2011 NFL Draft: 12 College Stars Who May Not Get Picked in Round 1
It happens every year, the big fall. It's a truism of every draft. Some guys fall a few spots farther than anticipated, others drop from the top to the bottom of the first round.
And then there are the big, big drops. The Jimmy Clausen drops. The first round prospect that doesn't go until the second round.
Rey Maualuga was considered a lock for the first round in the 2009 draft, but he didn't go until the Bengals took him in the second round.
While all the mock drafts tend to agree on most of the players to this point, lets look at a dozen guys who are looking at a potential big drop on draft day.
12. Allen Bailey, DE Miami
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Allen Bailey is projected low first round, which means anything can happen. The speedy defensive end out of Miami might find himself at the beginning of the second round depending on how he performs at his bowl game, and at the Combine.
11. Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
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With the depth at quarterback, and the depth at the other skill positions, a guy like Drake Nevis may get lost in the mix as teams scramble to get their star franchise player, leaving the guys in the trenches like Nevis until Round 2.
10. Brandon Harris, CB Miami
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Between Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara and Janoris Jenkins, a guy like Brandon Harris may get relegated to the second round just by the process of elimination versus what each team needs.
Harris is a great prospect and could end up being a steal for some team at the top of the second round.
9. Cory Liuget, DT Illinois
Corey Liuget is facing the same fate as Drake Nevis, the potential to get lost in the shuffle, but in Liuget's case, if he declares, it could be a case of coming out too early as his skills may not be up to what a scout and a general manager want to see out of a first round talent.
The Combine will determine for sure which way Liuget goes, up or down.
8. Rahim Moore, S UCLA
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Rahim Moore is one of the big mysteries of the draft, because he could go as high as the middle of the first round, or drop all the way into the top third of the second round depending on which scout you listen to and which mock draft you read.
Moore has all the intangibles and all the skills, but he's considered undersized for the position, and stranger things than that have cost prospects a first round selection.
7. Ryan Williams, RB Virginia Tech
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If there's one position in the 2011 draft that doesn't look that deep this year, it's running back, with only two guys even thought to have a chance to go in the first round. One of those guys is Ryan Williams, and it's very likely he waits until Round 2 to hear his name called.
6. Gabe Carimi, OT Wisconsin
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There are a ton of great offensive lineman in this year's draft. One of them will lose the game of musical chairs.
It's inevitable that one will be the fall guy, and we're picking Gabe Carimi, who gets knocked by scouts for not being a great athlete who may get pushed around in the pros despite his superior size and weight.
5. Janoris Jenkins, CB Florida
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Remember the depth at cornerback in the first round we talked about earlier with Brandon Harris?
There's always the possibility Harris blows everyone away at the Combine, and all of a sudden it's Janoris Jenkins wondering what happened.
Jenkins had a run-in with the law that resulted in him being tasered. While he gets great marks for the rest of his intangibles, the Personal Conduct Policy in the NFL could keep a lot of NFL teams from drafting anyone in the first round with even the slightest hint of a brush with Johnny Law.
4. Adrian Clayborn, DE Iowa
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Which brings us to Adrian Clayborn, a really great defensive end prospect out of Iowa. This guy looks like a game changer every time he takes the field, and his athletic skills make him a guaranteed first round pick.
Clayborn was charged for assault with bodily harm and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for an altercation with a taxi driver in 2009. While the circumstances of the case seem to favor Clayborn, the fact is he lost his temper, and that could cost him come draft day.
3. Julio Jones, WR Alabama
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Julio Jones is considered one of the best wide receiver prospects in the draft, but if Jonathan Baldwin's stock continues to rise, Justin Blackmon declares and does well at the Combine, Jones could find himself dropping down the depth chart fairly quickly
2. Jake Locker, QB Washington
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Jake Locker had a bad year, and there's a lot of competition at quarterback. Despite all the teams that need quarterbacks, Locker's perceived negatives could mean one of those teams decides to fill another need with their first round pick and pick Locker up in the second round.
1. Cam Newton, QB Auburn
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Cam Newton won the Heisman, he looked great on the field this year, and everything about him says he's going to be a star in the NFL.
But then the NCAA investigation into his father began, and the resulting fallout means it's almost certain he'll declare for the 2011 draft, whereas at the beginning of the season, it was thought he wouldn't declare until the 2012 draft.
So now you have a flashy quarterback with a lot of questions who had one good year in college and a father who seems to have done everything he could to sabotage his son's career.
This has big bust potential, and that could mean no team would want to take a chance on him until the second round and decrease the amount of money invested.