2010 NFL Draft Early Entries - The Final List
Alabama CB Kareem Jackson
Alabama CB Kareem Jackson
Posted Jan 15, 2010

Now that the bowls are over, many of the top players are going from their final game to workouts for the next level. Here's the list of the early entries into the 2010 NFL Draft and the early projections of where they'll go.

2010 NFL Draft Early Entires

Should I stay or should I go?

- The 2009 Early Entries and what happened to them
- The 2008 Early Entries and what happened to them
- The 2007 Early Entries and what happened to them
- 2009 CFN NFL Draft Central

By Pete Fiutak

It's that time of year again when several superstar college players weigh whether or not they're ready to make the big leap into the land of the mercenaries. The rule of thumb for pro prospects is this: If your game relies purely on speed, come out. Every football player needs speed to some degree, but a receiver, running back and defensive back only has so many years of blazing speed in them. Any slippage in that top gear, and you're out of the league. Running backs can only take so many shots and should come out as soon as humanly possible. Everyone else should stay in school unless they're a sure-fire first or second round pick ... in a normal year. This isn't a normal year.

The NFL is trying to figure out its collective bargaining agreement, and in it, there's almost certainly going to be a rookie salary cap for the 2011 NFL Draft. That means the $40 million first round contracts could become $5 million, or worse, so all the mid-level pro prospect who can leave are almost certainly going to take off. They'd be crazy not to.

With that in mind, here are the early entries with where they're projected to go.

Toney Baker, RB NC State
Measurables: 5-10, 225
Projection: Free Agent
Good Move or Bad Move: Another year of school might mean a late round selection in the 2011 Draft, but with questions about his knee and without any special skills, he'll likely get a free agent look this year. He has a big heart and he'll work his tail off and he might impress just enough in interviews, if he gets any interviews, for someone to take a late round flier.

Arrelious Benn, WR Illinois
Measurables: 6-2, 220
Projection: Late 1st Round, Early 2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: One of the nation's top recruits and considered the player who was going to turn the Illinois program around, he was good over his first two years, a stunning disappointment as a junior, and he only finished with seven career receiving scores. With all the size, all the speed, and all the skills, he only caught 38 passes for 490 yards and two scores this season and went from being considered a sure-thing top 15 pick to a likely early second rounder. In a perfect world he'd stick around for another year to show off why everyone was so high on him early on, but with so much turmoil at Illinois, it's time to jump off the sinking ship.

Eric Berry, S Tennessee
Measurables: 5-11, 205
Projection: Top Ten Overall
Good Move or Bad Move: For those who believe that having a Troy Polamalu or a Bob Sanders is the difference between a team being good and special, Berry will be someone a defense will want to work around. It'll be a battle between Berry and USC's Taylor Mays for the honor of being the top safety taken, but the Thorpe Award winner was more consistent and might be the safer option. He has the size, the tremendous playmaking ability, the ball skills, and the leadership to be a perennial Pro Bowler. Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin all but booted Berry into the NFL saying he was more than ready to shine at the next level.

Jahvid Best, RB California
Measurables: 5-10, 198
Projection: 1st Round
Good Move or Bad Move: Considered the best of all the recent Cal running back prospects, the shifty Best knows how to get into the end zone and isn't afraid to do what's needed to come up with the hard yards. Ultra-productive whenever he has been fully healthy, there's too much upside not to take a first round chance on him. However, he can't be counted on to carry an NFL workload. He's not huge, his speed isn't necessarily blazing, and he has a ton of injuries from ticky-tack to frightening. He could be one of the most poked and prodded prospects at the Combine.

Navarro Bowman, LB Penn State
Measurables: 6-1, 230
Projection: 1st Round
Good Move or Bad Move: He's not all that big, but he's a fantastic athlete who will be used in a variety of ways in either a 3-4 or a 4-3 on the outside. There are some character questions and he needs to hit the weight room hard to be more of a factor against an NFL running game, but he's a strong tackler and can run all over the stadium. He'll go 100 miles per hour, but he's at his best in space and can be erased by decent blockers.

Sam Bradford, QB Oklahoma
Measurables: 6-4, 225
Projection: Top 15 overall
Good Move or Bad Move: He has the look of a superstar, Tom Brady-like NFL quarterback with quick decision-making abilities and a quick release, and when he was healthy, he perfectly executed the Sooner offense. However, he was never great in the face of a constant pass rush, worked behind one of the best offensive lines in college football in 2008, and has major durability question marks after hurting his shoulder and not being able to do much in 2009. Even so, he'll be the best combination of proven production and upside of any quarterback in the draft.

Dezmon Briscoe, WR Kansas
Measurables: 6-3, 200
Projection: Mid-2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: With Todd Reesing gone and a new coaching staff coming in, it's time for Briscoe to leave. He's a big, strong playmaker with deep threat ability and a good nose for fighting for the ball. He's not known as a blazer, but if he can come up with a 4.5 he could go as high as the late first round. A slow 40, like a 4.7, would make him a fringe first-day pick. He should be a tremendous No. 2 target and a dream of a No. 3.

Antonio Brown, WR Central Michigan
Measurables: 5-10, 182
Projection: 5th Round
Good Move or Bad Move: At the very least he'll be given a shot to return kicks and punts. An ultra-productive No. 1 target for Dan LeFevour, Brown put up huge numbers as both a receiver and a returner. He's not as big as the scouts might like and he's not a blazer, but there's a place for him in the league.

Bryan Bulaga, OT Iowa
Measurables: 6-5, 310
Projection: 1st Round
Good Move or Bad Move: He has the size and he's a mauler of a run blocker, but he's not an elite pass blocker and might get the dreaded Right Tackle Only tag by some teams. He wasn't the dominator he was expected to be this season, partially because he missed time sick, but he did a great job in the Orange Bowl against Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan. After workouts he could grow into a top ten selection.

Morgan Burnett, S Georgia Tech
Measurables: 6-1, 210
Projection: 2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: His versatility will be a big key. He's big enough and fast enough to play any safety position with good coverage skills and nice hitting ability in the open field. His stock isn't all through the roof after having a better 2008 than 2009, and he's built a little stocky, more like a small linebacker, but he has the skills to be an instant starter.

Dez Bryant, WR Oklahoma State
Measurables: 6-2, 215
Projection: Top 15 Overall
Good Move or Bad Move: It's all there to become the  NFL's next big thing. He has the size, the quickness as a returner, and the big play ability to be a superstar. He also wants to be the best player possible and will do what's needed to be done to get there, but while he has all the tools, he has been banged up at times, didn't always produce against the top teams, and he missed most of this year after a bizarre skirmish with the NCAA. Even so, he'll almost certainly be the first wide receiver taken.

Bruce Campbell, OT Maryland
Measurables: 6-6, 315
Projection: Late 1st Round
Good Move or Bad Move: On talent there's no question that he's a first round draft pick with prototype size and tremendous athleticism. He's the type of blocker who could be a ten-year fixture at left tackle if he could stay healthy. Always dinged up over his college career, he might not be counted on for a full 16-game NFL season, but he's way too promising to pass up. If he can sell the NFL world that he can be durable, he might end up in the top ten.

Jimmy Clausen, QB Notre Dame
Measurables: 6-2, 225
Projection: 1st Round
Good Move or Bad Move: Clausen has a chance to be a top ten pick, at least that was the buzz halfway through the season, and he's as ready as he'll ever be. There's a big question mark about maturity level and leadership qualities, but he has the arm and he has the toughness to be more than just a serviceable NFL starter. Is he another Brady Quinn and a good player who was in a pass-happy system, or can he really play at an NFL level? In a world of spread quarterbacks and guesswork, he's at least a bit safer of a pro-style passer, even if there's a ceiling on how good he can be.

Rennie Curran, LB Georgia
Measurables: 5-11, 225
Projection: Late 2nd Round to Mid-3rd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: He's a tackling machine who won't be afraid to hit, but he's way small and will only be effective in space. However, there's no questioning his drive or his leadership, and he could end up becoming an instant hit on special teams before being a fixture as someone's defensive captain.

Anthony Davis, OT Rutgers
Measurables: 6-5, 330
Projection: 1st Round
Good Move or Bad Move: On size and talent he's a top ten pick and the first tackle taken overall, but there's a huge, HUGE question mark about his work ethic and his ability as a leader at left tackle. He can move and he has the temperament to bury defenders and be the blocker an offense works around on a regular basis, but he has always had issues with his weight and he has been disciplined from time to time. He'll be the Andre Smith of the draft; everyone will want him, many will be scared off, and he'll end up going high anyway.

Carlos Dunlap, DE Florida
Measurables: 6-6, 280
Projection: 1st Round
Good Move or Bad Move: He was probably ready for the NFL out of high school. At least he was physically. With an NFL body to play end in either a 3-4 or a 4-3, many teams are going to see him as a possible cornerstone for the line. There's no questioning his size or his quickness off the ball, but he wasn't quite as good as he should've been considering all his talent, and he's not exactly known for busting his tail when it comes to work ethic. On ability and potential he's a ten pick, but he'll probably go in 15-to-25.

Jonathan Dwyer, RB Georgia Tech
Measurables: 5-11, 245
Projection: Late 1st Round
Good Move or Bad Move: Very big and very quick for his size, he wasn't quite the devastating all-around runner that he was when he was a little bit smaller in 2008, but he still put up great numbers and was devastating in the Paul Johnson option attack. He can run inside or out and has enough speed to break off big runs if he gets into the clear.

Dominique Franks, CB Oklahoma
Measurables: 6-0, 195
Projection: 2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: While there are several question marks about his consistency, and he thinks he's a bit better than he really is, it's a mediocre year for corners and he could be one of the top five defensive backs taken. He has decent size and he's dangerous with the ball in his hands, but he doesn't project to be a star No. 1 corner. However, he'd be fantastic as a No. 2 and could be a strong nickel and dime back.

Toby Gerhart, RB Stanford
Measurables: 6-0, 235
Projection: 3rd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: The ultra-productive workhorse came through all season long despite being targeted by every defense he faced. A senior, he had another year of eligibility but chose to leave early. Considering he ran the ball 343 times, he needs to get to the pros as soon as possible to avoid the dreaded tread on the tires tag. There will be questions about a knee injury that cost him a bulk of 2007, and he'll have to show decent speed in workouts, but he should be a solid back who'll flourish around the goal line. He'll always get the hard yards.

Clifton Geathers, DE South Carolina
Measurables: 6-8, 280
Projection: 4th Round
Good Move or Bad Move: Geathers is a massive, tackle-like defender who'll be better as a 3-4 end than as a pass rushing 4-3 outside defender, but he's decent against the run and might be just scratching the surface. He has a freakish combination of skills, but they haven't translated to the field. On pure talent he should be a top 50 pick, but he isn't good enough to be anywhere near the first few rounds and will be seen as a flier.

Thaddeus Gibson, OLB Ohio State
Measurables: 6-2, 240
Projection: 2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: A tweener who will be an outside linebacker at the next level, he needs to add some weight while trying to keep his speed. He'll wow them at the Combine with his tremendous speed and burst, and some defensive coordinator will be drooling over the idea of making him a pass rushing terror from the outside. While he might flirt with the first round, and some mock drafts will put him at around 30, he'll probably be a mid-2nd round selection.

Everson Griffen, DE USC
Measurables: 6-3, 275
Projection: Early 2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: On potential he could end up going in the top 20, if not much higher. He'll be seen as a perfect 3-4 end in a rotation with the talent to become much better if the light can go on. He was good, but he was never the elite superstar he was supposed to be and wasn't quite consistent enough to dominate as much as expected. He works hard and he could end up being a far better pro than he was a college player, but there's serious bust potential.

Rob Gronkowski, TE Arizona
Measurables: 6-6, 265
Projection: 2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: He was ready as a freshman. He has a rare blend of wide receiver athleticism to go along with tight end size, but he missed all of last year with a back problem and will be red flagged by several teams. He's supposedly fine now and ready to go, and if his workouts are great, he could be a high riser to get into the top 20.

Joe Haden, CB Florida

Measurables: 6-0, 195
Projection: Top Ten Overall
Good Move or Bad Move: One of the nation's best defensive players over the last three seasons, Haden will likely be the first corner taken and would've been a sure-thing first rounder had he been allowed to leave early last year. Not just the type of corner who can erase most No. 1 receiver, he's a tough, physical tackler with the speed and size to move to safety if needed. With the right coaching, he'll be a perennial Pro Bowler.

Aaron Hernandez, TE Florida
Measurables: 6-2, 250
Projection: Late 2nd Round, Early 3rd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: The best tight end in college football this year, and the most valuable, Hernandez could've been the featured target for John Brantley, or he could become a decent No. 2 tight end/H-Back at the next level. He's not built like a prototype, built more like a fullback, but he has nice hands, good speed, and he fights for the ball. He's not afraid to block, but his worth at the next level will be as a receiver.

Kareem Jackson, CB Alabama
Measurables: 5-11, 190
Projection: 2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: This will be one of the most interesting calls of the draft. He has good size, nice tackling skills, and always came through when pressed, but he thinks he's going in the second round and he could easily end up sliding to the fourth or even lower. He never had to be the guy, but he had a nice season on the other side of Javier Arenas.

Chad Jones, S LSU
Measurables: 6-3, 215
Projection: 1st Round
Good Move or Bad Move: He's not a form tackler and he gambles way too much, but he has prototype raw skills with a tremendous blend of size, corner speed, and an ability to go after the ball in the air. The big concern will be his baseball ability. A big-time MLB prospect, the economics might work better to go play the sport that doesn't hit so much (and will have a season in 2011, unlike, possibly, the NFL).

Reshad Jones, S Georgia
Measurables: 6-2, 215
Projection: 2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: While he doesn't quite have first round skills, he'll be a nice pick in the second round with good size, excellent range, and strong ball-hawking skills. He's an NFL starter who can play a variety of positions, but he might be a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. There will be a learning curve and it might take a year for him to be ready to shine, but there's big-time upside.

Abe Koroma, DT Western Illinois
Measurables: 6-3, 320
Projection: 6th Round to Free Agent
Good Move or Bad Move: The former Penn State Nittany Lion became a star for WIU. He's not considered a top prospect and is hardly a polished product, but he has nice size, excellent quickness for a 4-3 scheme, and has just enough upside to be drafted by someone in the late rounds as a developmental shot for the moon.

Darius Marshall, RB Marshall
Measurables: 5-10, 190
Projection: 7th Round/Free Agent
Good Move or Bad Move: He'll be drafted late, if at all, but former Marshall RB Ahmad Bradshaw left early, got taken in the seventh round and turned out to be fine. Marshall was extremely productive for the Herd, but he's not necessarily a blazer and isn't an inside runner at the pro level. Many will make a big thing out of a problem stemming from arrest for possession of pot, but that's not going to be a major issue for anyone who really wants him.

Joe McKnight, RB USC
Measurables: 6-0. 190
Projection: 4th Round
Good Move or Bad Move: Getting out one step ahead of the posse, and in an SUV, he'll be a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none at the next level. He wasn't the special back he was expected to be, heralded by some as the next Reggie Bush, and he wasn't consistent, but he's fast, could be a dangerous specialist as either a returner or on third downs, and he'll be a fun toy for someone to play with.

Ryan Mathews, RB Fresno State
Measurables: 5-11, 225
Projection: 2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: A home-run hitter who led the nation averaging 151 yards per game with 19 touchdowns, he might not have elite timed speed but he showed throughout his career that he can score from anywhere on the field. With good power to go along with tremendous quickness, he'll be seen as a fantastic complementary back who could be deadly for a few games here and there, like a Jonathan Stewart. Durability is a bit concern missing time in all three of his seasons. If health wasn't an issue, he might be a top 20 pick.

Gerald McCoy, DT Oklahoma
Measurables: 6-3, 296
Projection: Top Five Overall
Good Move or Bad Move: He's another Tommie Harris. While he doesn't have the eye-popping stats of Ndamuknong Suh, he's a pocket-collapser who will flourish in a 4-3 but could be a deadly end in a 3-4. While he's not a true anchor to sit in the middle of a 3-4 to clog things up, and he doesn't have the bulk to be the brick wall some teams might like, he has Pro Bowl skills and will be a difference-maker from Day One for someone's D. He was ready to be a top five pick as a freshman.

Rolando McClain, LB Alabama
Measurables: 6-4, 255
Projection: Top 15 Overall
Good Move or Bad Move: He's a little tall for the position and he was overrated as a collegian getting to play behind a brick wall of a line and with so much talent around him, but he should be a perennial Pro Bowl selection with his range, tackling ability, and most importantly, his leadership. He'll be the Peyton Manning for someone's defense from Day One. Nick Saban doesn't gush about anything. Nick Saban gushes about McClain.

Shawnbrey McNeal, RB SMU
Measurables: 5-10, 190
Projection: Free Agent
Good Move or Bad Move: Extremely quick and a burner, he can be used as a receiver out of the backfield and as a change of pace option. The Miami transfer had knee problems and struggled to hit the books, but he managed to be a 1,000-yard rusher in a June Jones offense. That's tough to do.

Carlton Mitchell, WR South Florida
Measurables: 6-4, 212
Projection: 3rd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: Mitchell could quickly grow into the hot receiver prospect with the potential to go in the top 50 if the workouts go well. He has a nice blend of size and speed and he looks the part, but he'll have to prove to the general managers that he can be consistent and that he's not just a measurables guy. However, someone will love the idea of him as a deep threat No. 3 target.

Derrick Morgan, DE Georgia Tech
Measurables: 6-4, 275
Projection: Top Ten Overall
Good Move or Bad Move: He'll be overdrafted if he goes in the top 15 overall, but he's ready to play in the NFL right now. He works and works and works his way to get into the backfield and he's a great playmaker, but he might not ever be a truly special player because he lacks an elite burst off the ball. With his size and his talent, he'll be a fixture on someone's line over the next ten years.

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE South Florida
Measurables: 6-5, 260
Projection: Top 20 Overall
Good Move or Bad Move: George Selvie who? Pierre-Paul has the upside and the prototype end skills to blow everyone away once the poking, prodding, and workouts start to kick in. He's tall, strong, extremely athletic and extremely quick, but he's not going to be anyone's outside linebacker and he might only work well in a 4-3. Given a little time, he might be good enough to revolve a defensive front around.

Maukice Pouncey, C Florida
Measurables: 6-4, 315
Projection: Late 1st Round/Early 2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: Tim Tebow wasn't the only reason the dive play worked over and over again. One of the nation's most consistent linemen over the last three years, and a strong, tough inside presence who grew into the anchor of a terrific line, he's easily the best center in the draft and could be moved to any other position without a problem.

Brian Price, DT UCLA
Measurables: 6-2  300
Projection: First Round
Good Move or Bad Move: While there would've been a huge buzz about him next year and he would've have top ten potential, he'll be a first rounder this year and should go to a good team at around the 15. He's an active, tough playmaker who might not be Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy, but with his incredible quickness there will be some teams desperate to get him relatively cheap.

Jevan Snead, QB Ole Miss
Measurables: 6-3, 215
Projection: 2nd round
Good Move or Bad Move: Snead will get criticized up and down for leaving early after a bad year, but he has similar passing numbers to Jake Locker, who many considered the possible No. 1 pick, and he has better pure passing skills (but he's not nearly the runner). There's no questioning Snead's arm, his size, or his upside, but he doesn't have "it" as far as being able to come up with the big plays at the big times. The NFL types will fall in love with him once the workouts start.

Blaze Soares, LB Hawaii
Measurables: 6-1, 235
Projection: Free Agent
Good Move or Bad Move: He didn't have much of a choice. He wanted to come back, but his chances of getting another year from the NCAA after missing a year with a torn calf muscle. He might be a late second day pick and will be seen as a good special teamer with the potential to make a name for himself as an all-around inside presence.

Amari Spievey, CB Iowa
Measurables: 6-1, 190
Projection: 3rd Round/Early 4th Round
Good Move or Bad Move: Very productive in his brief time in Iowa City, coming over from the JUCO ranks, he has nice size, decent speed, and is a strong tackler. He's not going to be anyone's shut down corner, but he'll be a strong No. 2 and could grow into a whale of a nickel back. With his size, he could turn into a safety and could be solid in a Cover-2 scheme.

Golden Tate, WR Notre Dame
Measurables: 5-11, 195
Projection: Late 1st round, early-2nd round
Good Move or Bad Move: He'll be the guy that everyone wants based on explosiveness, productivity, and playmaking ability, but he'll drop because he's not really 5-11 as listed. In an NFL full of 6-4, 220-pound targets, it's hard to revolve around an entire passing attack around someone as small as Tate. Expect the Steve Smith comparisons to start soon, and he could be every bit as good.

Demaryius Thomas, WR Georgia Tech
Measurables: 6-3, 230
Projection: 3rd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: Some will look at him and see a slower Andre Johnson, and others will look at him and want to beef him up into an H-Back. He was basically a one-trick pony at Georgia Tech, used mostly as a deep threat when defenses were caught worrying about the running game, but he has great size and is an effective blocker. He's not all that quick and he's not a polished all-around receiver, but he has intriguing measurables.

Earl Thomas, S Texas
Measurables: 5-10, 190
Projection: 1st Round
Good Move or Bad Move: He's a little small and a tad young, coming out as a third-year sophomore, but he's the latest in the long line of strong Texas defensive backs who appear to be a sure-thing at the next level. He's not a big tackler for an NFL safety, but he's an ideal nickel back, which is a starting role for many NFL teams, and he has unlimited range and coverage ability.

Donovan Warren, CB Michigan
Measurables: 6-0, 190
Projection: Mid-2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: He has decent size, the ball skills and the raw speed to be someone's high priority at around the 40-to-50 mark of the draft. He'll dazzle in the workouts and if he says and does all the right things, he could be seen by some team as a dream nickel back to go along with his potential as a cover-corner. A three-year starter, he has proven he's ready.

Damian Williams, WR USC
Measurables: 6-1, 195
Projection: Early 2nd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: He doesn't have the prototype size and he'll have to prove he has the top-end speed in workouts, but he might be a great value pick in the mid-to-late second round. He's polished and ready to start right now with his 12-catch day against Boston College a nice way to leave the scouts excited. Considering he had a true freshman throwing to him, a 70-catch, 1,010-yard season is impressive.

Mike Williams, WR Syracuse
Measurables: 6-2, 205
Projection: 4th Round
Good Move or Bad Move: On talent and potential he's a first rounder, but there are major red flags that will make him undraftable by some teams. He missed all of 2008 because he didn't get into the classroom, and his 2009 was cut short after being suspended. He quit the team following a car accident, and while he's physically fine, he'll have to prove he's worth the trouble.

Jason Worilds, DE Virginia Tech
Measurables: 6-2, 250
Projection: 3rd Round
Good Move or Bad Move: Is his shoulder 100%? It was a problem early in his career and he was a disappointment this season, but he has the pass rushing skills and the talent to potentially flourish in a specialists role. He has a high-motor and could be the type of player who turns into a better pro than a college player.

Major Wright, S Florida
Measurables: 6-0, 204
Projection: 4th Round
Good Move or Bad Move: He's not the star prospect that other safeties like Eric Berry or Earl Thomas are, but he'll be a good, sound value on the second day as a possible nickel back or a No. 3 safety. He's a good ball-hawker who was always around the ball, but he benefitted by having a ton of talent around him. He's a nice open-field tackler.