2011 NFL Draft: Ranking the Top 25 Prospects at the Senior Bowl

Drake OzSenior Writer IIJanuary 17, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Ranking the Top 25 Prospects at the Senior Bowl

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    We're less than two weeks away from the 62nd Under Armour Senior Bowl, which takes place on Jan. 29 from Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

    As the name implies, the Senior Bowl provides graduating college football seniors with a chance to showcase their skills for NFL teams, coaches and scouts.

    And as always, there are some very talented players in this year's game, plenty of which will hear their names called very early on in the 2011 NFL Draft.

    But just which players in this year's game have the brightest NFL future ahead of them?

    Well, let's take a look at the top 25 prospects in the 2011 Senior Bowl. 

25. Matt Szczur, WR, Villanova

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    Measurables: 5'11", 205 pounds

    Matt Szczur was a versatile threat at Villanova, racking up 35 career touchdowns in four different ways (five passing, 17 rushing, 11 receiving and two kick returns).

    He's pretty average across the board and a bit undersized, but he's a solid athlete—he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the fifth round of the 2010 MLB draft—and he plays bigger than he's listed.

    Szczur could be utilized as a Wildcat threat at the NFL level. 

    Projection: Fourth round

24. Lee Ziemba, OT, Auburn

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    Measurables: 6'5", 320 pounds.

    Lee Ziemba started 52 straight games at Auburn and was voted as a 2010 AP Second Team All-American, but he will likely switch to right tackle or offensive guard in the NFL because he lacks the elite athleticism required to play that position.

    He shows tremendous power as a run blocker, but he plays too high, struggles at picking up blitzes in pass protection and has a hard time against speed rushers.

    Projection: Third or fourth round

23. Titus Young, WR, Boise State

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    Measurables: 5'11.5", 172 pounds

    Titus Young put up some very good numbers at Boise State, with 204 career receptions for more than 3,000 yards and 34 career touchdowns.

    His size is an issue, but his versatility as a return man and a potential slot receiver should give him suitors.

    Character is also an issue for Young, who was suspended twice at Boise State, including a 10-game suspension in 2008 for off-the-field troubles.

    Projection: Third round

22. Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

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    Measurables: 6'2", 221 pounds

    Christian Ponder entered the season as a fringe first-round prospect, but he threw for just 2,000 yards, had some injury problems and saw his completion percentage fall from 68.8 in 2009 to 61.5 in 2010.

    The Senior Bowl and the combine will go a long way in helping Ponder improve his draft status after he fell short of most scouts' preseason expectations.

    Projection: Third round 

21. Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin

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    Measurables: 6'2.5", 238 pounds

    Lane Kendricks had his best college season in 2010, when he caught 43 passes for 663 yards and five touchdowns.

    Although he does have great hands, Kendricks is not an elite playmaker and he hasn't provided much of a mismatch problem in college, and he doesn't have the speed to break away from linebackers and safeties with average speed.

    Projection: Third round

20. DeMarcus Love, OT, Arkansas

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    Measurables: 6'4.5", 313 pounds

    Demarcus Love doesn't get the publicity that left tackles usually get, but he's proven to be a versatile offensive lineman.

    Love has played strong-side guard and tackle during his career at Arkansas.

    Projection: Third round

19. Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State

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    Measurables: 5'8", 202 pounds

    Kendall Hunter's production at Oklahoma State was off the charts, especially in 2010 when he rushed for more than 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns.

    Hunter's been a threat in the passing game as well, but his size makes him susceptible to being taken down by arm tackles. He's more quick than fast and he shies away from contact with bigger defensive players.

    Projection: Third round 

18. Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee

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    Measurables: 6'5", 247 pounds

    Not great at anything, but good at everything: that's how NFL scouts would describe Luke Stocker.

    He's a sure-handed receiving tight end who's been a security blanket for Tennessee's quarterbacks his entire career, and he's also solid in an area that people tend to overlook when scouting tight ends (blocking).

    Stocker's size is also there, but his ability to separate from opposing defensive backs in man coverage is his biggest question mark. 

    Projection: Third round

17. Greg Jones, OLB, Michigan State

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    Measurables: 6'1", 237 pounds

    Greg Jones has had a remarkable career at Michigan State, racking up more than 450 career tackles as a Spartan.

    But there continue to be questions about his size and his uncertain draft status prevented him from entering the draft early last year.

    Though Jones' production has been ridiculous at times—he had 153 tackles and nine sacks last year—it fell off considerably this year when he finished with less than 100 tackles and two sacks.

    He'll have to prove himself at the combine

    Projection: Third round 

16. Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy

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    Measurables: 5'9", 180 pounds

    In four years at Troy, Jerrel Jernigan has caught 262 passes for 3,128 yards and 18 touchdowns.

    Jernigan has also rushed for at least 250 yards in each of the past three seasons and added a punt return touchdown this season.

    He is a very shifty, do-it-all receiver, with a quick initial burst and better route-running skills than people might expect.

    But the biggest knocks on his game are his lack of size, his struggles as a blocker and the level of competition while playing at Troy

    Projection: Early third round

15. Derek Sherrod OT/OG, Mississippi State

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    Measurables: 6'5", 303 pounds

    Derek Sherrod is a big right tackle who has the size and strength to play guard at the NFL level.

    But he isn't the greatest pass protector, so there are questions about his ability to play tackle once he's done with college football. 

    Sherrod will likely fall in the draft because no one's quite sure how a potential position switch will affect his value.

    Projection: Late second round

14. DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma

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    Measurables: 6'1", 217 pounds

    DeMarco Murray had a stellar career at Oklahoma, during which he did his best to make Sooner fans forget about the loss of Adrian Peterson.

    Murray's skill set translates well to the NFL level, but many scouts see him as a third-down back who will be used primarily as a receiver out of the backfield.

    He also has questions about his durability, as he's missed a ton of action at Oklahoma because of injuries.

    Projection: Late second round

13. Kelvin Sheppard, OLB, LSU

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    Measurables: 6'2", 244 pounds

    Kelvin Sheppard possesses all the physical tools scouts look for in an outside linebacker, except for one key attribute (strength).

    Even though he was a tackling machine at LSU, he was constantly overpowered by bigger blockers and had a hard time avoiding cut blocks or crack backs.

    Sheppard's first priority should be to hit the weight room a bit harder before the NFL draft.

    Projection: Late second round 

12. Clint Boling, OG, Georgia

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    Measurables: 6'4", 304 pounds

    Clint Boling was an offensive tackle at Georgia, but it's not looking like he'll be a tackle at the NFL level.

    Scouts love his quickness and agility, but he's built more like an offensive guard than a tackle.

    No matter what position Boling plays in the NFL, though, he'll have to add some size, while also keeping that shiftiness that makes him a very good o-line prospect.

    Projection: Mid-second round 

11. D.J. Williams, TE, Arkansas

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    Measurables: 6'2", 251 pounds

    It's a little unclear what position D.J. Williams will play in the NFL.

    Is he a tight end? Is he a fullback? What about H-back?

    Whatever he is, he'll be playing on Sundays because of his impeccable character and versatility.

    Projection: Mid-second round 

10. Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State

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    Measurables: 6'2", 228 pounds

    Even without looking at Daniel Thomas's stats (1,585 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2010), it's clear this guy has NFL written all over him.

    He's huge for a running back, but he shows excellent athleticism, can run downhill and shows good patience as a guy who's very shifty.

    Thomas does, however, need to work on his straight away speed and his ability to contribute in the passing game, which he failed to do at Kansas State.

    Projection: Mid-second round 

9. Pernell McPhee, DE/DT, Mississippi State

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    Measurables: 6'2 1/2", 275 pounds

    Pernell McPhee only played two seasons at the FBS leve—he spent his first two years at a junior college—and his production in 2010 (32 tackles, two sacks) fell off considerably from 2009 (56 tackles, five sacks).

    He's shown flashes of excellent potential, but he's also a defensive end in a defensive tackle's body.

    McPhee will need to show the ability to be a dominant interior lineman or an end at the NFL combine.

    Projection: Mid-second round

8. Rodney Hudson, OG, Florida State

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    Measurables: 6'2", 282 pounds

    Rodney Hudson is an undersized offensive lineman (6'2", 282 pounds), but size isn't as important at the guard position as it is as tackle.

    Hudson has proven to be a very good blocker throughout his career, especially this season when he helped pave the way for Florida State to rush for more than 200 yards in four straight games.

    Projection: Early to mid-second round 

7. Drake Nevis, DT, LSU

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    Measurables: 6'0.5", 289 pounds

    In the mold of former LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, Drake Nevis is a disruptive defensive lineman who can get into the backfield about as quickly as anyone.

    But he isn't the greatest at shedding blocks and tends to be an up-and-down player.

    Nevis could fall out of the first round, but his agility probably keeps him around that 25-to-30 range.

    Projection: Late first round 

6. Allen Bailey, DE, Miami

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    Measurables: 6'3 1/2", 287 pounds

    Teams love versatility and that's exactly what Allen Bailey possesses.

    He's a good interior pass rusher who also has the ability to rush off the edge.

    You can never have too many defensive linemen in the NFL, and Bailey is a tweener who can play either tackle or end, depending upon the scheme

    Projection: Late first round 

5. Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

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    Measurables: 6'6 3/4", 318 pounds

    Remember a guy named Joe Thomas who played at Wisconsin?

    Well, Carimi's not quite the player Thomas was, but he's pretty close.

    Tackles usually fly off the board during the NFL Draft and Carimi's one of the best.

    But with the way the draft is shaping up, there won't be as many early first-round selections from the tackle position as usual.

    Projection: Mid first round

4. Jake Locker, QB, Washington

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    Measurables: 6'2.5", 229 pounds

    Jake Locker hasn't put up great numbers during his college career, but he's showed steady improvement.

    He's got good size, a good arm and great athleticism, especially for a more traditional pocket passer.

    Locker could be anywhere from the second to the fourth quarterback chosen, but his potential is what makes him worthy of a top 10 selection.

    Projection: Early to mid-first round 

3. Mike Pouncey, OG/C, Florida

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    Measurables: 6'5", 309 pounds

    The apple doesn't fall far from the family tree.

    Mike Pouncey has a similar playing style to twin brother Maurkice, who is currently Pittsburgh's starting center and made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season.

    Pouncey—Mike, that is—is one of the very best lineman prospects in 2011, with an NFL-ready skill set.

    He'll still be on the board midway through the first round because guards generally aren't chosen in the top half of the first round.

    But his talent warrants a top 15 pick.

    Projection: Mid to late first round 

2. Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

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    Measurables: 6'3", 285 pounds

    Adrian Clayborn's production wasn't really there this year, but scouts love how he measures up.

    He's 6'3", 285 pounds and has the ability to take over a game when his mind is right.

    The 2011 draft class has some incredibly talented defensive line prospects and Clayborn is one of them.

    He's just not the best one of the bunch.

    Projection: Early to mid-first round

1. Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue

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    Measurables: 6'4", 259 pounds

    Ryan Kerrigan was a monster all season long at Purdue, raking in 12.5 sacks and leading the nation with 26 tackles for loss.

    He is known for his non-stop motor and ability to get after the quarterback.

    At just 259 pounds, Kerrigan is similar to the Colts' Robert Mathis.

    Projection: Top 10