NFL Draft 2011: 5 Underclassmen Who Declared Who May Not Get Drafted
As underclassman names such as Cameron Newton, Blaine Gabbert and Mark Ingram headline the 2011 NFL Draft class, a few of the 50 some odd underclassmen who declared for the draft unfortunately won't hear their name called on draft day.
These draft-eligible underclassmen, though few, will need to bust their butt to prove to an NFL team that they are ready to take their talents to the next level as an undrafted free agent.
Here are the five underclassmen I believe will be left hanging come draft day and will have the best opportunity to pull a Lagarrette Blount by making it all the way to the NFL.
Zane Parr, DE, Virginia
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With his versatility put into question after only starting 12 games in a 3-4 defense, Zane Parr out of Virginia may not hear his name come draft day.
Deciding to skip his senior season, Parr has the size and athleticism to take his game to the next level, but his lack of experience will really hinder his draft stock in the eyes of scouts.
Projected as a later pick, Parr only accumulated 6.5 career sacks over three years for the Cavaliers and will need more seasoning and reps to advance in the system.
Sealver Siliga, DT, Utah
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While the 2011 Draft is loaded with top-tier defensive line prospects, Sealver Siliga will need a strong showing to even be in the conversation with these highly tooted prospects.
Siliga was a very productive and versatile player while at Utah, but he will need to set himself apart from the pack if he wants to be drafted this year.
He has the ability to be an impact player on any NFL team because of his brute strength and durability in the trenches, but it’s his prototypical style of play that keeps him behind in the pack.
Siliga does have experience going for him, starting in 21 games during his three year career with the Utes, but as teams stockpile defensive linemen early in the draft, expect the need for Siliga’s services to dwindle as the late rounds come around.
Vidal Hazelton, WR, Cincinnati
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Injuries hurt Vidal Hazelton’s career, and he will need to prove to scouts that his issues are a concern of the past.
Once a highly rated recruit coming out of high school, Hazelton started his college football career at USC, where a lack of playing time and various injuries caused him to request a transfer to Cincinnati.
After sitting out the 2009 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Hazelton was poised for a stellar 2010 season for the Bearcats, but suffered a torn ACL in Cincinnati’s season opener.
Hazelton has now decided to forgo his senior season and take his chances in the NFL Draft, hoping scouts observe his great size and phenomenal hands over his injury-plagued past.
Due to a college career lacking anything substantial, Hazelton has seen his name slip down draft boards and eventually off the board altogether.
Nick Claytor, OT, Georgia Tech
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Forgoing his senior season in hopes of catching on with an NFL team, Georgia Tech offensive tackle Nick Claytor seems to have an uphill battle ahead of him.
His decision to enter the draft instead of playing his senior season is already in question, but Claytor will have to further impress scouts, as they think he needs to add to his 280-pound frame to play offensive tackle in the league.
Hopefully Claytor’s athleticism and football intelligence can catapult him into the draft’s later rounds, but there’s no telling if this is a real possibility for him.
Tori Gurley, WR, South Carolina
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Tori Gurley, a redshirt sophomore, may have the best chances of being drafted out of this group, but he will need to work on his speed if he wants to become an elite receiver in the NFL.
After a stellar 2010 season for the Gamecocks in which he didn’t drop a single pass, Gurley’s only real negative seen by scouts is that he can't burst into that top gear most NFL-ready receivers can hit.
Projected as a mid to late round pick, Gurley can see his name drop if he doesn’t clear up these questions as the draft is fast approaching.