2011 Senior Bowl: Top 25 North Roster NFL Prospects

Nathaniel UyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2011

2011 Senior Bowl: Top 25 North Roster NFL Prospects

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    The 2011 Senior Bowl kicks off this Saturday to bring us the nation's best college football seniors.

    As a result, many pro scouts and NFL executives will focus their attention on the game in Mobile, Alabama, where a possible future NFL star could be playing.

    The NFL draft is just around the corner, a lot of these youngsters will want to make an impression.  That's why all eyes will be on them to showcase their talents.

    Here are the top 25 NFL prospects on the Senior Bowl North Team roster.

25. Titus Young, WR, Boise State

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    Playing for the Boise State Broncos, Young was part of a very potent offense that averaged 42.2 points a game.

    Young has been one of the team's most effective receivers, reaching over 1,000 yards the last two season.

    This year, Young posted a career-high 1,215 yards with nine touchdowns.

    But his size remains a concern for scouts, at 5'11", Young will need to show he can play against some of the best senior corners around in the Senior Bowl.

24. Lawrence Wilson, LB, UConn

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    In his last two seasons, Wilson has racked up a total of 252 tackles.  Needless to say, he's a tackling machine.

    Wilson has good linebacker size at 6'1" and 228 lbs. 

23. Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State

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    Brown was a big part of the emergence of the San Diego State Aztecs as a surprise team this season.

    He caught passes totaling over 1,300 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns this year.

    The 5'11" receiver has also been getting great reviews in Senior Bowl practice for his ability to snag poorly thrown passes and his body control.

22. Dwayne Harris, WR, East Carolina

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    Reportedly measuring in at 5'9", it's Harris' size that's a big concern for NFL scouts.

    But the athleticism and hands are there.

    He'll need to show he can be an asset in special teams and as a fourth or fifth receiver.

21. Jeremy Beal, DE, Oklahoma

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    Although his size at 6'3" and 267 lbs. makes him a tweener, the knock on Beal is his lack of overall athleticism at the position.

    But his numbers have been solid at Oklahoma, and he brings to the table a non-stop motor and excellent leadership skills.

20. Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon

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    There's a lot less hype surrounding Casey than his brother Clay, who was chosen in the first round of the NFL draft.

    But Matthews has the pedigree and the background that makes him a very interesting prospect.

    Many will remember his performance in the BCS title game, where he forced a Cam Newton turnover late, giving the Oregon Ducks a chance to tie up the score.

19. Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada

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    Kaepernick is definitely not close to being ready as a starter at the next level.

    However, his athleticism and mobility helped carry the Wolf Pack to a very successful season playing out of the WAC, including an upset win over Boise State.

    He's a long-term project, but will draw a lot of interest because of his ideal quarterback size of 6'6" and raw talent.

18. Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Stanzi is expected to be the next best quarterback prospect on the North roster after Jake Locker.

    The Hawkeyes quarterback has good size, 6'4" and 225 lbs.  This season he had a great year, throwing for over 3,000 passing yards and 25 touchdowns.

    Stanzi showed great improvement this year, only throwing for six interception after throwing 15 picks last year.

17. Jaiquawn Jarrett, DB, Temple

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    The problem with Jarret is his size.  At 5'11" and 196 pounds, he's believed to be undersized for an NFL safety.

    But what makes him good is his work ethic.  He works non-stop, on the field and off the field. 

    Aside from being a top safety at Temple, he was also an excellent student.  He's a well grounded youngster that's willing to work hard for any NFL team.

16. Brandon Fusco, C, Slipper Rock

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    Despite playing for little-known Slipper Rock, Fusco has had a strong early week of Senior Bowl practice where he's been getting raves for his explosion from his interior position.

    At 6'4" and 305 lbs., his size and ability to match up with some of college football's best defenders have seen his stock rise.

15. Greg Jones, LB, Michigan State

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    Believed to be one of the best linebackers to play at Michigan State, Jones has had an impressive run with the Spartans.

    Jones was arguably one of the best linebackers out of the Big Ten this season and has a nose for finding the football as a pass rusher.  He's also versatile enough to snag interceptions while in pass coverage.

14. Quinton Carter, DB, Oklahoma

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    His size, 6'1" and 200 lbs, and speed make him an intriguing safety prospect.

    The numbers were also there for Carter this season, as he collected 96 total tackles.

    He's got the ability to snag some interceptions and also the versatility to get in the backfield to stop running backs in their tracks.

13. Kendric Burney, DB, North Carolina

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    At 5'9" and 190 lbs, Burney is built like a rock.

    His height could be a problem in the pros, but he has a never-back-down mentality that allows him to compete and match up with bigger receivers.

12. Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State

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    Playing for the high-scoring Boise State Broncos, Pettis paired up with fellow senior Titus Young to form a very good pass-catching pair in college football.

    Although Young led the team in receiving yards, Pettis projects as the better pro prospect because of his ideal size.

    At 6'3" and 200 lbs., Pettis could become a bonafide receiving threat at the next level.

11. Sione Fua, DL, Stanford

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    Fua is known for being a solid run stuffer.  He's been known to clog up running lanes with his big 6'2", 302-lb body.

    Playing for the Cardinal, Fua and the defense don't nearly get as much air time as Andrew Luck and the offense.  But he's got the skills to be a pest in the pros.

10. Jason Pinkston, OL, Pittsburgh

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    His speed and agility project to be above average at the next level, which makes him very appealing for teams looking to add youth and depth to their offensive line.

    But Pinkston will need to prove he has the durability to play in the NFL.

9. Roy Helu Jr., RB, Nebraska

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    Helu was a big part of the revitalized offense of the Cornhuskers this season.

    His biggest game of the year and career came against Big 12 rival Mizzou when he rushed for 307 yards and scored three touchdowns.

    He's a big back, 6'0", 220 lbs., with plenty of power that could be an asset for teams looking to add a third-down and goal-line option to their roster.

8. Christian Ballard, DL, Iowa

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    Teammate Adrian Clayborn gets a lot of the hype but Ballard can definitely hold is own and should also be credited for the Hawkeyes' strong defensive line.

    He's got great size, 6'5" and 297 lbs, with excellent strength to push around offensive linemen and get into running lanes to lock in on running backs in the NFL.

7. Ryan Kerrigan, DL/LB, Purdue

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    Kerrigan has dropped some weight in order to show teams he has the ability to play linebacker at the next level.

    While on the defensive line, Kerrigan had a knack for getting sacks.  He collected 25 sacks in his last two seasons.

    He'll need to show scouts he has the ability to make plays in pass coverage if he wants to get a chance to play linebacker in the pros.

6. Jake Locker, QB, Washington

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    There was a time where Locker was considered to be a lock for the first round.

    But a poor season with the Washington Huskies has hurt his value.  Locker regressed in most passing categories this season and could fall into the second round.

    He still possesses a strong throwing arm that could make him a future starter in the NFL.

5. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

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    A knee injury may not put him at 100 percent this weekend if and when he plays in the Senior Bowl.

    Paea is still, however, a first-round prospect.  Paea boasts a great blend of strength, athleticism and talent at the position.

    He can pressure quarterbacks and tackle running backs for a loss.

4. Cameron Jordan, DE, Cal

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    The early reviews on Jordan's performance in Senior Bowl practice have been all positive.

    He's been described as overpowering and unblockable.  Jordan can be an immediate contributor for most NFL teams.

3. Anthony Castonzo, OL, Boston College

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    Coming from Boston College, he comes from a program that's been known to produce solid NFL-quality offensive linemen.

    Castonzo's been starting for the Eagles since he was a freshman and was a big reason for Matt Ryan's success with BC.

    He'll find a job in the pros blocking for a possible playoff contender late in the first round.

2. Gabe Carimi, OL, Wisconsin

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    With big Gabe, Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien was spoiled with a lot of time and pass protection.

    Without him last weekend, Tolzien looked lost at times in the East-West Shrine game.  There was a sequence where Tolzien got sacked in back-to-back plays, ending with a safety.

    Carimi, at 6'8" and 327 lbs., is one of the biggest and best offensive linemen in the draft. 

1. Nate Solder, OL, Colorado

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    Solder is a scary 6'8" and 314 lbs; he was voted the Big 12's 2010 Offensive Lineman of the Year by coaches.

    He's got great hands and strength, having played tight end early in his college career.

    If teams are looking to add pass protection on their offensive line, Solder's a guy you can't go wrong with.