Khaseem Greene is likely to be the first Scarlet Knight name called in the 2013 NFL draft.
The draft is less than one month away, and while the Combine has now passed, many colleges are still hosting pro days to showcase their team's prospective NFL talent. The continued success of Rutgers' program has produced 11 NFL hopefuls for 2013. Some Scarlet Knights are a lock to be chosen, others would consider themselves lucky to get a free-agent invite to just one of the 32 NFL camps. The 2013 RU draft prospects are:
Steve Beauharnais - inside linebacker (6'1", 240 pounds). Beauharnais finished his college career on an uptick, as RU's opponents often game-planned ways to take teammate Khaseem Greene out of the action, freeing Beauharnais to make plays on defense. For his career, Beauharnais tallied 268 tackles and was invited to the Senior Bowl this year.
A poor 40 time of 4.84 may sour scouts on Beauharnais, who had five sacks and three interceptions in his final season at RU. Beauharnais "could still find himself as a late-round pick to a team needing a run stuffer," according to analysis on NFL.com. Beauharnais is projected as a sixth- or seventh-round pick.
Marcus Cooper - cornerback (6'2", 190 pounds). With a 4.47 time in the 40, Cooper made an impressive showing at the Rutgers Pro Day (per Tom Luicci of The Star-Ledger) with the top place in the broad jump and vertical leap. This past season Cooper collected 26 tackles and one interception, but he is not projected as even a late-round pick in this April's draft.
R.J. Dill - tackle (6'7", 385 pounds). For a big man, Dill's time in the 40 is good (5.36), but was slightly worse at the recent Rutgers Pro Day on March 13 (5.43). Rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the No. 31 tackle this year, his participation in the East-West Shrine Game did little to improve his draft stock, and many project that he will not be drafted. Dill may get a phone call after the draft is concluded from a team that is currently in salary cap difficulty and needs free agent help on the offensive line.
Khaseem Greene - outside linebacker (6'1", 241 pounds). Easily the most highly-regarded of the Rutgers draft prospects this year, Greene is projected to be a second- or third-round pick this April. The Big East's leading tackler in 2011 and 2012, he was named that conference's defensive player of the year. With a 4.71 time in the 40, Greene has "the agility and straight-line speed to elude blockers and beats backs to the edge," according to Rob Rang of CBSSports.com.
Duron Harmon - safety (6'2", 196 pounds). A time of 4.45 in the 40 may not be enough to entice NFL teams to take a chance on a defensive back who had 50 tackles and only one interception in 2012. Harmon was a second-team academic All-American this past season, earning him the chance to play in the NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl. Harmon is forecast as late-round pick, probably a seventh-rounder or a post-draft free agent.
Mark Harrison - wide receiver (6'3", 231 pounds). In his critical senior season, Harrison had 44 receptions for 583 yards and six touchdowns, but his average yards-per-reception was the lowest of his career due to sophomore Gary Nova's struggles. Harrison's 4.46 time in the 40 was noteworthy at the Combine, and he is currently projected by CBSSports.com as a possible seventh-round pick in April.
Jawan Jamison - running back (5'8", 203 pounds). The first 1,000-yard rusher for Rutgers since Ray Rice, Jamison was hobbled late in the season with a severe ankle sprain that had an adverse effect on the Scarlet Knights' run at the Big East title. Currently evaluated as the No. 12 running back in this year's draft, his 4.68 time in the 40 did not help to boost his stock with NFL scouts. Jamison also collected 28 receptions out of the backfield, and is currently projected as a fourth- or fifth-round draft choice.
D.C. Jefferson - tight end (6'6", 255 pounds). Often injured, Jefferson has not been able to grab the attention of scouts, despite his reputation as a solid blocking tight end. An appearance in the East-West Shrine Game has led some to project that Jefferson could be drafted anywhere in rounds four through seven (per Tom Luicci of The Star-Ledger), whereas CBSSports.com does not even project the young tight end to be picked at all. Jefferson posted a 4.82 time in the 40 in recent workouts, and had just 20 catches this past season with one touchdown.
Logan Ryan - cornerback (5'11", 191 pounds). Ryan, like Jamison, chose to leave Rutgers one year early in order to enter the NFL draft. After a good showing at the Combine, he kept his participation to a minimum at Rutgers Pro Day, and his currently projected as a second- or third-round choice.
With a solid season in 2012, Ryan was the team's second-leading tackler (94), had four interceptions and two forced fumbles. While his recent 4.56 time in the 40 may not seem impressive, NFLScout.com says that the young cornerback "closes in a flash with good make-up quickness to recover."
Scott Vallone - defensive tackle (6'3", 275 pounds). In 2012, Vallone had just three sacks in addition to his 52 tackles for the Scarlet Knights this past year. Rated as the No. 31 DT in this year's draft, his time in the 40 was 4.78 and he bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times at Rutgers Pro Day.
"My strong point isn't going to be my 40 or my bench," Vallone said recently (as quoted by Bobby Deren of ScarletNation.com). "It's going to be the film." Vallone may be invited to NFL camps as a free agent, as he is not projected to be drafted.
Timothy Wright - wide receiver (6'3", 219 pounds). Wright posted a 4.57 time in the 40, but the young receiver's chances at being drafted are a longshot at best. In 2012, Wright caught 39 passes and had two touchdowns, which was good enough for third on the team this past season. Wright may be lucky enough to get a look with a free-agent invite to the Buccaneers' training camp, as Greg Schiano was Wright's coach for most of his Rutgers career.
"It’s become a day here that really has evolved into an event," said RU head coach Kyle Flood at the recent Rutgers Pro Day. "It’s a day that the NFL alumni have marked down on their calendars to come back and be a part of." How many of this year's crop are good enough to become NFL alumni remains to be seen, but April 25 is less than one month away.