If you haven't noticed, everyone and their uncle has come up with a "Mock Draft" already. While it is fun to speculate on the unknown, it is my humble opinion that forming a mock draft, without knowing the correct first round order or the players who will declare early, is a complete waste of time and effort.
Mock me if you will, but I will save my bold predictions for the real draft season. We will all know which underclassmen will declare for early entry by mid-January. Also, we will know the preliminary draft order after the regular season and the exact order for all 32 teams following the Super Bowl.
Resist the temptation to look too far into the future, as if trying to predict what will happen on December 21, 2012. In only a few short months, we can all begin to create mock drafts that will actually begin to make sense.
For now, here is my updated list of top 32 Senior draft prospects, including the few players who have already declared early for the 2011 draft.
1. Ryan Kerrigan—DE—Purdue: Great competitor who is similar to, but maybe better than, Chris Long.
2. Prince Amukamara—CB—Nebraska: The draft's most highly rated shutdown corner, good size.
3. Adrian Clayborn—DE—Iowa: Production slipped a bit in 2010, but has all the skills to dominate.
4. Derek Sherrod—OT—Mississippi State: Not spectacular, but could be best pure LT in the draft.
5. Robert Quinn—DE—North Carolina: Suspended in 2010, but scouts love his pass rush skills.
6. Jonathan Baldwin—WR—Pittsburgh: Big, strong, fast. Will be nice deep threat and red zone target.
7. Von Miller—OLB—Texas A&M: Slowed by injury early in 2010, but later showed his explosiveness.
8. Jake Locker—QB—Washington: Despite sub-par season, will be drafted highly because of potential.
9. Stephen Paea—DT—Oregon State: Good size and quickness to penetrate gaps and pressure QB.
10. Gabe Carimi—OT—Wisconsin: Outland Trophy winner, strong, durable, may be better suited for RT.
11. Cameron Jordan—DE—California: Stock is rising, has good motor, will force fumbles, well-rounded.
12. Mason Foster—OLB—Washington: Second in nation with 150 tackles, very instinctive and tough.
13. Nate Solder—OT—Colorado: Tall LT prospect with good footwork, may need to add some bulk.
14. Cameron Heyward—DE—Ohio State: Less productive in 2010, but skills will fit great as a 3-4 DE.
15. Bruce Carter—OLB—North Carolina: Production slipped in 2010, has speed and pass rush ability.
16. Stefan Wisniewski—OG/C—Penn State: Best interior line prospect, smart, versatile and gritty.
17. Jeremy Beal—DE—Oklahoma: Natural pass rush skill, could play OLB in 3-4, needs more strength.
18. Anthony Castonzo—OT—Boston College: Needs to add weight, but is solid technician, good LT.
19. Allen Bailey—DE—Miami, FL: Great size, can stop run and rush passer. Not flashy, but solid.
20. Greg Jones—ILB—Michigan State: Inconsistent '10, tackling machine in the Jonathan Vilma mold.
21. Daniel Thomas—HB—Kansas State: Big, strong runner who gained 1495 with 16 TDs in 2010.
22. Leonard Hankerson—WR—Miami, FL: Tall target with big-play ability, has had some drop problems.
23. Christian Ballard—DT—Iowa: Stock rose considerably in 2010, disruptive and quick inside the gap.
Which senior prospect will drop the farthest in the draft?
24. Drake Nevis—DT—LSU: Bit small, but gets into the backfield in a jiffy. Needs a one-gap system.
25. Colin Kaepernick—QB—Nevada: Dual threat, has the tools to be very good with some refinement.
26. D.J. Williams—TE—Arkansas: Not tall, but a reliable mid-range target with speed to get downfield.
27. Quinton Carter—FS—Oklahoma: Productive season with 93 tackles and four interceptions. Has good range.
28. Christian Ponder—QB—Florida State: Not great size or arm strength, good leader, reads coverages.
29. Jabaal Sheard—DE—Pittsburgh: Pass rusher improved stock with nine sacks, 15 hurries, 14.5 TFL's.
30. Davon House—CB—New Mexico State: Athletic CB, only one INT in 2010, but wasn't thrown at much.
31. DeMarco Murray—HB—Oklahoma: Productive RB, good athlete, good receiver, runs too upright.
32. Jerrell Powe—DT—Mississippi: Production fell in 2010, good run stuffer and nose tackle prospect.