NFL Draft 2011: Ranking the Top 25 Players Who Should Be Available on Day 3
We are closing in on 24 hours until day one of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Fans anxiously await announcement on the players their favorite teams will choose.
Much of the hype surrounds the earlier portion of the draft, but it's often the late-round steals that have the biggest impact on teams.
Here are power rankings for 25 players who could be future day-three steals in this year's draft class.
25. OLB Brian Rolle (Ohio State)
Brian Rolle is the cousin of New York Giants' safety Antrel Rolle.
As a junior for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Rolle started at middle linebacker, recording 94 tackles and an interception.
He was named a captain in 2010 and recorded 76 tackles, three sacks and two more interceptions.
He earned first-team Big Ten honors.
24. CB Buster Skrine (Tennessee-Chattanooga)
Buster Skrine has been shooting up the draft charts over the span of the last month.
Prior to the NFL combine, Skrine was expected to fall somewhere in the sixth or seventh round.
After his impressive combine, scouts took another look at Skrine. He is now facing the possibility of being chosen in the fourth round.
Skrine only possesses adequate build and size for a corner, but he plays with a nasty aggressiveness and is one of the fastest players in the draft class.
23. OT DeMarcus Love (Arkansas)
DeMarcus Love is a nasty offensive tackle out of Arkansas.
He is big and versatile. While with the Razorbacks, as a 4-year starter, Love played right guard, right tackle and left tackle.
He likely doesn't possess the elite quickness to remain at left tackle at the next level, but the team that does take him could get a solid player at guard.
22. QB Pat Devlin (Delaware)
During his time at Delaware, Pat Devlin enjoyed similar success to that of Joe Flacco.
However, there is a big knock on Devlin due to his weaker arm strength.
Devlin may not be a year one starter, but he could be a later round project for a team with an aging quarterback.
21. OT Lee Ziemba (Auburn)
Much like DeMarcus Love, Lee Ziemba is better known as a big mauler on the offensive line.
He is probably too slow and stiff-hipped to remain at offensive tackle, but could turn into a long time starter as an offensive guard in the NFL.
20. K Alex Henery (Nebraska)
Alex Henery is clearly the best kicker in the draft.
Chances are he will still be available at the start of day three, but not for long.
In his career, he is 68 for 76 in field goal attempts. Six of Henery's eight misses were from beyond 50 yards out.
He was 193 for 194 on point-after attempts.
19. MLB Kelvin Sheppard (LSU)
Kelvin Sheppard is actually ranked on most draft boards as a top five inside linebacker.
However, this class isn't extremely deep at the position. In fact, he is one of two inside linebackers on this list.
Sheppard is a smart, instinctive player, but seems to lack the athleticism to be a stud player in the NFL.
He leaves LSU with 311 tackles, 5.5 sacks and two interceptions.
18. FB Charles Clay (Tulsa)
Fullback, like kicker, is a position that you aren't going to see taken early in the draft.
This will be the reason the top fullback is still on the board at the start of day three, in Charles Clay.
Clay has the ability to catch, run and block. There has to be a team out there somewhere that can utilize his abilities.
Clay had 2,544 career receiving yards, 911 rushing yards and 38 touchdowns in four years with Tulsa.
17. Stephen Schilling (Michigan)
Stephen Schilling was thrown into a difficult situation when he first arrived at Michigan.
The team implemented the spread offense, which is not a good scheme for the larger, run-block oriented lineman.
However, Schilling still managed to become one of the top guards in college football, earning consideration for the Outland Trophy.
He should show improvement under a pro-style offense.
16. OLB Lawrence Wilson (Connecticut)
Lawrence Wilson is one of the most instinctive linebackers in this year's class. He has a nose for the ball and makes plays in the backfield.
However, he lacks the typical size for a NFL linebacker. It's likely this will drop him into the later rounds.
He is graduating with 438 tackles, four forced fumbles and five interceptions.
15. FS Robert Sands (West Virginia)
Robert Sands is an athletic freak. He stands in at 6'5" and 220 pounds.
His 4.53 second 40-yard dash time is one of the best among safeties.
As tempting as it is to take him on those abilities alone, he still is a very raw talent. This will cause him to slip to day three.
14. OT Jason Pinkston (Pittsburgh)
Jason Pinkston was a three-year starter at left tackle for the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Unlike the other tackles on this list, Pinkston may not have to move inside to guard. However, he likely is better suited as a right tackle.
Pinkston relies on raw strength when blocking. He is one of the stronger offensive linemen in this year's class.
13. WR Vincent Brown (San Diego State)
Vincent Brown is flying under the radar on most draft boards, likely due to the fact that he played at San Diego State.
Brown has 3,110 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns in his career; 1,352 of those yards and ten of the touchdowns came last season.
Brown could be a perfect No. 2 receiver in a west coast-style offense.
12. HB Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska)
Roy Helu Jr. is an explosive runner with the capability of being a future starter in the NFL.
At the worst, he is a solid change-of-pace back, running with power and authority.
He needs to improve on his vision and decision making. If he does, he could become a future problem for opposing defenses.
11. MLB Greg Jones (Michigan State)
At a size a little smaller than most NFL coaches would prefer, it seems that Greg Jones is slowly slipping down draft boards.
That could be great news for a team that snags him late.
Jones is an instinctual player with a knack for being around the ball.
He is graduating with 464 career tackles, 16 sacks, three forced fumbles and two interceptions.
10. SS Jeron Johnson (Boise State)
Jeron Johnson was consistently one of the top players at Boise State over the last few seasons.
He led the team in tackles as a sophomore, junior and senior.
Johnson is very undersized for a safety and will be expected to put on some weight.
Even if he doesn't, Johnson plays like he is three times his size. His determination and aggressiveness will appeal to NFL coaches.
9. HB Dion Lewis (Pittsburgh)
Dion Lewis may be the most underrated player in this year's draft. At 5'7" and only 193 pounds, I wouldn't doubt if he slips to day three.
Lewis is a sophomore coming out of Pittsburgh. In two seasons he has rushed for 2,860 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Whatever team selects him may be forced to create unique packages to utilize his talents, but they will be getting a playmaker.
8. OLB Ross Homan (Ohio State)
Same story, different player.
Ross Homan is a highly productive player who has seen his stock drop due to lack of size and speed.
Homan is an instinctual player who plays his best games often against the biggest opponents.
He has 288 tackles, two forced fumbles and seven interceptions in his career. He started three years for the Buckeyes.
7. QB Greg McElroy (Alabama)
McElroy may not have a cannon for an arm, perfect accuracy or footwork, but he is a winner.
He won in college and in high school.
His work at Alabama in a pro-style offense may be one reason that teams have interest in McElroy.
Another, would be his intelligence.
Quarterbacks need to be smart, and McElroy is just that.
6. DE Greg Romeus (Pittsburgh)
Greg Romeus is a player who has been solid throughout his entire career.
He has been good, but not great, in almost every aspect of the game. He may never be a superstar defensive end, but he has the talent to be a starter in the league.
However, Romeus missed the majority of this season due to injuries.
He is a second-round talent who will likely fall to the third day because of these concerns.
5. DT Jerrell Powe (Mississippi)
Powe could be a late-round talent who teams want to look at in terms of a 3-4 nose tackle.
Had Powe decided to come out last year, he would have likely went early. After a tough senior year, his stock will likely drop.
The reason Powe returned to Mississippi? He was having trouble academically and wanted to graduate.
Always a positive sign in terms of maturity.
4. FS Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple)
I would be shocked to see Jaiquawn Jarrett fall to the fourth round. However, most mock drafts have him there, if not later.
Muhammad Wilkerson and Jarrett were the top two players on the defensive side of the ball for Temple last year.
I'd be willing to argue that Jarrett made a greater impact than Wilkerson.
Jarrett is leaving Temple with 292 career tackles, two forced fumbles and nine interceptions.
3. WR Greg Little (North Carolina)
How big are the character concerns with Greg Little? If they are enough, he could end up slipping into the early fourth round.
Little played only one season as a receiver, in 2009, but showed great promise at the position. He has great body control and is a big powerful receiver.
He still needs to develop into the position. He is a raw talent, but one who could make a huge impact down the road.
2. HB Taiwan Jones (Eastern Washington)
As talented as Taiwan Jones is, there is a very good possibility he still slips to day three in the draft.
He does not have the size of an every-down NFL running back, he has struggled with injuries, and, of course, he only played in the FCS.
Still, he is an unbelievable talent.
Jones averaged 7.9 yards per carry in his 24 games over the course of his career.
In 2009, he finished with 2,345 all-purpose yards. In 2010, he improved that number to 2,491 all-purpose yards.
Jerry Rice played in the FCS too.
1. HB Jacquizz Rodgers (Oregon State)
Jacquizz Rodgers is very small, measuring in at 5'6" and 196 pounds. He doesn't have the speed to make up for it.
There are concerns that Rodgers would not have the size to play every down in the NFL. His college play says otherwise.
In all three years of his career, Rodgers had over 250 carries. In fact, over the course of his first two years he lead the country in carries per game.
In three years he totaled 3,877 rushing yards and 46 total rushing touchdowns.
Maurice Jones-Drew version two? It's possible.