2011 NFL Draft: Predicting Who Will Be the Top 5 Players in the Draft Class

Zachary CohenContributor IIIMarch 18, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Predicting Who Will Be the Top 5 Players in the Draft Class

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    It's very difficult to predict the future of a football player. The difference between college and the NFL is monumental, which often leads to a lot of surprise players becoming stars or star college players being busts.

    This year's class I'm sure will be no different. Looking at the draft now, here are the five players that I think will be the best of their draft class.

Christian Ponder (QB, Florida State)

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    Here's the guy who might get me in trouble being that he's only projected to be a second-round pick in this year's draft.

    Last season, Christian Ponder threw for 2,044 yards and a passer rating of 135.68. Ponder threw 20 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions.

    The reason I like Ponder is that he's a great decision-maker in the West Coast system. If Ponder lands on the right team, he could be a starter as early as next year, and with his arm he's going to turn a lot of heads.

    Just looking at the improvements he made from when he was first named the Seminoles starter is incredible. Fans used to never want them to throw the ball, and then last year they wanted him to throw every play until his arm fell off.

    In my opinion, Ponder will end up surprising everybody and will be the second-best quarterback in this class and a top five player in the class when all is said and done.

Da'Quan Bowers (DE, Clemson)

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    Da'Quan Bowers is often questioned for his lack of a true position at the next level, but that concern means little to me. Bowers is the most talented player in this draft, and he is going to prove that whether he's playing LB or DE in the NFL.

    Bowers has an unquestionable skill of getting to the quarterback. Last season Da'Quan sacked the quarterback 16 times. That number is absolutely ridiculous, and a skill like that should not be questioned. He knows how to rush the pass, and no matter what position he's playing, he will be able to do it at the next level.

    Bowers is a physical specimen at 6'4" and 280 pounds, and with that size combined with his skill level, I just can't see him not being one of the five best players in this year's draft.

Prince Amukamara (CB, Nebraska)

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    After the combine, scouts started to jump on the Patrick Peterson bandwagon, but I stayed away and still will stick with Amukamara. Amukamara is one of those corners that will end up just being avoided in the NFL.

    Amukamara's only concern heading into the combine was that he wasn't fast, and he squashed that notion with a good 40-yard dash time. His ability to excel in bump and run coverage is going to make him an incredible corner in this league, and in my opinion he'll end up being the best cornerback taken in this draft.

    Amukamara had a bit of a disappointing season his senior year, but five interceptions in his junior year show you just how talented this guy really is.

Cam Newton (QB, Auburn)

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    Many people hopped off the Cam Newton supporting bus because of his combine, but my question to everybody is when have those types of things mattered when it comes to Cam?

    Newton has been a winner at every level. Winning is something that can't be taught; you're either born with that mentality or not. Newton has the killer instinct of MJ or Kobe and the intangibles of a guy like Vince Young. He's a fast quarterback who will beat you with the run or through the air, where he throws the ball with incredible accuracy.

    Last season, Newton threw for a passer rating of 182.05. He threw 30 touchdown passes and only seven interceptions for those out there who question this kid's passing ability.

    Newton will get the job done in the NFL, and for those who question that, I ask you: How can you doubt somebody who never loses?

A.J. Green (WR, Georgia)

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    This is the guy I'm taking if I'm sitting there with the No. 1 pick. Sure, wide receiver isn't the most important position on a football field, but Green has the potential to be the best wide receiver in the league in as early as two or three years.

    Green was suspended for four games last season and still managed to catch 57 passes for nine touchdowns. Against the national champion, Auburn, Green caught two touchdown passes and had 164 receiving yards. Those numbers are not incredible...in fact, no word in the dictionary does that performance justice.

    At 6'4" and 212 pounds, Green already has an NFL-ready body, and he is going to be a major contributor right away no matter what team he is drafted to.

    Green has the potential to be the best player in this draft. Don't be surprised at all if he is.