Top 32 Players In the NFL DraftFebruary 17th, 2011
Here’s the first of several Commish’s Board rankings by draft guru Justin Pawlowski, the WDAE-AM 620 personality who serves up daily draft coverage here and at 620WDAE.com.All his JoeBucsFan.com draft stuff is archived here. So stick it in your favorites, or hurry up and catch up.
Pawlowski ranks the top 32 players in this year’s draft regardess of position. As always, the fun part with this will be to see how much things move around after the combine. It should be interesting.
Commish’s Board – By Justin Pawlowski
1. Nick Fairley – DT – Auburn
After dominating the National Championship game, Fairley secured his spot atop the Board.
2. Patrick Peterson – CB – LSU
Peterson’s blend of size and speed makes him a unique defensive back. Adds value in return game.
3. AJ Green – WR – Georgia
Could battle for top player in the draft, but there’s no doubt Green is the top offensive player.
4. Da’Quan Bowers – DE – Clemson
Big, physical, and relentless in getting after the QB. Bowers led the nation in sacks in 2010.
5. Robert Quinn – DE – North Carolina
With a great combine, Quinn could overtake Bowers as the top end available. Great pass rusher!
6. Von Miller – OLB – Texas A&M
Miller is probably the best pure pass rusher in the draft. Ideal fit as a 3-4 OLB.
7. Julio Jones – WR – Alabama
Jones is big, physical, and has great hands. Injuries are a concern, but he has the ability to dominate.
8. Marcell Dareus – DT – Alabama
Good fit as a tackle in a 4-3 or an end in a 3-4. Dareus has a nice stout frame with good strength to hold his own.
9. Prince Amukamara – CB – Nebraska
I really like Amukamara’s skill set in man coverage. His instincts are outstanding for a corner. Amukamara is the type of corner that allows you to bring extra pressure.
10. Aldon Smith – DE – Missouri
Smith is raw, but has the ability to be a great pass rusher. Can play in a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense. Smith is an incredible athlete while having a frame of 6’4’’ 260 lbs. Has the potential to see his stock shoot him into the top 10 on draft day.
11. Mark Ingram – RB – Alabama
Ingram is as solid as they come at the RB position. He has great vision, feel for his blockers, and burst thru the hole. Ingram can be relied on to carry an offense.
12. Cam Newton – QB – Auburn
One of the most intriguing athletes in this draft. Newton is big, strong, has a strong arm, has great mobility, and has dealt with adversity well. Plenty of questions surround Newton as a QB.
13. Blaine Gabbert – QB – Missouri
A better “QB” than Newton, but doesn’t have the extras that could make Newton special. These 2 are neck and neck at the QB position. I like Gabbert’s size and strong arm. Gabbert will be under a heavy microscope as teams try to pick his game apart.
14. Cameron Jordan – DE – Cal.
Jordan was dominant at the senior bowl week and really helped his stock. He can play end in a 4-3 or a 3-4. Jordan has more power than speed, but is a very balanced defensive end.
15. Tyron Smith – OT – USC
Not only is Smith the top tackle on the board, but he has the most potential. He played right tackle at USC, but can play the left side in the pros. Smith will need to bulk up a bit, but has the frame to do it easily.
16. Justin Houston – OLB – Georgia
Houston is a tremendous pass rusher whom I think will really open some eyes at the combine. He has great size (6’3’’ 260 lbs) with a nose for the QB. He can play end in a 4-3, but his best position might be as an OLB in a 3-4 defense.
17. JJ Watt – DE – Wisconsin
Watt is big and physical. At 6’6’’ and weighing in at 290 lbs, Watt is an ideal 5-technique in a 3-4 defense. Watt’s strength is his strength and playing multiple gaps.
18. Ryan Kerrigan – DE – Purdue
Kerrigan is everything you look for in a player. He was productive, a leader, a captain, he’s an extremely hard worker, and a very good pass rusher. Kerrigan’s not real flashy, but also doesn’t have many flaws.
19. Gabe Carimi – OT – Wisconsin
I like the physical presence Carimi brings to the offensive line. He could play left tackle, but might be better off at right tackle. For a team who likes the power run game, Carimi is for you!
20. Jonathon Baldwin – WR – Pitt
Baldwin’s name has been quiet early on in the draft process, but this guy is a hell of a receiver. At 6’5’’ and 230 lbs, Baldwin has the size, but he also has great speed to go with that size. Baldwin also does a good job of catching the ball with his hands away from his body.
21. Akeem Ayers – OLB – UCLA
Ayers is a long athlete with good size and athleticism. He was very productive at UCLA. Ayers can play in any type of defense in the NFL, but might fit a 3-4 defense a little better.
22. Brandon Harris – CB – Miami
Harris has a good blend of size with plenty of speed. I like Harris in man coverage and a candidate for a team that likes to blitz and bring extra pressure. Harris can be on an island and succeed.
23. Mikel Leshoure – RB – Illinois
Leshoure is a bigger back with power to burst thru a hole and excellent vision to find a hole.
24. Nate Solder – OT – Colorado
Solder had a very good week at the senior bowl. His height, 6’9’’, worries me because Solder tends to lose leverage.
25. Mike Pouncey – OG – Florida
Right now, I have Pouncey as the top guard in this draft. I do think Pouncey could be an excellent guard in the NFL once he moves away from the center position.
26. Corey Liuget – DT – Illinois
Liuget gets good penetration and disrupts opposing backfields. He has a decent first step. Liuget is a better fit for a 4-3 defense as a 3-technique.
27. Adrian Clayborn – DE – Iowa
Yes, I still have Clayborn in my top 32, but not by much. He’s got a lot of red flags waving, but could eliminate them with a good showing at the combine. Of course, that’s saying he works out at the combine.
28. Danny Watkins – OG – Baylor
I believe Watkins is the oldest prospect in the draft at 26 years old. He’s only played organized football for 4 years, but has developed into a guy with a ton of potential. He played tackle at Baylor, but projects to a very good guard in the pros.
29. Muhammed Wilkerson – DE/DT – Temple
Wilkerson’s flying under the radar, but his big frame (6’5’’ 305 lbs) will surely get the attention of the NFL. Wilkerson played end at Temple, but I like him as a 5-technique in a 3-4 or at DT in a 4-3 defense. Wilkerson has the frame to be massive.
30. Jimmy Smith – CB – Colorado
I love Smith’s size (6’2’’) at the CB position. He matches up well with bigger receivers and does a nice job in run support and tackling.
31. Anthony Castonzo – OT – Boston College
Some scouts have said that Castonzo might end up as the top left tackle in this class. A lack of strength is really hurting Castonzo and really hurt him at senior bowl week. Castonzo has good work ethic, so if a team is patient with him it might pay off.
32. Phil Taylor – DT – Baylor
I view Taylor as the top nose tackle in this class. He is big, mean, and physical. I know plenty of teams running the 3-4 defense that would love just that!