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The NFL draft moves to prime time for the first time in 2010. The first round will be in PRIMETIME, and takes place on Thursday April 22nd at 7:30 p.m. ET. The NFL Draft second and third rounds are on Friday April 23 at 6 p.m. ET. Rounds Four thru Seven will be held on Saturday April 24th at 10 a.m. ET.
JOE HADEN, Florida
Before the Combine, Haden was the consensus, no-one’s-even-close top CB pick in the draft. Some scouted him as the best cornerback prospect in quite a while. Haden, however, did not help himself in the Combine. He grades well on tape; he’s blanketed elite SEC receivers for the past couple seasons. However, Haden barely cracked 4.6 in the forty at the Combine, which is miserable for a defensive back. It’s been reported that Haden ran considerably better at Florida’s pro day, so scouts may overlook the Combine. The Gator has a great mix of size and athleticism and, though he will gamble, this also means he projects as playmaker. Haden is a Top 10 talent and will be off the board in the top 20 picks.
KYLE WILSON, Boise State
Wilson boosted his stock with an outstanding Senior Bowl; he was the best corner on the field at that game. He’s a confident player with an impressive skill set and adds the value of being strong in the return game. He was suspended in 2007 for a violation of team rules, and doubtlessly people will be looking into that. However, scrappiness (being adept at press coverage) and the comfort to feel like you’re out there on an island are two requisite traits for a No. 1 corner; Wilson has these both in spades. Combine that with his fluid athleticism, and this makes the former Bronco a first-round pick.
DEVIN McCOURTY, Rutgers
This Scarlet Knight prospect doesn’t possess the otherworldly skills of an Ed Reed or a Champ Bailey, but he projects as a solid player whose work ethic will help him thrive at the next level. McCourty ran a respectable 4.48 at the Combine and when watching him on tape, scouts will love his natural instincts. McCourty had a productive career at Rutgers and it’s a bonus that he will contribute on special teams right away. He’ll never lead the league in interceptions and isn’t the fastest prospect out there, but all the other elements make him a respectable second-round pick.
KAREEM JACKSON, Alabama
Jackson matched McCourty with a 4.48 forty at the Combine. His above-average speed is buttressed by great awareness and the ability to mirror receivers. Overall, Jackson is a polished prospect who received top-notch coaching at ’Bama. At 5”10 and just under 200 lbs, he has a nice stout frame, especially when you consider his dexterity. On the negative side, Jackson is a liability against the run and despite having decent ball skills, only had two INTs as a sophomore and junior. Jackson doesn’t have the high ceiling of say a Joe Haden, but he grades well enough to go in the mid-to-late second round.
BRANDON GHEE, Wake Forest
Ghee possesses a perfect NFL frame for the position, going at 6”0, 190 lbs. His dynamic speed was evidenced by his clocking the fastest forty time at the Combine at 4.45 seconds. He changes direction well, is strong against the run and particularly adept in the red zone; he covers the end zone doggedly. His inconsistency worries some scouts, as does his technique, which will leave him at times. A guy with Ghee’s physical gifts has nice upside for the NFL, but he still needs some polish.
Honorable Mention: DOMINIQUE FRANKS, Oklahoma Franks will open eyes with the nice trinity of size, strength and athleticism.
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