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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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 30:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies passes against the Stanford Cardinal on October 30, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    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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    BOISE, ID - SEPTEMBER 25:  Wide receiver Titus Young #1 of the Boise State Broncos runs the ball against cornerback Brandon Hardin #17 of the Oregon State Beavers at Bronco Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty
    Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

    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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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Ryan Broyles #85 of the Oklahoma Sooners fumbles the ball as it is stripped by Lawrence Wilson #8 of the Connecticut Huskies alongside Jerome Junior #15 in the second half during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of P
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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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    SAN DIEGO - NOVEMBER 20:  Wide receiver Vincent Brown #80 of the San Diego State Aztecs celebrates after his first touchdown of the game, on a ten yard reception in the first quarter against the Utah Utes at Qualcomm Stadium on November 20, 2010 in San Di
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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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    BLACKSBURG, VA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Wide receiver Dwayne Harris #17 of the East Carolina Pirates leaps to catch a pass for a touchdown over cornerback Rashad Carmichael #21 of the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Blacksburg, Virgi
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    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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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 04:  Defensive end Jeremy Beal #44 of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates with the Big 12 Championship Trophy after the Sooners beat the Nebraska Cornhuskers 23-20 at Cowboys Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    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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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Casey Matthews #55 of the Oregon Ducks looks on against the Auburn Tigers during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Get
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    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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    LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 02:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #10 of the Nevada Reno Wolf Pack looks to pass against the  UNLV Rebels in the third quarter of their game at Sam Boyd Stadium October 2, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada Reno won 44-26.  (Photo by Et
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    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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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Ricky Stanzi #12 of the Iowa Hawkeyes walks off the field after defeating the Missouri Tigers in the Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.  (
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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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    EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 23: Greg Jones #53 of the Michigan State Spartans awaits the start of play against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 23, 2010 in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan State defeated Northwestern 35-27. (Photo by Jonathan Dan
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    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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    MIAMI - JANUARY 08:  Quinton Carter #20 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks on during warm ups against the Florida Gators during the FedEx BCS National Championship game at Dolphin Stadium on January 8, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    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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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - NOVEMBER 21:  Kendric Burney #16 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates his touchdown in the first quarter against the Boston College Eagles on November 21, 2009 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Ge
    Elsa/Getty Images

    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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    LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 06:  Wide receiver #2 Austin Pettis of the Boise State Broncos tries to avoid cornerback #21 Rashad Carmichael of the Virginia Tech Hokies at FedExField on September 6, 2010 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Imag
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    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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    PALO ALTO, CA - OCTOBER 09: Sione Fua #92 of the Stanford Cardinal celebrates after he sacked Matt Barkley #7  of the USC Trojans at Stanford Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    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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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 26:  Teammates Jason Pinkston #77 and Dion Lewis #28 of the Pittsburgh Panthers celebrates after a 19-17 victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels on December 26, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    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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    LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 26: Roy Helu Jr. #10 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers slips past Liloa Nobriga #48 of the Colorado Buffaloes during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Colorado 45-17 (Photo by Eric
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    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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    STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Broderick Binns #91 of the Iowa Hawkeye's celebrates a second quarter safty with Christian Ballard #46 in front of Dennis Landolt #73 of the Penn State Nittnay Lions on September 26, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State Colle
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    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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    WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 20:  Quarterback Dan LeFevour #13 of the Central Michigan Chippewas is tackled by Ryan Kerrigan #94 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 20, 2008 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    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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    TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Huskies 44-14.  (Photo by Ch
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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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    PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Derrick Coleman #33 of the UCLA Bruins runs from Stephen Paea #54 of the Oregon State Beavers at the Rose Bowl on November 6, 2010 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    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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    TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Defensive tackle Cameron Jordan #97 of the California Golden Bears during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Golden Bear
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - OCTOBER 03:  Anthony Castonzo #74 of the Boston College Eagles congratulates teammate Montel Harris #2 after Harris scored a touchdown in the first quarter against the Florida State Seminoles on October 3, 2009 at Alumni Stadium in Che
    Elsa/Getty Images

    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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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Offensive lineman Gabe Carimi #68 of the Wisconsin Badgers warms up prior to playing the TCU Horned Frogs in the 97th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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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    BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Orakpo #98 of the Texas Longhorns rushes against Nate Solder #78 the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on October 4, 2008 in Boulder, Colorado. Texas defeated Colorado 38-14.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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.