Heading into the draft this year, there is an abundance of potential NFL talent. Surprisingly enough, a lot of the talent headlining the combine is not seniors.
Let's not forget that seniors get priority in this world...
Here's a look at 10 seniors that are flying underneath the radar, and, I predict, will make a splash at this year's combine.
I chose Cliff Matthews as an underrated senior for a couple reasons.
First off, he's the perfect height and weight for a defensive end in the NFL. Forget a 300 pound end, 270 is where it's at.
At 6'4", Matthews has been able to use his length on the outside for the Gamecocks his entire career. He was a big reason defensively that South Carolina beat most of the SEC. Cliff had 142 career tackles.
Watch out for this guy—he might be in your division next year.
Brandon Saine has been a productive Buckeye since he arrived prior to the 2007 NCAA season.
He averaged 4.67 yards per carry at Ohio State. He's never been a highly scrutinized running back as far as top-tier talent goes, but has shown he can make the big play if he gets the ball.
Saine, at his size and with his ability, has led me to believe that he can be an impact player in the NFL.
Drake Nevis was a stud for the Tigers. He had 140 career tackles and had big shoes to fill following Glenn Dorsey. Now it's Nevis's turn to show what he can do at the combine.
He's 6'2", 285 pounds and knows how to be aggravating in the trenches.
What separates Nevis from the rest of the seniors was his ability to handle a double team at LSU. 140 tackles may not seem like a lot in four seasons, but his efforts in fighting off more than one man at a time in the SEC have gone unappreciated.
Brian Rolle, at 5'11" and 218 pounds, is a stretch to be drafted as a linebacker. What I'm predicting is Rolle to be drafted with the idea that a team may move him to safety. If he is drafted as a safety, look out.
Rolle, with an obvious linebacker mentality, is an extremely aggressive and hard hitter. He had 206 career tackles as a Buckeye and was the heart of that defense at inside linebacker.
Look for him to impress scouts at the combine and let the rest of the action take its course.
Havili is the most impressive fullback attending the 2011 NFL combine. He's been a member of the USC Trojans since the 2006 season and is a 23-year-old seasoned vet.
Havili has been the man behind many Trojan running back success stories that have come and gone in his tenure at USC.
He's only 225 pounds, but that could quickly change with a new NFL diet.
Expect this fullback to be a 90 overall in Madden in no time.
Jerrod Johnson was a stud at Texas A&M. He started three of his four years for the Aggies.
His career highs include a 30 touchdown season in 2009, complemented by 3,579 yards passing.
Jerrod ended the 2010 season with a 125.35 quarterback rating and is not receiving the hype he should. He's 6-5 and can move for goodness sake. Somebody get this guy a jersey!
Pettis has slowly improved his statistics over the last four years for the Boise State Broncos.
He's been overshadowed by No. 1 receiver Titus Young, but that's not to short Mr. Austin Pettis.
At 6'3" and 201 pounds, Pettis has one more thing to prove before being drafted in late April—make sure he can handle the 1-on-1 match-up. We all know the NFL is broken down into match-ups, and Austin has shown there's no match-up he couldn't handle in the NCAA.
Pettis was just shy of 3,000 yards receiving at Boise State and caught 39 passes last season. This guy is a top five receiver in the draft and will make some quarterback extremely happy next season in the league.
Ahmad Black made Urban Meyer's last game as the head coach of Florida a dream come true. Black was one of Meyer's favorite players that he ever coached.
Ahmad, at 5'11" and 190 pounds, had a stellar career in the SEC. Black had 227 career tackles, 2 forced fumbles and 13 interceptions.
He's an aggressive, opportunistic, and fearful strong safety. To me, he's a steal in the late first round if he's still on the board.
Why he's not being talked about more I simply don't know.
Tyrod Taylor, a Virginia native, had quite the career as a Hokie. He was a play maker all four years for Virginia Tech and put up some impressive quarterback numbers.
Taylor threw for over 7,000 yards and 44 touchdowns in his collegiate career. 24 of those 44 touchdowns came in his most recent season.
Taylor broke all of his previous passing records this season and has proved he is NFL ready.
Food for thought: Taylor could easily switch to a wide receiver position with the speed and quickness he presents. If this guy doesn't play quarterback, he'll find a role on some team. He could be a modern day Antwaan Randle El in the making.
DeMarco Murray is a stud. The guy posted 50 touchdowns in his career as a Sooner.
He's 6'1", 207 pounds and an absolute headache for defensive coordinators.
He's a guy you can't stop, but only hope to contain. Murray ran for over 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns in his last season with Oklahoma.
Somebody give this guy some press...he's the best running back in this year's draft for goodness sakes!