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2011 NFL Draft Analysis - Top Free Agents
Wisconsin RB John Clay
Wisconsin RB John Clay
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 28, 2011


With the lockout, there won't be the normal post-draft run on free agency. That means the players who didn't get their names called will have an interminable wait before finally knowing where they're going. Who are the top free agents still on the board? There are plenty of college superstars, like Doak Walker finalist John Clay, who have to keep their hopes up.

2011 NFL Draft

Top Free Agents


2011 NFL Draft Analysis
1st Round (1-5) | 1st Round (6-10) | 1st Round (11-15) | 1st Round (16-20)
1st Round (21-25) | 1st Round (26-32) | 2nd Round | 3rd Round
4th Round | 5th Round | 6th Round | 7th Round | Top Free Agents

2011 NFL Draft Team Analysis - AFC
EAST Buffalo | Miami | New England | NY Jets
WEST Denver | Kansas CityOakland | San Diego
NORTH Baltimore | Cincinnati  Cleveland | Pittsburgh
SOUTH Houston | Indy | Jacksonville | Tennessee

2011 NFL Draft Team Analysis - NFC
EAST Dallas | NY Giants | Philadelphia | Washington
WEST Arizona | San Francisco | Seattle | St. Louis
NORTH Chicago | Detroit | Green Bay | Minnesota
SOUTH Atlanta | Carolina | New Orleans | Tampa Bay

2011 NFL Prospect Rankings & Breakdowns
- QBs | RBs | FBs | WRs | TEs | OTs | OGs | Cs 
- OLBs | ILBs | DTs | DEs | CBs   

- Top Free Agents - 2nd Tier

SS DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (SS) 6-0, 217
CFN Overall Ranking: 51

CFN Analysis: Big and strong, he’s an intimidating force who looks the part and knows how to use his lumber to beat up receivers. He’s like another linebacker on the field, but he moves better with good cutting ability and all-around athleticism. He’s the type of run stopper who can hold up in a brawl, and he’ll also make plays in the open field. However, he missed on a few too many easy plays and bounces off ball-carriers a bit too often. For his size and toughness he gets buried way too easily and he’ll have to learn how to fight through the trash. There are concerns from a past assault and battery charge, but that was a few years ago.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

FS Deunta Williams, North Carolina 6-2, 205
CFN Overall Ranking: 84

CFN Analysis: With good size and excellent speed, Williams is built to be an NFL free safety. He runs a 4.55 and has a long frame that’s great for hanging around with the taller receivers. A battler, he’s a very coachable, very good worker who likes to fight to make things happen. However, he’s not going to deliver the big hit and he doesn’t have the functional speed to match his straight line wheels. He has a lot of the tools, but he was mostly helped by being surrounded by a ton of talented players to help hide his mistakes. He might not be a special starter, but he’ll be functional in someone’s secondary for a long time if he can come back 100% healthy after suffering a broken leg in the Music City Bowl. If he was healthy, he’d be a sure-thing top 100 pick. He’ll heal.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

WR Terrence Toliver, LSU 6-4, 212
CFN Overall Ranking: 104

CFN Analysis: He should’ve been better. A big-time recruit, even for LSU, he was supposed to be the next big thing and a certain star. Bad quarterback play was a problem and there’s a good chance he could blow up as a nice value pick, but he has use his skills better. He has the size and he has the 4.4 speed, and the athleticism and quickness aren’t a question, but he gets blown off his route by a slight breeze and he’s going to make way too many mistakes to be relied on as a sharp, dependable route runner. If he gets the right coaching, and the right mentor, he could be a steal.
CFN Projection:
Fifth Round

RB John Clay, Wisconsin 6-1, 230 (Jr.)
CFN Overall Ranking: 111

CFN Analysis: While he got in better shape to up his stock, he’s a hamburger away from ballooning up again with way too much bad weight. However, even though he played with a spare tire, he brought peerless power and stunning breakaway speed for a player of his size as one of the nation’s most productive backs over the last few years. With his style, though, he was beaten on and always seems to have issues with his ankles and knees. Fumbles were a problem for a time, and if he can’t hang on to the ball as a short-yardage back, he won’t last long. He’s worth drafting for his power, but he’ll only work if he keeps his weight down to under 250.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

C Kristofer O'Dowd, USC 6-4, 303
CFN Overall Ranking: 116

CFN Analysis: A superstar recruit of superstar USC recruits, he had a nice career … when he was healthy. While he’s not a great athlete and he’s always going to be hurt, when he’s right he’s a great leader and a pure center who can handle all the line calls and sniff out all the blitzes. Only a center, don’t think about moving him to guard, and he’s not going to be the most powerful player, but he could be a very nice starter for a long time if, and it’s a glaring if, he can stay healthy.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

C Alex Linnenkohl, Oregon State 6-2, 304
CFN Overall Ranking: 119

CFN Analysis: While he’s not all that tall, he’s built to be a center with a good base and good leverage. He’s a pure leader who does a great job on all the line calls and always brings the A effort and makes big blocks on want-to and hustle. However, he doesn’t have the raw skills and the basic talent to be a standout. He’s a football player, but the NFL strength and athleticism aren’t there.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

120.
FS Jerrard Tarrant, Georgia Tech 6-0, 204 (Jr.)
CFN Overall Ranking: 121

CFN Analysis: With excellent size and the ability to throw his weight around, he’s a strong safety who’ll end up shining as a free safety. While not a blazer, the former cornerback moves extremely well and makes a ton of plays when the ball is in the air. The talent is there and the measurables are good enough to get by, but there are character concerns. He missed the entire 2008 season due to a sexual assault charge that was later dropped, but he had problems in the classroom and wasn’t exactly known as the hardest of workers. The NFL doesn’t care as long as you can play, and Tarrant can ball. He needs coaching and has to keep his nose clean, but as long as there aren’t any problems, he can become a solid NFL producer.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

SS Jeron Johnson, Boise State (SS) 5-10, 212
CFN Overall Ranking: 126

CFN Analysis: Athletic and tough, he has the raw tools and ability, helped by 23 reps on the bench, to be a solid strong safety. He moves well and he’s built for the position with a thick frame and a compact hitting ability. Experienced, he was a regular over the last four seasons for the strong Bronco secondary and was ultra-productive. While he’s a big hitter, he’s going to knock himself out of games. He didn’t at Boise State, but he might be too physical for his own good. Yes, he’s athletic, but he’s not going to do too much against the pass.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

TE Zack Pianalto, North Carolina 6-3, 256
CFN Overall Ranking: 131

CFN Analysis: Fantastic at the Combine, he made everyone go back to the video to take a longer look at what he did for the Tar heels. He has good size, is a nice receiver, and can be a dangerous and reliable short-to-midrange target. He’s a strong route runner for the passing game and a good blocker for the ground attack, but he has a hard time staying healthy and will never, ever, be around for 16 games. What you see is what you get; there’s not much upside, but he’s plenty good as is.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

142. ILB Nick Bellore, Central Michigan 6-1, 245
CFN Overall Ranking: 142

CFN Analysis: A natural-looking man for the middle, he was phenomenally productive for four years making 472 tackles. He doesn’t miss a stop and he’s a tough, hard-working, lunch pail type who gets his nose dirty on every play and leads well by both example and vocally. The problem comes against the good blockers. He gets erased too easily and can’t seem to fight through the trash well enough to be a run stuffer; he’s more of a tackler who runs to the ball. He is what he is; there’s nothing to develop and what you see is what you’re going to get.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

OG Zach Hurd, Connecticut (OT) 6-7, 324
CFN Overall Ranking: 144

CFN Analysis: Part tackle prospect and part guard, he’s a bit too tall for the interior and a bit too slow for the outside. However, he does a nice job of getting on the move, and he comes up with the big hit down the field. He’ll likely start out as a decent right tackle, but he’ll probably be a better guard with a little bit of work. Unfortunately, he plays a bit too tall and he has to learn how to get lower to be an NFL run blocker. While he’ll never be a great starter, his versatility will make him valuable.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

OG Justin Boren, Ohio State 6-3, 309
CFN Overall Ranking: 148

CFN Analysis: It’s a stretch to call him a disappointment, but after starting out his career at Michigan and moving to Ohio State, he never progressed into the type of dominant blocker he was expected to become. He’ll fight and he has a mean, confident streak that serves him well, but he’s not an athlete and he has to beat people up in short spaces. As long as he doesn’t have to move, he’ll be fine.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

CB Kendric Burney, North Carolina 5-9, 186
CFN Overall Ranking: 149

CFN Analysis: SLOWWWWWWW. He’s quick on the field and he plays fast, but his 4.72 at the Combine was a disaster. A better football player than an athlete, he’s not big enough, he didn’t show much in the vertical and the long jump, and he doesn’t have the look of a top-shelf corner. His game film is great and he’s great at battling with the better receivers, but he was abused by Miami’s Leonard Hankerson at the Senior Bowl. He’ll never be a No. 1 corner, but he’s a strong enough talent, despite the lack of skills, to be a regular somewhere in the secondary. He won’t be able to hang with anyone with speed, but he could be fantastic as a nickel or dime defender.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

RB Derrick Locke, Kentucky 5-8, 188
CFN Overall Ranking: 153

CFN Analysis: He’s always going to have an injury problem in one way or another, and he’s not going to get any bigger and he’s not going to hit anyone, but if given the chance he’ll be the difference in at least two wins a year. A case could be made that he was the best all-around back in the SEC over the last few years with great hands for the receiving game, terrific kick return skills, and excellent speed and quickness. He’ll never be a featured back, but he’ll be around for a long time as a returner and a third down back.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

OT Byron Bell, New Mexico (OG) 6-5, 348
CFN Overall Ranking: 155

CFN Analysis: The huge blocker has the raw strength and the size to be a pounder of a run blocker. No one is going to push him around, and forget about getting any sort of a bull rush on him. He’s not quick and he doesn’t move too well, and he’s almost certainly going to be a guard early on in his career. Does he have the athleticism to survive in the league? That’s a huge question mark, but the bigger concern will be his lack of consistency. He was the best player on the Lobo line by far, but he didn’t always play like it.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

OLB Scott Lutrus, Connecticut 6-2, 241
CFN Overall Ranking: 162

CFN Analysis: A nice-sized, rock-solid versatile defender, he can work at any linebacker spot and can hold his own and produce. Surprisingly mobile at the Combine, he tested better than he plays on the field with a tremendous 38” vertical and great quickness in the short drills. He’s not a pass defender and he doesn’t do anything at a high level, but he’s a good all-around football player when he can stay healthy. He’d be higher on more draft boards if he didn’t have major shoulder problems suffering stingers on a regular basis. The injuries are going to prove limiting.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

WR Tori Gurley, South Carolina 6-4, 216 (Soph.)
CFN Overall Ranking: 163

CFN Analysis: While it might seem like Gurley should’ve stuck around, he’s going to be 24 and Alshon Jeffery is the clear star of the South Carolina passing show. Even though he has a slew of concerns from his lack of pure athleticism and inability to use his size to be physical, he’s very big, catches everything, and moves well enough for his size to get by. While he might not be a special receiver, he has just enough raw skills to get a long, long look. On his hands alone he could find a role as a reliable third down target. CFN Projection: Fifth Round

QB Pat Devlin, Delaware 6-3, 225
CFN Overall Ranking: 171

CFN Analysis: He looks the part. Devlin is a tall, polished passer who looks terrific in workouts and has the mechanics of an NFL quarterback. While he doesn’t have a deep arm, he’s accurate on midrange throws and he could carve out a very, very long career as a solid backup. With a little time, plug him in and he should be able to win a game or two. However, he’s a mediocre talent with problems being decisive. The lack of a deep arm will limit the options of where he can play, and it’s questionable whether or not the one-time Penn State Nittany Lion can hack it now that he’s out of the small pond.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

OLB Mark Herzlich, Boston College (ILB) 6-4, 244
CFN Overall Ranking: 172

CFN Analysis: Before having to undergo his battle with cancer he was considered a sure-thing top ten pick and possibly the No. 1 overall prospect going into the 2009 season. While he’s a player to root for and he’s as hard a worker as any linebacker in the draft, he lost something in the fight. The weight room strength is there and he’s always going 100 miles per hour on the field, but he doesn’t have anywhere near the same speed or quickness he used to. On character and want-to, he can play on an NFL defense and be a good run defender and a productive part-time starter, but he’s not nearly the special player he once was.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

OT Kyle Hix, Texas 6-7, 319
CFN Overall Ranking: 173

CFN Analysis: He looks the part. With great height, good bulk for his frame, and with the ability to carry a little more weight without much of a problem, he should’ve been a star but it didn’t really work out. All the tools are there and he handled himself well at a high Big 12 level, but he never dominated like he was supposed to and he didn’t do nearly enough for the ground game. He doesn’t play up to his size and he’s the definition of a finesse blocker.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

WR Armon Binns, Cincinnati 6-3, 209
CFN Overall Ranking: 174

CFN Analysis: With excellent size and great receiving ability, he uses his frame well to push his way into the open and muscle out defensive backs to catch the ball. He’s not fast and he won’t ever get deep, and for his physical play he doesn’t block well enough, but he tries. The character is there and hands are enough to make him a dangerous short-range target, but he’s extremely limited. CFN Projection: Sixth Round

RB Noel Devine, West Virginia 5-7, 179
CFN Overall Ranking: 175

CFN Analysis: It was a bit of a stunner that he came back for his senior year, and then he struggled and went from being an intriguing NFL role player type to being an afterthought. Insanely strong for his size, he should be able bring a little bit of power and he’s quicker than his workouts show. Size is a big issue, even after putting on close to 20 pounds in a hurry over the last few months, and he times slowwwwwww. He fumbles too much, has a hard time staying healthy, and doesn’t have the raw skills. However, he should have some worth as a versatile backup and a kick returner.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

RB Darren Evans, Virginia Tech 6-0, 227 (Junior)
CFN Overall Ranking: 176

CFN Analysis: He had the look of a rising superstar with a tremendous 2008, and then he tore up his knee before the 2009 season and he wasn’t quite the same in 2010. He’s a big back with good shiftiness and nice straight-line speed, but he’s not going to bust off any big runs and he’s not creative enough to come up with anything that’s not blocked for him. While he has good size, he also gets chopped down way too easily and doesn’t do a good enough job of getting small when needed. He’s not going to do anything special in the NFL, but he’ll be a part of a rotation and will be productive in spurts.
CFN Projection: Fifth Round

OG Bryant Browning, Ohio State (OT) 6-4, 319
CFN Overall Ranking: 177

CFN Analysis: A very tough, very big, smart blocker who blows up people in the running game on the inside, he’s just quick enough to be tried out on the outside at right tackle. He doesn’t look the part as an NFL full-timer, though, not moving quite well enough on a consistent basis while needing more work on his technique. There are plenty of issues, and there will be some who’ll blow him off because he doesn’t seem like he’ll fit anywhere, but he’s just versatile enough to hang around the league to carve out a nice career.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

WR DeAndre Brown, Southern Miss 6-6, 233 (Jr.)
CFN Overall Ranking: 179

CFN Analysis: Very, VERY big and with good route running ability, he’s able to work to get open and he’s physical enough to battle to catch the ball. Like a smallish tight end, he needs a shot from a defensive back to get down. Unfortunately, he has never been the same since an ugly leg injury after originally looking like a sure-thing NFL star, and while he has interesting size and good skills, he’s simply not an NFL athlete anymore. He acts like a first rounder when he’ll have to work his tail off to simply make a team. CFN Projection: Fifth Round

TE Weslye Saunders, South Carolina 6-5, 270
CFN Overall Ranking: 180

CFN Analysis: Extremely big and with good pass catching skills for a player of his size, he’s an interesting option if he can put it all together. The problem is his lack of athleticism combined with his poor strength. A player of his size should be able to blast away for the ground game, and he can’t. He needs a fire lit under him, and even so the upside might not be there because he’s not expected to work for it. After getting in trouble under Steve Spurrier, getting booted from the team for dealing with an agent, and now he’ll have to be perfect from Day One or he’ll be an easy cut.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

SS Joe Lefeged, Rutgers 6-0, 210
CFN Overall Ranking: 181

CFN Analysis: While he’s a good defender who’s always making things happen, his real worth is as a special teamer with a phenomenal knack for coming up with blocked kicks while also having the speed and quickness to work as a returner. Smooth, he runs extremely well, breaking off a 4.43 at the Combine, and has the raw athleticism to work at either safety spot. While he’s not awful against the pass, he doesn’t have special ball skills and, defensively, he doesn’t do any one thing all that well. He only picked off two passes in 50 games of work, and it would be nice if he was a bit bigger, but he’s too good on special teams and too good an athlete to not be a key part of a roster.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

DE Pierre Allen, Nebraska 6-4, 273
CFN Overall Ranking: 182

CFN Analysis: Surrounded by tremendous talent, including Ndamukong Suh, he played big and showed he could be the type of lineman who can work in any system. The problem is that he didn’t produce as well as he should have. While he’s a decent pass rusher, there’s absolutely nothing special about his game and he’s more of a prospect on his hard-working attitude and his size than his pure talent. It seems like he should be fantastic, and he has the raw tools and the right look, but he just isn’t a great football player. He’ll have to show he can do at least one thing at a high level to stick, but with his frame and his athleticism, he should be a decent part of a rotation.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

OT Jarriel King, South Carolina (OG) 6-5, 317
CFN Overall Ranking: 183

CFN Analysis: There are a bazillon red flags with physical issues – most notably a heart problem that was fixed – along with problems with the NCAA, but the biggest concern is his inability to ever play up to his talent level. All the skills are there with phenomenal size, long arms, and tremendous quickness and athleticism, but he doesn’t beat anyone up and he doesn’t have the consistency to be a regular starter. However, the tools are too good to ignore.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

- Top Free Agents - 2nd Tier