While it's early, it's never too early for NFL Draft speculation. NFL Soup brings you the top 10 NFL Prospects for the 2011 NFL Draft here, and there will be much more to come from this as the college football season progresses.
1) Andrew Luck - QB - Stanford**- Luck is a longshot to come out this year, but he’s a legit Heisman candidate in 2010. He’s raw but has a nice throwing motion and makes throws look easy. Luck’s biggest flaw is that he needs to put a bit more touch on his passes. His accuracy is phenomenal and he’s athletic enough to move around in the pocket to buy more time.
If he does come out, he’ll most likely need at least a season to groom, but he’s going to be a very special player in the NFL. He has excellent athletic ability as well as exceptional intangibles.
2) Mark Ingram - RB - Alabama*- What can you say about the 5'11", 215 pound junior running back? He’s coming off a Heisman Trophy win and looks to lead Alabama to another National Championship victory, hoping to top his 2009 statistics.
Ingram is a tough north/south runner with good acceleration. He doesn’t run out of bounds and can take the hard hits, throwing the shoulder into opposing defenders and bruising them. He can break a long touchdown at any time and has the hands to catch the ball out of the backfield.
3) A.J. Green - WR - Georgia*- There’s not much you can’t say about A.J. Green. He’s one of the most talented players in the nation, and has great size at 6'4", 192 pounds. Green is a speedy wide receiver who runs excellent routes, with excellent control of his body for making easy and tough catches. He can beat even the fastest of cornerbacks and gets excellent separation.
Some maturity issues are a small concern, but if he really wants to be dominant, he needs to get stronger and become better at fighting for the ball. He’s still the top option at wide receiver.
4) Patrick Peterson - CB - LSU*- Peterson is one of the most special players in this draft. At 6'1", 220, he’s a big cornerback who could also play free safety in the NFL. He’s excellent against the run, and he’s got an excellent change of direction ability.
Peterson also has the hands of a wide receiver, and is an excellent return man. It’s not often that you see a true cornerback that has top five talent, but Peterson is one of them.
5) Ryan Mallett - QB - Arkansas*- Mallett is a big, strong armed quarterback. At 6'7", 235 pounds, Mallett stands tall in the pocket and delivers throws all over the field, but really has a knack for finding his receivers deep. His accuracy is quite a question mark, however, as the short-intermediate routes he struggles with. He threw for an outstanding nine yards per attempt in 2009.
6) Robert Quinn - DE/OLB - North Carolina*- It’s hard to say if Quinn will come out after not playing a down in 2010 thanks to the Player/Agent scandal with North Carolina. However, there is no questioning his physical ability. The 6'5", 270 pound defensive end has an excellent motor and ACC offensive lineman have had trouble stopping his speed rush.
Quinn is one of the most athletic prospects for 2011, and he could really make some noise in the NFL with a little more strength. He looks to be an ideal 3-4 outside linebacker candidate, especially if he can improve in coverage.
7) Prince Amukamara - CB - Nebraska- That makes two years in a row that we have a Nebraska defender in the top 10 with a name we can’t pronounce. All jokes aside, Amukamara is one of the most talented players on a tough Nebraska defense. He’s very fluid and is quite fast at being able to cover the fastest receivers. He’s an excellent wrap up tackler, making him an ideal commodity in run support as well.
Amukamara and Patrick Peterson are almost right next to each other in terms of overall talent and upside, and you can’t go wrong with either corner.
8) Dont’a Hightower - ILB - Alabama*- Hightower is a huge physical specimen who’s an ideal 3-4 inside linebacker. He has an uncanny ability to read and react, he’s solid in coverage and he’s one of the best tacklers in the nation. His presence on the field makes running backs shake to run up the middle. He sheds blocks well also.
He needs to improve his overall speed and athleticism as he could be better sideline-to-sideline, but I personally believe he’s better than Rolando McClain, who was drafted in the top 10 in 2010 by the Oakland Raiders.
9) Marcel Dareus - DE - Alabama*- Another Alabama player in the top 10, Marcel Dareus is the most dominant 3-4 defensive end in college football. He takes up space, often being double teamed. He gets off blockers and can rush the passer also, but he makes the biggest impact against the run. He sits at 6'4", 306 pounds and is an absolute monster.
With many teams converting to the 3-4, Dareus will be a hot commodity barring a big injury.
10) Stephen Paea - DT - Oregon State- Paea is a tough 4-3 defensive tackle who may also have a future as a 3-4 nose tackle. He’s 6'1", 315 pounds, and is excellent at holding the point of attack. He’s not easy to move, and he’s an excellent pass rusher as a defensive tackle. He often has to be double teamed to take him out of a play, and he’s got a fantastic motor, also being able to move well laterally.
I will be continuing to add on to this. I have a Top 150 overall players currently, but only about 1/4 of them have descriptions, so be sure to keep checking back as I add to it.
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