Per usual these days, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are putting a handful of picks into the NFL draft this year.
Though only one shows the ability to start from day one, there are several promising prospects and a few worthwhile projects.
What will be the fate of two starting Nebraska offensive linemen?
When will arguably the best kicker of the bunch see his name picked?
Can one of the best running backs in Cornhusker history break into the top two rounds?
To say that Henry did himself no favors at the 2011 NFL combine would be putting it mildly.
He ran one of the slowest 40-yard dashes and had overall poor form on the various drills.
Henry’s marks actually worsened during Nebraska’s pro day.
He did manage to make minor improvements to his speed, but he showed less strength with 19 reps of 225 pounds versus 20 at the NFL combine.
The 20-yard shuttle wasn’t his friend either as the 10ths of a second he gained in the 40-yard dash showed up in this drill too.
There’s simply no way that he’ll be drafted, but he’s got the measurables to work with and might be worth signing to a practice squad.
Projected at strong safety, there’s little debate regarding Gomes’ physicality.
In 23 games, he managed seven INTs including three last year.
Tack on two forced fumbles and being second only to Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year Lavonte David in tackles last season, and you’ve got a resume that’s nothing to sneeze at.
His speed isn’t elite, but he does pack a punch.
That may be enough for a team in need of a safety to snag him in a late round or pick him up in free agency.
Either way, Gomes should find a home eventually.
Hagg is in a similar situation to Gomes.
A turnover machine? He had five INTs in 2010 alone...Check.
Lacking overall speed at a safety spot? Unfortunately so.
The good news for the first-team All-Big 12 choice and team-voted MVP is that, much like Gomes, he has a good work ethic instilled by Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini.
A slightly better athlete than Gomes, Hagg is likely to get picked up late in the draft, but could just slip into free agency.
Regardless, he'll be picked up at some point.
Williams has the size to compete in the NFL, but his speed is lacking.
The good news is that he’s not in the same boat as Ricky Henry.
Williams battled through injury and started all 14 games last year, providing Roy Helu Jr. with the blocking to become the first Husker to post back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons since Calvin Jones in 1992 and 1993, along with Taylor Martinez (965 yards) and Rex Burkhead (951 yards).
If he goes in the draft, it’ll likely be in the final three rounds.
With his mass (6'5", 310 lbs.), a franchise may be willing to give him time to work on his swiftness.
Pierre Allen Sr. had a breakout year in 2010 alongside Ndamukong Suh’s former running buddy Jared Crick.
He certainly has the size, speed and agility that NFL scouts look for in a defensive end at 6’5” and 275 pounds.
As large as that might sound, Allen Sr. is fairly mobile for his size.
A first-team All-Big 12 member in 2010, he racked up 65 tackles, 11 TFL and 3.5 sacks.
He’s a good bet to be gone once the fourth round ends.
You say that your franchise needs a versatile kicker?
How about the leading scorer from a school that is known for quality kickers?
Alex Henery handled kicking and punting chores for Nebraska tallying 397 points in his career.
He went 68-of-76 on career field goals or an 89.5 percent career accuracy percentage.
The NCAA record was 87.8 percent.
He averaged 43.2 yards per punt placing 26 of his punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
This first-team All-American will need some time to get used to the NFL ball, but he’ll be the first kicker off of the board and is money in the bank.
Paul’s a hard guy to figure out looking at stats alone, but where he falls in the draft will likely have little to do with how he performed during his senior season.
He had issues catching passes, but did average nearly 20 YPC.
His skill as a kick returner can’t be overlooked either.
Paul’s 27.9-yard average when returning kickoffs is the best by a Cornhusker in 20 years.
What will entice a franchise is his pure athleticism and that’s a quality that Paul has plenty of.
At 6’1” and 225 pounds, Paul is durable enough and fast enough to garner a pick in the middle of the draft.
Helu, Jr. posted one of the best statistical careers of any Nebraska Cornhusker running back.
Think about that statement for a minute.
It’s a testament to his vision, speed and quickness, but there are two knocks against him.
First, his size isn’t ideal for an NFL back at a slim 6’0”, 219 pounds.
Second, he has struggled with fumbles on and off during his college career.
That’s not going to cut it in the big leagues.
Still, come mid-draft it’s going to be very difficult to say “no” to the guy who broke the Nebraska rushing record for a single game (307 yards).
The only sure thing that the Cornhuskers have in this draft is Mr. Amukamara.
Teams wouldn’t throw at him in 2010 and when they did, he most often swatted passes down.
In fact, many have cited the danger of Amukamara’s lockdown capability as the reason why several other Cornhusker defensive backs were able to pick so many passes off.
A potential top-10 pick, his new home will be determined by where LSU’s Patrick Peterson goes.
He won’t slip past the No. 13 spot, though.
If he’s still on the board at that point, Detroit representatives will be scrambling to phone in their pick to reunite Prince with his former teammate, Ndamukong Suh.
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