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NFL Draft 2011: Top 10 Combine Surprise Players

John RozumCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2011

NFL Draft 2011: Top 10 Combine Surprise Players

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Coming into the NFL Combine, most coaches and scouts have a rough idea of the players they want to evaluate.

    Most sporting events have surprises, however, and the NFL Combine is no exception.

    Some of these players are known, some unknown. However to the scouts, coaches, and analysts, these players' results come as surprises.

    So with that being said, here are 10 players who've made a name for themselves (or at least proved the skeptics wrong) at the 2011 NFL Combine.

10. Tyrod Taylor: QB, Virginia Tech

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    After the 2010 college football season, Tyrod Taylor was named the ACC Offensive Player of the year.

    After starting out 0-2, the Hokies' season appeared to be lost, as well as their chances for a BCS berth.

    However, Virginia Tech stormed through the ACC and rolled off 11 straight wins, making an appearance in the Orange Bowl.

    As for Taylor's combine?

    Fastest 40-yard dash, second highest vertical jump, tied for longest broad jump, second fastest on the three-cone drill, and tied for the fastest 20-yard shuttle.

    Whoever drafts him is getting one outstanding athlete, but also a smart QB who threw 37 TDs to only 10 picks during his final two years at Virginia Tech.

9. Jeron Johnson: SS, Boise State

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    Comes into the draft as one of the faster and stronger safeties.

    Also has the size to look the part, coming in at 5'10" and 212 lbs.

    Plays like a linebacker and isn't afraid of contact, but also has remained healthy.

    Led Boise State in tackles for three consecutive seasons (2008-2010), and was selected to the All-WAC team three years in a row.

    With all his tackles in college (318), think of him as a young Steve Atwater; not as big, but arguably just as physical.

    Currently projected as a fourth-to-fifth round pick, however that could change due to his versatility as a tackler and coverage man.

8. Charlie Gantt: TE, Michigan State

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    Playing on an Edwin Baker-oriented Michigan State offense, Senior TE Charlie Gantt played the role of the sixth offensive lineman.

    Baker, who finished third in the Big Ten in rushing, received a lot of help from the versatility of Gantt.

    All QBs love to have a receiving TE who can add another element to an offense's attack.

    Don't believe me? Ask those who have played with Shannon Sharpe and Tony Gonzalez.

    Gantt didn't put up ridiculous numbers, but he is very consistent—a dropped pass his way is extremely rare.

    He possesses the strength to effectively run-block (benching 225 lbs 27 times), and has the quickness to get off the line of scrimmage.

    Stands at a tall 6'4", and a solid 252 lbs.

    He's not going to be the fastest, but he will out-work and out-will his opponents. 

7. Greg McElroy: QB, Alabama

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    So does getting the highest score on the Wonderlic Test hurt him?

    Why should it? Regardless of who you are, anyone can always learn something new.

    Not to mention he is a winner, and has the track record to prove it.

    At the combine he wasn't the fastest, quickest or the strongest.

    He's currently a projected fifth-round pick and has a lot to prove to the pro football world.

    Through his final two seasons at Alabama, McElroy only threw nine picks in 27 games while completing just over 65 percent of his passes.

    And when you watch the QB position, is Tom Brady or Peyton Manning the fastest, quickest, or strongest?

    No, but they are arguably two of the smartest to ever play the game.

6. Buster Skrine: CB, Chattanooga

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    Currently a projected fifth-to-sixth round pick, even with his speed and agility.

    Stands at 5'10" and 186 lbs, which is a good size for a CB.

    Could gain some weight, but only if he can maintain his speed while doing it.

    Was selected to the first-team All-Southern Conference for a second consecutive year, and showed toughness by playing after dislocating his elbow.

    Combine his toughness with his leadership and speed, don't be surprised if Skrine gets selected higher come draft weekend.

5. Aldrick Robinson: WR, Southern Methodist

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    For a WR he may appear to be rather small.

    But, Aldrick Robinson's size of 5'10", 184 lbs is what makes him great.

    For his combine results, he was one of the most consistent WRs across the board, and that's in comparison to the likes of Julio Jones and A.J. Green.

    At the combine, he ran a 4.43 second 40-yard dash with a 40 inch vertical jump, a 4.09 20-yard shuttle and 6.65 seconds on the three-cone drill.

    These results rank him in the Top 10 for all WRs that were invited to the combine, and in being a projected sixth-to-seventh round pick, he definitely has shown to be worth more.

4. Justin Boren: OG, Ohio State

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Has the size you want in an offensive-guard.

    Comes in at 309 lbs while standing 6'3".

    At the combine, Justin Boren ran  7.57 in the three-cone drill and benched 225 lbs 28 times.

    In comparison to the top lineman, these numbers may not appear to be stellar.

    However, he's one of the few that was a top performer in both categories for his position.

    He can sit-back on his hips and deliver a good "pop" to the pass rusher because of his strength from bench.

    But, if he's needed to pull around the edge for a counter run, or a QB roll-out on a pass, his three-cone drill is indicative of the quickness you see.

3. Mike Mohamed: ILB, California

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    He's not one of the stronger LBs coming into this year's draft, but he may be the all-around quickest.

    He tied for the fastest three-cone drill (6.7 seconds) and 20-yard shuttle (4.0 seconds) times, as well as running the second fastest 60 yard shuttle with a time of 11.25 seconds.

    With that being said, off the snap, he has the ability to be the first to the ball every time.

    His ability to reverse direction (60-yard and 20-yard shuttles) on a moments notice will bode well in pass coverage.

    Being able to quickly read and react on the spot, regardless of his location on the field, will help in shutting down draw plays, screens, and quick slants.

    His weakness would be taking on blocks, however his quickness should be able to counter-balance that in order to make plays.

2. Chris Carter: OLB/DE, Fresno State

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    Has the solid size to play either OLB or DE for the right system in pro football.

    Weighs 248 lbs and stands at 6'1".

    At the combine he ran a 4.62 40-yard dash, a 4.34 20-yard shuttle, and a 6.88 in the three-cone drill.

    His 40 yard dash and three-cone drill were the second-best among the defensive lineman, and being a projected fourth to fifth round pick, he may have upped his status.

    His times are excellent for an underrated d-lineman, and coming off the edge he could be a dangerous, unblockable threat.

1. Da'Rel Scott: RB, Maryland

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Comes in as the 20th ranked RB on CBS Sports, and a projected sixth or seventh round draft pick.

    At the NFL Combine?

    Ran a 4.34 40-yard dash, 9' 9" in the broad jump, and an 11.51 60-yard shuttle.

    His 40 yard dash was the fastest of the RBs, and his broad jump and 60-yard shuttle put him as a top performer in those categories as well.

    As for his size?

    He is a bit light weighing around 211 lbs, but it's not too light.

    If he can add about another five or 10 pounds of muscle mass he could really reach another level.

    He also stands at 5'11", which may appear to be tall, but then again, Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson was 6'3".

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