2010 NFL Draft: 10 Can't-Miss Prospects

Chris MaierCorrespondent IApril 18, 2010

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 28: Defensive end Derrick Morgan #91 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets warms up for play against the Clemson Tigers in the 2009 ACC Football Championship Game December 5, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

There is no such thing as a "Can't Miss Prospect" in the NFL Draft but some players are safer than others.  Of course, most of these so called "Safe" players also typically have lower ceilings.  After all, if they were Low Risk/High Reward they would all be guaranteed top ten picks (some will be taken in the top ten however). 

Being selected to this team does not guarantee any of these players a All-Rookie Selection or Pro Bowl berth but rather it just means they should be at a minimum a solid starter for five years or more. 

Without further ado here the 2010 Can't Miss Prospects (or as close to can't miss as you can get):

Please note: Likely draft slot was considered in compiling this list

DT Ndamukong Suh , Nebraska (likely selection - number 2) - His game against Texas in the Big 12 Championship was one of the most impressive performances in recent memory.  If you watched him all season you realize it was not a fluke performance.  Led a team with no offense but a dominant defense to a 10 - 4 record in the Big 12.  He is the total package at defensive tackle: High motor, run stopper, pass rusher and commands double teams.

OT Russell Okung , Oklahoma State (likely selection - number 4) - Powerful run blocker and top notch pass protector who should come in and be a team's left tackle for the next 10 years.

DE Derrick Morgan , Georgia Tech (likely selection - number 5 - 19) - A true 4-3 defensive end who can get after the quarterback and be a factor against the run.  Tremendous motor and work ethic should make him an 8 sack a year guy.  May slide on draft day because players such as the raw but talented Jason Pierre-Paul have a higher ceiling.

OT Bryan Bulaga , Iowa (likely selection - number 5 - 9) - Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has a reputation for developing fundamentally sound offensive lineman and Bulaga is his highest rated prospect in years.  If not for the thyroid condition that slowed him in 2009 he would have challenged Okung for the number one tackle on the board.  May not be a pro bowler but will be a left tackle for whatever team selects him for quite some time.  Flashed his potential shutting down Derrick Morgan in the Orange Bowl.

LB Rolando McClain , Alabama (likely selection - number 10 - 15) - The quarterback of Alabama's national championship defense has elite awareness and instincts and is the highest rated middle linebacker since Patrick Willis.  Middle linebackers tend to slide on draft day but they tend to shine on the football field.

S Earl Thomas , Texas (likely selection - number 10 - 20) - An elite center fielder type, Thomas' tremendous coverage awareness and range combined with his draft slot on the fringe of the top 10 could make him a slightly safer pick than the more highly touted Eric Berry.

RB Ryan Mathews , Fresno State (likely selection - number 20 - 34) - A combination of size, speed and power, Mathews is the drafts best all-around running back. 

DT/DE Jared Odrick , Penn State (likely selection - number 22 - 32) - An ideal fit as a five technique or under tackle, Odrick combines a high motor with underrated athleticism and a nose for the football.

G Mike Iupati , Idaho (likely selection - number 15 - 27) - A guard being considered for a first round selection should all but assure them for inclusion on the list.  Iupati is the combination of athlete, mauler and pass protector.  The biggest risk is team's will be tempted to play him a tackle.

OLB Sean Weatherspoon , Missouri (likely selection - number 15 - 32) - Complain about his sluggish senior season if you want but Weatherspoon has the versatility to play all three linebacker spots, good leadership skills, good athleticism and is a tackling machine.  He is also one of only two linebackers with a first round grade.

Honorable Mention: QB Jimmy Clausen , Notre Dame - The only top quarterback to come out of a pro style offense.  He may not be the safest pick due to intangible concerns but his physical tools and experience easily make him the most NFL ready quarterback in this year's class. 

Surprising Omissions: (I do not mean to pick on Oklahoma but having three top 10 candidates makes you vulnerable for this list)

QB Sam Bradford , Oklahoma - Based on his off the chart intangibles and accuracy he has the highest ceiling of any quarterback in the draft.  His shoulder injury and spread background make him a risky number one overall selection. 

S Eric Berry , Tennessee - Almost made the "safe" list.  Berry may have the highest ceiling of any defensive player in the draft.  The problem is the expectations are extremely high (he's frequently compared to Ed Reed).   Love the talent but he has to be lights out to justify his lofty draft slot.  That said I'd still take him if I were Kansas City.

OT Trent Williams , Oklahoma - If he goes to San Francisco where he will play right tackle move him onto the safest pick list but the teams looking at him in the top 10 are looking at him as a left tackle.  Has the athleticism but was a much better right tackle than left tackle at Oklahoma.

RB CJ Spiller , Clemson - Most dynamic playmaker in the draft but small-ish running backs always come with some risk - see Reggie Bush

DT Gerald McCoy , Oklahoma - Great potential as a pass rusher but it's his average running stopping ability that makes him a risk in the top 5.

Chris Maier is Senior Editor for NFL Draft 101 .  He can be reached at cmaier@nfldraft101.com .  Follow me on twitter: nfldraft101