top 250
LSU CB Patrick Peterson
LSU CB Patrick Peterson
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Mar 3, 2011


What do you get when you combine the on-field college production with the numbers and appearances at the workouts? The CFN 250 best prospects for the 2010 Draft, with former LSU CB Patrick Peterson among the best of the bunch. Here are the first round-worthy prospects.

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- 2009 Post-Combine Top 250 Rankings

What happens when you combine the real, live, on-field production of the college careers of all the top NFL prospects with raw workout numbers and practices? The CFN Top 250 players for the 2011 NFL Draft. Please note, this isn't a prediction or a projection of where the prospects will go. Instead, it's a ranking based on apparent talent, safety, risk, and the potential to be a bona fide NFL starter. These are the best 250 prospects regardless of position.

1. CB Patrick Peterson, LSU 6-0, 219
Positives: The near-perfect corner prospect. He has size, speed, quickness, ball skills, and all the athleticism that every team wants. … A true No. 1 cover-corner. He can line up and erase any receiver. He can get physical when he needs to and he can run with anyone. … Extremely confident, and not in a bad way. He knows he’s good and he plays like it.
Negatives: Used to doing whatever he wants. He’ll have to get used to being a big part of a system rather than being able to freelance. … Not necessarily consistent. He rose to the occasion, but he needed the challenge. … Might be a safety but will be paid like a corner.

2. DT Nick Fairley, Auburn 6-4, 291
Positives: Very big and very quick. Explosive out of the blocks and gets into the backfield in a hurry. An ideal 3-technique lineman. … Hits like a ton of bricks. Beats up ball carriers and delivers a punch on quarterbacks. … He can move around wherever needed. He doesn’t fit any one scheme.
Negatives: A one-year wonder. He went from being just a guy to an all-timer in one offseason. … Has a reputation for being dirty. Not known as a perfect character guy and might have an attitude. … He’s going to be a target. He has to prove he can produce on a regular basis now that he’s the main man.

3. DT/DE Marcell Dareus, Alabama (DE) 6-3, 305
Positives: He has the prime size to work either on the nose or in the one-gap, and he can get into the backfield like a 3-4 end. Extremely versatile. … Very strong and is a great finisher. Moves well for his size. … A big hitter. He’s an intimidation force.
Negatives: Not necessarily a speed rusher in a 4-3 and not necessarily a rock of a pure defensive tackle. He might be versatile and he might be great once he finds a role, but he’s sort of a tweener. … Doesn’t fire off the ball at a top level. He’s not Nick Fairley-quick.

4. DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson 6-3, 280
Positives: The ultimate combination of size, quickness, and pass rushing ability. Once he decided he wanted to be great and dedicated himself to his craft, he became one of the best players in college football and lived up to all the immense prep hype. … Figured out how to close. He was able to get into the backfield in his first two years, but he found an extra step and ended up becoming a sack machine. … Versatile. He could be put anywhere on any line and he’d be productive. He has the total skill set.
Negatives: It took the death of his father and former Clemson star Gaines Adams to kick Bowers into gear. He could quickly slip back into a fleshy-big body if he doesn’t keep at it. He’s not nearly the same player if he hits 300 pounds. … He could stand to get a bit more creative. He was able to get by simply by being far more athletic and skilled than anyone else. … He isn’t going to put up whopping NFL sack totals and shouldn’t be drafted if anyone is hoping for a machine.

5. QB Cam Newton, Auburn 6-6, 250
Positives: Size. Scouts are analysts are just now realizing what a huge guy Newton is. He’s JaMarcus Russell without the weight concerns, and he’s Ben Roethlisberger with more mobility. … While he has to work on his accuracy at a pro level, he was the nation’s most efficient passer. … Phenomenal runner. Great in the open field. … The perfect raw tools with the size, the arm, the speed, and the toughness both mentally and physically. … A leader. The Auburn players followed him and jumped on his cape.
Negatives: He’ll have to learn how to work from under center. This could take a while after being so used to setting up in the shotgun. … He’ll have to get used to throwing more timing patterns. In college, he got by on being able to shake off pass rushers because of his size and he had the time to let plays develop down the field. He’s not going to have that at the next level. … He had the ability to fight through adversity and thrive, but does he have the time logged in to be ready to handle an NFL playbook? He only played one full year of major college football. … Yes, character will come into question with some. He seems a bit too taken with the limelight at the moment and there’s some concern that he might be a huge phony. No one out of the greater Auburn metropolitan area really believes he’s completely clean.

6. WR A.J. Green, Georgia 6-4, 205
Positives: Extremely productive even though he was the No. 1 target everyone was trying to stop. He always came through with great catches and clutch plays whenever needed. … Has all the tools with size, speed, hands, length, and toughness. He’s not a diva and will go across the middle and isn’t afraid to take big shots to make a play. … Makes quarterbacks look better. He makes up for a lot of throwing mistakes by adjusting on the fly and making the spectacular look routine.
Negatives: Thin. He’s not a big, thick receiver like a Larry Fitzgerald or an Andre Johnson, and while he’s tough, he’ll have to prod he can handle getting shoved around by the more physical NFL defensive backs. … He’s not the quickest or most fluid of targets. He’s more of a sprinter than a jitterbug on short, sudden routes. … A willing blocker, but not a great one.

7. 7. Julio Jones, Alabama 6-4, 220
Positives: It’s all there with tremendous size, great hands, and the toughness to shove around NFL defensive backs without a problem. … Ready to go right now. In fact, he was polished enough and good enough to be an NFL starter about ten minutes into his freshman season. … Perfect attitude and perfect personality. He wants to be a great receiver and he wants to be a No. 1 target, but he doesn’t have the jerkweed diva streak. More Calvin Johnson than Terrell Owens.
Negatives: Always hurt. While he was able to play through his bumps and bruises, there was always something that kept him from being consistently explosive. … Not a blazer. He’s extremely quick and runs terrific routes, but he’s not an NFL deep threat flier.

8. QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri6-5, 235
Positives: He looks the part with great size, good mobility, and the NFL arm to put it anywhere on the field. … A downfield bomber who can make the short to intermediate throws, too, he can be a power pitcher when needed and can use touch when he has to. … He doesn’t need too much work on his mechanics. There’s a little tweaking to be done on his wind up and he could stand to make his motion more compact, but it’s nothing to get in a twist over. … Known for being a hard worker and he’ll be a natural leader immediately. … While he’s not a Cam Newton-like runner, he can move.
Negatives: He was an okay college player, but he wasn’t an elite one. By far, he’s more talented than Chase Daniel was, but Daniel did more at Mizzou. … While he has all the throws, he could stand to be more consistent on his touch. He’s a bomber who played in a mid-range passing attack. … He needs to stand firm in the pocket. While he’s not afraid to take off and run, he doesn’t have NFL mobility to be a runner.

9. DE/OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M 6-3, 246
Positives: An elite athlete who flies all over the place. A peerless pass rusher who gets around the edge with terrific angles and tremendous quickness. Versatile enough to work as a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 end. … Moves effortlessly. Fluid, he moves like a much smaller player and has too much speed and too much athleticism for most offensive tackles. … Fights through injuries and still produces.
Negatives: While he was called a linebacker in college and won the Butkus, he was a defensive end any was only used to rush the passer. He didn’t do much of anything against the pass on a regular basis. … Even though he’s a superior athlete and cuts on a dime, he’s a bit shaky in workouts that ask him to do outside linebacker things. … Not big or bulky enough to be used as a defensive end, and he might be a one-trick pony. He could be a devastating pass rusher, but if he’s not getting to the quarterback, that might be it. He’ll get engulfed by strong blockers.

10. RB Mark Ingram, Alabama, 5-10, 215
Positives: A smart, tough runner with terrific acceleration and balance. Bounces off of tacklers. … A good enough receiver to get by and he doesn’t need to come off the field on third downs. … Patient. He waits for the block, sees the hole, and then zips through it with an extra gear.
Negatives: Disappointing 2010 was more than just about an ankle injury. He was limited when he became a marked man. … The speed isn’t there. More quick than fast, he’ll grow into more of a barreling runner early on in his career. … He’ll take plenty of shots. There could be a durability factor and he could have a short shelf life if he becomes the focal point of a team’s offense.

11. DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue 6-4, 267
Positives: A pure pass rusher who’s always working and always going 100 miles per hour. He has a relentless motor and makes plays on effort. … Produced even when keyed on. He was the focus of every blocking scheme and always came through against the better teams. … He’s built like a hybrid and can be a strong defensive end in a 4-3. He’ll do whatever it takes to be better.
Negatives: He’s not the most fluid of athletes and isn’t really an outside linebacker. He needs to be able to carry a bit more weight and put his hand on the ground. … Not fast off the ball. He gets into the backfield by being relentless. … Needs to learn how to do a bit more and get more moves. He’s not going to be able to get around the end on a consistent basis as a speed rusher.

12. OT Tyron Smith, USC 6-5, 290
Positives: Just scratching the surface on how good he can become. It’s all there to be someone’s left tackle for a decade. … A former tight end, he moves extremely well and is fluid. He moves like a much smaller blocker. … There’s room to be 20 pounds heavier without losing a thing. He should be a top-shelf pass protector from the start.
Negatives: Can he actually get bigger? He had to work to get to his current weight, and the extra bulk might not all end up being good. … He’ll have to learn how to be steady on the left side after working on the right side at USC. … Still needs to round out his skills and he could use the drive to become an elite blocker. He has the tools and the talent, but he has to want to be an All-Pro.

13. CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska 6-0, 206
Post-Combine Skinny: While he was good, he didn’t bring the wow to push Patrick Peterson for the top quarterback spot. The 4.43 was good enough, and the 38” vertical and short drills confirmed his athleticism. He’s big, fast, and showed the tools that’ll keep him in the first round.
Positives: An excellent combination of size, speed, and athleticism. He has the NFL look and skills to be a No. 1 corner for a long time. … A pure cover corner who doesn’t play soft. He’ll hit. … Strong in run support, and he made a ton of plays against the pass even though everyone stayed away from him.
Negatives: Didn’t pick off a pass last year after taking away five as a junior. Broke up passes, but didn’t come up with the really big play. … Okay at tracking the ball on deep plays, but not elite. Hands are just decent. … Not a huge player. Doesn’t have a large frame.

14. DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State 6-1, 303
Positives: INSANE strength. He should blow up the Combine bench press. Has the strength and the toughness to be a true nose, and he has the ability to get into the backfield as a one-gap defender. … Used to being beaten on. He spent all of last year being double teamed and still produced. … Doesn’t get pushed around. He’s a rock on the inside and he holds his ground.
Negatives: Not considered to be a top-shelf, difference-making lineman at the next level. He might be good, but he might to a lot of things no one notices. … Gets erased way too much. There were long stretches when he didn’t show up because he was keyed on. … Not tall. Sort of a squatty defender who lacks the long frame.

15. OT Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin 6-7, 315
Positives: A peerless run blocker as a collegian. He uses his long frame and his arms extremely well in both pass protection and to wall off defenders for the ground game. … Worked and got better over his career. He didn’t sit on his press clippings and came up with a tremendous senior season. … Was fantastic in Senior Bowl practices. Lived up to all the expectations.
Negatives: Spent much of his career fighting through injuries. He suffered a variety of bumps and bruises. … Not an automatic left tackle. He moves well, but not at a high enough level to be a rock against NFL speed rushers. His career could be at right tackle. … He’ll be compared to Joe Thomas. He’s not Joe Thomas.

16. DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina 6-2, 309
Positives: The ideal interior defender size-wise. He has bulk, strength, and he’s a rock against the run. … Moves extremely well and can get to the quarterback. He has no problem blowing past linemen with mediocre athleticism. On sheer talent, and with no baggage, he might be a top ten talent. … The main knock is that he dealt with an agent. It’s not that big a deal when it comes to NFL potential.
Negatives: However, there is a question mark when it comes to his character. He has to prove he’s a want-to player who really does want to maximize his talents. … Wasn’t consistent. When he pushed it, he was dominant, but he disappeared way too much. … He has to show that the year off didn’t matter. He missed all of 2010.

17. OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College 6-7, 305
Positives: An ultra-competitive athlete who’ll always work to get better. Moves extremely well for his size. … An elite pass protector and was a strong run blocker for four years. Was one of the nation’s most consistent all-around blockers. … Polished. Doesn’t need a whole bunch of work to be a right tackle immediately, and he could become a left tackle in a hurry.
Negatives: Is tall, and sometimes blocks like it. He’s not a dominant run blocker because of it. … Will he be as athletic when he bulks up? He’ll end up putting at least 15 pound on his tall frame immediately. … Not the best of blockers against the pure speed rushers. He might never leave the right side.

18. DE J.J. Watt, Wisconsin 6-5, 290
Positives: The ultimate motor. A former walk-on who plays every play like his life is depending on it. He’s always working and he’s always flying around. … Great athlete for his size. A former tight end who moves like a much smaller player. He carries his weight extremely well on a long frame. … Strong and tough. The ideal 5-technique end and can work in any scheme.
Negatives: It’s always important to be a wary any time a player goes from being a walk-on to a special NFL prospect in a hiccup. … While he’s an athlete, he has to prove he can consistently produce when going against players who work as much as he does. … Not a flash off the ball. He gets his production in the backfield by working.

19. RB Mikel Leshoure, Illinois 6-0, 230
Positives: Powerful and tough with the ability to run inside and out. He’s not afraid to take a shot, and he has the ability to be a true No. 1 back who can handle 20 carries a game. … One of the stronger backs in the draft. He’s not going to be a scatback like most of the others in the class. … Nimble for his size. Worked extremely well in the Illinois spread and did a nice job of finishing off runs after getting through the hole.
Negatives: He’s not Rashard Mendenhall. He’s not nearly as fast. … While he’s powerful, he doesn’t get too many yards on his own. He needs to find the hole and get through it rather than over a defender. … There’s a sense that he can do more. He was great over the final half of 2010 against some very, very bad run defenses.

20. WR Torrey Smith, Maryland 6-0, 205
Positives: Great speed and size ratio. He’s not the fastest receiver in the draft, but he plays like he is. … Physical enough to get open against the stronger defensive backs, and fast enough to blow past the speedier defenders. … Phenomenal returner who can be used in a variety of ways and will do whatever is asked. Great leader and great character.
Negatives: Needs work on the route tree. He might be a deep threat only to start his career. … Not a natural receiver. Seems to fight the ball a bit too much. … Doesn’t have NFL No. 1 skills, but could be a whale of a complementary target.

21. C/OG Mike Pouncey, Florida 6-5, 311
Positives: Extremely versatile. Could be a great starter at guard or center. … Very big, very physical, and athletic in games. Moves extremely well and doesn’t get beat on the inside. … Doesn’t get knocked off his base and never, ever gets pushed. He’ll be a road grader.
Negatives: He’s not his brother. Maukice is far better. … Struggled way too much in shotgun snaps. He got better as the season went on, but he’s not a natural. … Not the greatest of athletes, but his brother didn’t exactly light up the workouts.

22. DT Corey Liuget, Illinois 6-2, 298
Positives: A fantastic athlete with the quickness to be a dangerous interior pass rusher. … Moves well down the line and gets off blocks without a problem. … Took over games at times. He can be a game-changer and has the prototype one-gap ability.
Negatives: He didn’t start dominating until he tried to become a player. He could easily let his weight slip if he doesn’t focus. … Not strong enough to be a nose in a 3-4 and might have to be a 3-4 end if he’s not in a 4-3. … Needs work and coaching. He’s not a finished product and needs more moves.

23. DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina 6-4, 265
Positives: A phenomenal athlete, he moves like an outside linebacker and can get into the backfield in a blur. Fluid and water-skis around the edge with the best of them. … Smooth as glass. He can run around linemen and has the strength and the punch to provide a pop like a much bigger lineman. … Scratching the surface. He could blow up once he learns how to be a defensive end. A good coach could create a monster.
Negatives: He needs a lot of work and missing the 2010 season after being suspended didn’t exactly help the cause. He might need a year before he comes close to reaching his potential. … More of a workout warrior than a top-shelf football player. He needs to be an all-around playmaker. … Benefitted by being a part of a great defensive front. He has to hold up far better against the run.

24. DE Akeem Ayers, UCLA 6-3, 254
Positives: It’s all there. He’s the model outside linebacker with size, speed, and bulk. He could be used as a defensive end from time to time and will fit any scheme. … Moves extremely well. Cuts like a much smaller player and is fluid around the edge. … There were times when he turned it on and destroyed offenses. He’ll put up big plays in chunks and can change games by himself.
Negatives: Missed way too many plays. There were times when he wasn’t heard from for long stretches and sometime didn’t turn it on until crunch time. … Not an elite run defender. He’s not nearly physical enough and is a finesse player. He’ll get beaten up by any NFL blocker who’s able to lock on.

25. OT Nate Solder, Colorado 6-8, 314
Positives: Tremendously athletic for his size. A former tight end who runs and moves like it. … Can handle anyone’s speed rusher and is a pure left tackle. He doesn’t get flustered and he’ll do whatever the coaches tell him. … Great at getting to the second level and delivering the big block. He’s an athlete who’s still growing into his frame.
Negatives: Shockingly mediocre in offseason workouts and in Senior Bowl practices. … Doesn’t bend all that well. He’s tall and he plays like it without getting low enough for leverage on a regular basis. … Does he want to be a dominant force? He’s a technician, but he doesn’t have the attitude to destroy a defender.

26. WR Jonathan Baldwin, Pitt 6-4, 225
Positives: The best combination of size, speed, and raw skills among the receivers in this draft. Is built like a tight end and can fly. … Turned into a big-time playmaker who managed to make big things happen both as a deep threat and with yards after the catch. … Can jump out of the stadium. With his height and leaping ability, he’ll get every jump ball.
Negatives: Looks the part. LOOKS the part. He has a lot of work to do to harness all of his skills. He’s not Antonio Bryant, but he’s not Larry Fitzgerald. … He has to learn how to be a real, live NFL receiver. Could be heartbreaking if he doesn’t want it. … Decent hands, but will miss a few balls.

27. DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State 6-5, 294
Positives: Great size and great athleticism. He’s the ideal 3-4 end and can be strong against the run while also fighting to make plays in the interior. … When he’s on, he’s unstoppable. He destroyed Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl and controlled the game when things got tight. …. A good character guy. A natural leader who’ll make sure he and the rest of his line are always working. Almost no bust potential.
Negatives: Not the greatest of athletes. He might be versatile, but he’s not a speed rusher in any way and he’s not an elite pass rusher. … He doesn’t get off the ball in a hurry. He gets blocked easily and he’ll disappear for stretches. … A hard ceiling on what he can do and what he can become. He’ll be rock solid, but he doesn’t have the raw tools to be special.

28. DE Cameron Jordan, California 6-4, 267
Positives: Very fast, very athletic, and always working. He’s a high-octane player who’ll always bring the good effort. … A polished athlete. He plays and works like an outside linebacker and he gets around the end effortlessly. … Very, very long. He has a big frame and can carry more weight without a problem.
Negatives: He’s a better athlete than a violently quick pass rusher. He’s not going to fly off the ball. … He’ll get eaten up by blocks. He has to be in space and he has to be on the move. … He’s not a rock against the run on the line. He’ll be far better chasing down ball carriers.

29. CB/FS Aaron Williams, Texas 6-0, 204
Positives: Versatile. He might be a free safety in the NFL and can be used in a variety of ways. He’s athletic enough to do a variety of things extremely well. … A good, sound tackler. He isn’t afraid to get physical and has the body to provide a bit of a pop. … Silky smooth in his cuts. Turns and runs well with extremely loose hips.
Negatives: Not fast enough to be a No. 1 corner. He wants to be a corner and wants to get paid like a corner, but he’s likely going to be move to safety very early on. … Didn’t pick off any passes last year and came up with just four in 37 games. … Will be a better pick because of his versatility than for any one position. He’ll be a starter, but he might not be an elite player at any spot.

30. DE Aldon Smith, Missouri (DE) 6-4, 263
Positives: A superior pass rusher who’s lightning quick off the ball. He can move and he’s extremely athletic. … Fluid. He can water-ski around the edge and can get around the end with ease. … Strong for his size and can provide a pop. He isn’t afraid of contact and can be physical enough to play at the end or at outside linebacker.
Negatives: A bit immature and needs a bit more work on his technique. He got by simply by being a fantastic athlete. … A true tweener. He’s a bit tall for an outside linebacker and he has to prove he can produce with more weight on his frame. … He needs to be on a defense with other strong linemen around him. He needs to be one-on-one and will have problems against the more athletic NFL offensive linemen.

31. LB Martez Wilson, Illinois (OLB) 6-4, 250
Positives: Elite athleticism and great size. He’s the prototype with the flat out speed and the bulk that everyone is looking for. … Will fight off blocks and will get to the play. He makes big tackles and is great in the open field. … Hits with a load. He could be a blow-him-up hitter when he gets to the next level. Was an elite prospect out of high school and is still scratching the surface.
Negatives: A neck injury cost him all of 2009. He’s a big, physical player, and he might have a short shelf life. … Not quite as smooth as many might like. He’s fast and athletic, but he’s not exactly fluid. … Not as instinctive as some might like. He has gotten by simply by having better tools than anyone else. There’s a big-time upside to his game and his skills, but he’ll need some developing and might take a big step back before he takes a huge leap forward.

32. DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa 6-3, 281
Positives: Very strong, very versatile lineman who can work as a 3-4 end or a 4-3 tackle. … A leader. He gets fired up, pushes his teammates, and has a passion and a caring for the game and his craft. …. Angry. He plays with a fire and a strength to give it a full effort.
Negatives: Suffers from Erb’s Palsy and has a weakness/paralysis in his arm. … Stunningly disappeared way too often last year. He had an underwhelming senior year after dominating as a junior. His pass rushing production dropped off the map. … Not huge and can be erased by the better, bigger linemen.