Madden 2012 Player Rankings: Projecting Cam Newton and Rookie Ratings

Jason KarlAnalyst IIIMay 6, 2011

Madden 2012 Player Rankings: Projecting Cam Newton and Rookie Ratings

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell greets Carolina Panthers #1 overall pick Cam Newton from the Auburn during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Though the popular football video game Madden does not usually release until August, it is always fun to speculate the rankings of the incoming rookies.

    Hardcore gamers love playing rookies who have the potential to light up the virtual playing field.

    With exciting players drafted all across the first round, who will have the highest Madden rating?

QB Cam Newton: 78

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Quarterback Cameron Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers is sacked by Zac Clark #99 of the Oregon Ducks in the first quarter during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in G
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    The number one overall pick in the draft, Cam Newton has immense potential but will have to work hard to correct his mechanical flaws.

    Gamers are salivating over the thought of playing with Newton because of his great speed and running skills.

    The Panthers felt the need to find themselves a franchise quarterback, even though I still believe in Jimmy Clausen, and Newton will certainly put people in the seat with his electrifying play.

LB Von Miller: 85

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Von Miller of Texas A&M works out during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    At 246 pounds, Von Miller has great speed; in fact, he runs in the mid 4.4's, bringing an explosive speed rush to the Broncos.

    In the college ranks, Miller was nearly unblockable and would fit as third down pass rusher after playing linebacker in the Broncos 4-3 base defense.

    Miller is a tenacious run defender and is more than playing in coverage.

DT Marcell Dareus: 82

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Quarterback Garrett Gilbert #3 of the Texas Longhorns tries to tackle lineman Marcell Dareus #57 of the Alabama Crimson Tide who would score after intercepting the ball during the second quarter of the Citi BCS National Champio
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Dareus possesses great feet and is "fast" for a man his size.

    Dareus disrupts offensive game plans and was continuously double teamed at Alabama.

    He will fit on the Bills defensive line playing next to one of the more underrated players in the league, Kyle Williams.

    Dareus may not be as great as a pass rusher as a run defender, but he can still impact the game.

WR AJ Green: 84

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    AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 13:  A.J. Green #8 of the Georgia Bulldogs pulls in this touchdown reception against Demond Washington #14 of the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Many consider Green the best offensive player in the entire draft.

    Green brings the physicality to the position, and people feel he could be in the same boat as a Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, etc. in a couple of years.

    Green has solid speed, but look for his spectacular catch rating to be one of the highest for a wide receiver in recent memory.

    Green made at least one incredible catch a game for the Georgia Bulldogs.

CB Patrick Peterson: 85

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    BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 20:  Patrick Peterson #7 of the Louisiana State University Tigers nearly intercepts a pass in the final seconds against Markeith Summers #16 and Korvic Neat #28 of the Ole Miss Rebels as time expired at Tiger Stadium on November
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    At almost 220 pounds, Peterson can run in the 4.3's.

    He has elite ball skills and can snatch any ball thrown in his direction, especially with such great hands.

    Peterson was an elite punt returner in college, and look for him to have the same type of success in college.

    He possesses a unique blend of size, speed and talent and could be the best corner in the league by next year.

WR Julio Jones: 80

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide is tackled by Neiko Thorpe #15 and Eltoro Freeman #21 of the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Falcons essentially traded two drafts to move up for the playmaker Julio Jones, looking for him to make an immediate impact alongside star Roddy White.

    Jones is a physical specimen at 6'4''. He ran in the 4.3's at the combine and can catch passes in tight windows, even though his hands are questionable.

    Jones improved tremendously his junior season, showing why he was considered an elite wide receiving prospect.

    Look for the Falcons offense with Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones to be of the most fun offenses to play with in the Madden game.

LB Aldon Smith: 78

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    COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 23: Aldon Smith #85 of the Missouri Tigers in action against the Oklahoma Sooners at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 23, 2010 in Columbia, Missouri.  The Tigers beat the Sooners 36-27.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Image
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Aldon Smith is a high potential player, who had an injury-plagued season. He is very similar to last year's Jason Pierre-Paul, who found success with the Giants as a situational pass rusher.

    Smith got by on sheer athleticism, so his game will need to be refined as a pass rusher.

    Most thought it was a surprise for Smith to go that early to the 49ers, but few realize that if he was not injured most of last season, he would have likely been a top 10 pick.

    Smith has a blend of size and speed, and playing next to Patrick Willis will help greatly.

QB Jake Locker: 71

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    SEATTLE - OCTOBER 30:  Quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Washington Huskies scrambles against the Stanford Cardinal on October 30, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. Stanford won 41-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Locker could be a Madden star because of his great running abilities. Locker ran in the mid 4.5's at the combine and used his elusiveness at Washington to get away from opposing defensive players.

    Locker will have to improve his horrid accuracy, though, as that is the one aspect of his game that is holding him back.

    He has a huge arm, but in the NFL, a big arm can only get you so far.

OT Tyron Smith: 79

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Tyron Smith, #9 overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotma
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Smith was regarded as the consensus number one tackle in the draft. He is a natural pass blocker and is one of the most athletic offensive lineman to enter the NFL.

    He could protect Tony Romo's blindside and develop into one of the league's best tackles.

    Even though Smith has only played right tackle with USC, the Cowboys intend to use him as their left tackle.

QB Blaine Gabbert: 76

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    COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 13:  Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Missouri Tigers carries the ball during the game against the Kansas State Wildcats on November 13, 2010 at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Gett
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Gabbert is probably in his best situation in Jacksonville. He can sit behind a competent starter in David Garrard.

    Gabbert is accurate and can make all the throws; though he will be coming from a spread offense, most believe Gabbert can transition to a pro-style offense.

    With weapons around him, Gabbert can be a very good starting caliber quarterback.

DE JJ Watt: 78

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01:  Defensive lineman J.J. Watt #99 of the Wisconsin Badgers rushes the TCU Horned Frogs in the 97th Rose Bowl game on January 1, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    While Watt may never be an elite defensive lineman, he will be very solid and a great complement to star Mario Williams.

    Watt is a great run stuffing 3-4 end and should fit right in with Houston's defense. With long arms, Watt can reach out and tackle well.

    One of the underrated aspects of Watt's game is his great hands, which he utilizes to get past the offensive lineman.

QB Christian Ponder: 68

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    MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 29: Quarterback  Christian Ponder #7 of the South Team passes over defensive lineman Pierre Allen #95 North Team during the fourth quarter of the Under Armour Senior Bowl on January 29, 2011 at Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.
    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Ponder may be the most NFL ready quarterback drafted in the first round, but there is no denying the fact that the Vikings reached just to get "their" guy at quarterback.

    Ponder has an average arm and will struggle on road games at Chicago and Green Bay with bustling winds.

    He is accurate, and with elite weapons around him—Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, Kyle Rudolph, and Toby Gerhart—he could succeed.

DT Nick Fairley: 81

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Nick Fairley, #13 overall pick by the Detriot Lions, during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Imag
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    The Lions keep on stockpiling defensive tackles with the addition of Fairley. He will join the best defensive tackle in the league in Ndamukong Suh to form a dominant tandem.

    Fairley was a gamechanger. Late in games, Fairley came up with huge tackles for losses or sacks, setting back the momentum.

    He will fit well on the defensive line, especially with Suh taking on double teams.

    Just turn on the Oregon National Championship game tape if you have any questions about his impact on the game.

    Fairley takes lots of plays off, but is still a dominating force.

DE Robert Quinn: 78

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    CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 19:  Robert Quinn #42 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates after a sack with teammate Marvin Austin #9 against the East Carolina Pirates at Kenan Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  (Photo by St
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Quinn could possibly be the best talent in the entire draft, so he could be a great complement at defensive end to Chris Long

    If Quinn played last season, he would have likely been a top three pick, as his pass rushing speed and moves were second to none.

    Quinn has an explosive first step and could transform the Rams defense to new heights.

OG Mike Pouncey: 76

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Mike Pouncey, #15 overall pick by the Miami Dolphins, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Pouncey was widely considered the best interior offensive lineman in the draft, though I think a certain player later on the list was better.

    He was athletic and versatile, as he could play center as well as his natural position of guard.

    The Dolphins desperately needed help at guard, and though Pouncey is not as talented as his brother, he should be able to anchor the line with Jake Long.

LB Ryan Kerrigan: 78

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    WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 20:  Quarterback Dan LeFevour #13 of the Central Michigan Chippewas is tackled by Ryan Kerrigan #94 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 20, 2008 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    People call Kerrigan this year's Brandon Graham, and I can definitely see the comparison.

    Kerrigan played in a 4-3 defense at Purdue, so he will have to adjust to the Redskins 3-4 defense, but he should make an impact opposite of star Brian Orakpo.

    Kerrigan has a relentless motor and never gives up on a play. He could immediately help the 'Skins average pass rush.

OT Nate Solder: 75

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    BOULDER, CO - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Orakpo #98 of the Texas Longhorns rushes against Nate Solder #78 the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on October 4, 2008 in Boulder, Colorado. Texas defeated Colorado 38-14.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Solder was regarded by many as the top offensive tackle coming out of the draft and has monster size at 6'8", 315 pounds.

    As a pass blocker, Solder excels and is a natural fit for the Patriots offense. Matt Light is not expected to be re-signed, so Solder could have to play left tackle right away; most pundits though think Solder is not ready to start right away.

    Solder is a converted tight end, so his athleticism at tackle is there. 

DE Corey Liuget: 76

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  Corey Liuget, #18 overall pick by the San Diego Chargers, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Liuget is a quick, penetrating defensive tackle that makes plays, but will have to adjust to the Chargers 3-4 alignment, where he will play defensive end.

    He had a tremendous season with Illinois, recording 63 tackles and five sacks.

    Liuget could be a nice fit across a defensive line desperately needing a five-technique.

    Liuget was one of my favorites coming into the draft, but we will have to see how he adjusts to the 3-4.

CB Prince Amukamara: 81

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    LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 04:  Prince Amukamara #21 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers knocks down a pass intended for Tristan Jones #33 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers during second half action of their game against at Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2010 in
    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    The Giants did not have a pressing need at corner, but took the best player available at 19 with Amukamara, one of the draft's elite talents.

    Amukamara has everything you want in a corner: size, speed, coverage skills and ball skills, not to mention he is a great run supporter.

    The Giants will have a lot of options at corner and could use Amukamara as a Charles Woodson type of player. Woodson played corner, safety and was a heavy blitzer.

DE Adrian Clayborn: 77

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Defensive end Adrian Clayborn #94 of the Iowa Hawkeyes in action during the Insight Bowl against the Missouri Tigers at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.  (Photo by
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    If you look at Clayborn's junior tape, he shows top five potential.

    He struggled more this season, but his talent and potential is still there. Clayborn could bring size to the defensive end position, as he stands at over 280 pounds.

    He could play defensive tackle on third downs as well.

    Clayborn will fit nicely with Gerald McCoy, Brian Price and DaQuan Bowers on the defensive line.

DT Phil Taylor: 74

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Phil Taylor, #21 overall pick by the Cleveland Browns, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Tro
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Phil Taylor started his career at Penn State, but was suspended and kicked off the team. He came back in 2010 and dominated since.

    At 335 pounds, Taylor carries his weight well enough and actually lost weight from the day of the combine to his pro day, showing his dedication to play football at his highest potential.

    Taylor recorded 62 tackles and two sacks last season and manhandled opposing offensive lines.

    He can bull rush, driving the lineman back, and is agile enough to move side to side. He even ran in the 5.18 range at his Pro Day.

OT Anthony Castonzo: 77

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    CHESTNUT HILL, MA - OCTOBER 03:  Anthony Castonzo #74 of the Boston College Eagles congratulates teammate Montel Harris #2 after Harris scored a touchdown in the first quarter against the Florida State Seminoles on October 3, 2009 at Alumni Stadium in Che
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Castonzo is a tall lineman at 6'7'', but is an athletic pass protector.

    With a large wingspan, it is hard for defenders to get by him.

    He could start at right tackle, even if his run blocking needs improvement.

    NFL Films guru Greg Cosell believes Castonzo is one of six elite players in this draft class; certainly a high praise.

    Castonzo will protect Peyton Manning's blindside.

OG Danny Watkins: 73

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Danny Watkins, #22 overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles, on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Chri
    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Watkins was an athletic tackle at Baylor, though he projects at guard, and fits the mold of a Howard Mudd type of offensive lineman. He is a mauler who can get into the second and third lines of defense.

    Many felt that the only reason Watkins would fall was because of his age; he will be 26 entering next season.

    Watkins, though, has received high praise from almost every draft analyst, and some even think he was the best guard in the draft over Mike Pouncey.

    Watkins can move laterally very well and should help protecting Michael Vick.

DE Cameron Jordan: 79

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    BERKELEY, CA - OCTOBER 09:  Kevin Price #4 of the UCLA Bruins is tackled by Cameron Jordan #97 of the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Some think the 287 pound Jordan is great fit in the 3-4 DE position, but I think he could be capable of playing 4-3 end or tackle.

    The Saints get a player who will immediately help their average pass rush.

    Jordan can come in right away and make an impact for the defense.

    Jordan was explosive at the Senior Bowl and uses his hands very well to gain leverage on the opposing offensive lineman.

OT James Carpenter: 69

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 16:  Marcell Dareus #57 and James Carpenter #77 of the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Ole Miss Rebels at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Looks like Carpenter is being manhandled by Marcell Dareus.

    The Seahawks wanted to upgrade their offensive line, but they drafted a late second round prospect in the first round with James Carpenter.

    He will have to improve his footwork to even be considered a right tackle.

    Carpenter translated more to a guard, but he was more of a finesse player at Alabama.

    He was overpowered at times by bigger linemen and was beat by quick fast ends.

    Nick Saban had a priceless reaction when hearing Carpenter's name being called in the first round.

WR Jonathan Baldwin: 75

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 05: Jonathan Baldwin #82 of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers catches a pass against the Cincinnati Bearcats on December 5, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Baldwin is a huge target at 6'5'' and will be a great complement to Dwayne Bowe, one of the breakout players from last year.

    With Jamaal Charles in the backfield and Baldwin and Bowe as the main targets, the Chiefs offense could be one of the best in 2011.

    Baldwin may not have great speed, but he is a solid possession receiver who can make acrobatic catches.

CB Jimmy Smith: 79

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    BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 07:  Wide receiver Jeff Fuller #8 of the Texas A&M Aggies makes a reception against the defense of Jimmy Smith #3 of the Colorado Buffaloes during NCAA college football action at Folsom Field on November 7, 2009 in Boulder, Colorado
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Though he did not intercept a pass all season, Smith was not targeted. He shut down the opponent's best wide receiver. Smith is a great run supporter, he is obviously big in size and is also great in press coverage.

    The Ravens got a steal at 27 in the first round. Smith is a top 10 talent who will fit in the Ravens aggressive style defense.

    With a great front seven, Smith could make a huge impact starting right away for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.

RB Mark Ingram: 80

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes for a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Ingram can do it all at running back: block, catch and run effectively. Even though Ingram does not have great speed, he has good enough to be more than just a power back.

    He will come on with a chip on his shoulder and will be motivated by his father, who is in jail.

    Ingram could be the favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year in the Saints elite offense led by Drew Brees.

OT Gabe Carimi: 74

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    IOWA CITY, IA - OCTOBER 23- Quarterback Scott Tolzien #16 of the Wisconsin Badgers throws under pressure from Defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn #94 of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes as offensive lineman Gabe Carimi #68 defends during the first half of pl
    David Purdy/Getty Images

    Carimi was highly touted coming into this college season, but has not played up to par. He struggled early on, but came on late towards the end of the season.

    Gabe Carimi also played left tackle, but can be moved over to the right side or even play inside at guard.

    Carimi fits into the Bears offense and will open up holes for Matt Forte.

DE Muhammad Wilkerson: 76

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    STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 19: Running back Evan Royster #22 of the Penn State Nittany Lions dives into the end zone for a touchdown during a game against the Temple Owls on September 19, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by
    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    Wilkerson was a standout at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, coming at 6'4'', 315 pounds while still running a 4.99 in the 40-yard dash. He bench-pressed 27 times and has 35 1/4'' arms.

    In his junior season, the 21-year-old Wilkerson recorded 68 tackles (43 solo) and 10 sacks, an astounding number for a defensive tackle, even if it was against inferior competition.

    He will fit as a 3-4 end in the Jets defensive scheme.

DE Cameron Heyward: 73

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    COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 13:  Cameron Heyward #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes chases after quarterback Matt McGloin #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Heyward underachieved this year with the Buckeyes.

    If you put on his tape against Arkansas in their bowl game, though, he looked like a top 15 pick.

    At 295 pounds, he will add depth to the Steelers defensive line.

OT Derek Sherrod: 74

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    TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 15:  J.C. Brignone #70 and Derek Sherrod #79of the Mississippi State Bulldogs get ready on the line of scrimmage during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 15, 2008 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Sherrod is a tall lineman who excels in pass protection.

    He is a very raw offensive lineman but has the potential to be a solid left tackle in the league.

    The Packers used their first round pick on an offensive lineman the second straight year after going with Bryan Bulaga last year.