Top 5 By Position

April 6th, 2011

Always fine tuning and tweaking his big board (no, not that big board), NFL Draft guru Justin Pawlowski, aka The Commish of WDAE-AM 620, presents his latest top 5 by position for the 2011 draft.

We’re just 22 days from the opening round when the Bucs will be on the clock near the stroke of midnight. Come back tomorrow for another detailed position breakdown from The Commish.


1. Cam Newton – Auburn
2. Blaine Gabbert – Missouri
3. Christian Ponder – FSU
4. Ryan Mallett – Arkansas
5. Colin Kaepernick – Nevada

I finally dropped Locker from  my top 5. He has top intangibles, but his accuracy is just too troubling. That’s not saying that Locker won’t be a 1st round pick, I just have too many concerns. There isn’t a quarterback on this list that doesn’t have a question mark, though. I still think Ryan Mallett is ready to step right in and play and has the best quarterback skills in this draft, but his character may remind people of Ryan Leaf. The safest QB on this list might be Ponder. Of course, that’s saying he stays healthy.

Running Backs
1. Mikel Leshoure – Illinois
2. Mark Ingram – Alabama
3. Ryan Williams – Va. Tech
4. Kendal Hunter – Oklahoma St.
5. Demarco Murray – Oklahoma

Mikel Leshoure just has better measurables than Ingram. Yes, Ingram is a great leader, has great vision, and runs violently, but he’s not very big and doesn’t have much speed. Leshoure’s running style has been compared to Steven Jackson. Williams has injury concerns, but has a ton of talent and has been invited to the draft, which might mean he gets drafted higher than people think. Kendal Hunter and Demarco Murray are the best of the speed backs.

Wide Receivers
1. AJ Green – Georgia
2. Julio Jones – Alabama
3. Jonathon Baldwin – Pitt.
4. Leonard Hankerson – Miami
5. Titus Young – Boise St.

While Julio Jones might have closed the gap a bit, AJ Green is still the top receiver in this class. Jones is fantastic athlete, but his film can be a little inconsistent at times.  After Jones, there is a huge drop off. I really hesitated with Baldwin, but he is a mismatch nightmare for defenses, and I think there will be some team in the 2nd round that takes a chance on him.  Hankerson has talent, but needs to put it all together on the field. Young is the best of the smaller and quicker receivers.  I think Jerrel Jernigan and Randall Cobb are not far behind, along with Torrey Smith.

Tight Ends
1. Kyle Rudolph – Notre Dame
2. Jordan Cameron – USC
3. Luke Stocker – Tennessee
4. DJ Williams – Arkansas
5. Virgil Green – Nevada

If he proves to be healthy at his pro day, Rudolph should be a mid to late 1st round pick. He has a massive frame, good vertical speed, and excellent hands. Cameron, Williams, and Green are all hybrid tight ends that are legitimate threats in the passing game. Stocker is the big blocking tight end in this draft.

Offensive Tackles
1. Tyron Smith – USC
2. Anthony Castonzo – Boston College
3. Gabe Carimi – Wisconsin
4. Derek Sherrod – Miss. St.

5. Nate Solder – Colorado

Smith might have solidified his status as a top 10 pick with a great pro day. He was able to put on weight and still keep his athleticism and technique.  Sherrod is also moving up and very balanced with the ability to play right or left tackle. Carimi is a physical tackle who might be limited to the right side.

Offensive Guards/Centers
1. Mike Pouncey – Florida
2. Danny Watkins – Baylor
3. Stefan Wisniewski – Penn St.
4. Jason Pinkston – Pitt

5. Will Rackley – Lehigh

Pouncey and Watkins are the top guards and both are very balanced and could go in the 1st round. Wisniewski is the top center in the draft and on the fringe of being a 1st-round pick. Pinkston has an offensive tackle’s athleticism with the body type of an offensive guard.  Rackley is the most versatile lineman in the draft.

Defensive Ends
1. Robert Quinn – North Carolina
2. JJ Watt – Wisconsin
3. Cameron Jordan – Cal.
4. Aldon Smith – Missouri
5. Da’Quan Bowers – Clemson
5. Ryan Kerrigan – Purdue

Bowers is falling due to so many questions about his knee.  I’m not gonna drop him from my top 5 completely because of his talent, but I do think he is falling. There really hasn’t been much talk of JJ Watt, but I love his size and athleticism combination. I think him and Cameron Jordan could crack the top 10. As predicted, Quinn has taken over as the top defensive end in this draft.  I still think Kerrigan might be one of the safer picks in the draft.  With him, it’s “what you see is what you get.”

Defensive Tackles
1. Marcell Dareus – Alabama
2. Nick Fairley – Auburn
3. Corey Liuget – Illinois
4. Phil Taylor – Baylor
5. Muhammed Wilkerson – Temple

Nick Fairley’s latest comparison to Albert Haynesworth both on and off the field does have me concerned a bit.  I’m also a little concerned with Dareus.  I don’t think he is as sure a prospect as people are making him out to be.  I like Taylor’s aggression, size, and strength. A 3-4 team with a need for a nose tackle should consider him immediately. I like Wilkerson’s potential, but I’m afraid he’s a little overrated and that Luiget might be the better “defensive tackle” right now.

Outside Linebackers
1. Von Miller – Texas A&M
2. Akeem Ayers – UCLA
3. Justin Houston – Georgia
4. Brooks Reed – Arizona
5. Bruce Carter – North Carolina

The big mover has been Brooks Reed.  His stock has been skyrocketing.  Von Miller’s also had a lot of good pub lately, but I already think he’s solidified a top 5 pick.  Houston might be better as a 4-3 end, but he can also slip back and play outside linebacker.  If Bruce Carter can stay healthy, he is very athletic and could be a very solid NFL linebacker.

Inside Linebackers
1. Martez Wilson – Illinois
2. Quan Sturdivant – UNC

3. Kelvin Sheppard – LSU
4. Nate Irving – NC St.
5. Colin McCarthy – Miami

Martez Wilson is the top inside linebacker with an incredible blend of size and speed.  There have been some rumblings of him moving to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, but I’m leaving him at inside linebacker because that’s where he excelled at Illinois.  Sturdivant has his positives and his negatives, but he is very good in coverage.

1. Patrick Peterson – LSU
2. Prince Amukamara – Nebraska
3. Jimmy Smith – Colorado
4. Aaron Williams – Texas
5. Brandon Harris – Miami

No changes here. I still like Jimmy Smith’s ability despite his major character concerns. Peterson is in a class by himself. Amukamara is definitely the 2nd corner. I took Aaron Williams over Brandon Harris because of his physical play and his ability to play either corner or safety. Look out for Ras-I Dowling to make a late push.

1. Rahim Moore – UCLA
2. Quinton Carter – Oklahoma
3. DeAndre McDaniel – Clemson
4. Deunta Williams – North Carolina
5. Chris Culliver – South Carolina

If Aaron Williams stays at corner, Rahim Moore is the top safety in a weak class. Moore is a good centerfielder, but is not elite. Carter is a big hitter from the safety position and good in the run game. Williams and Culliver should be good against the pass.

7 Responses to “Top 5 By Position”

  1. WeNeedDefense Says:

    no comment

  2. Capt.Tim Says:

    Good list, bit still no love for future Buc Adrian Clayborn?

  3. Pete I Says:

    You are one of the few that still has Akeem Ayers so highly placed, he has seemed to slip a great deal of late based on workouts.

  4. Architek79 Says:

    I like what the Commish is putting out there because he is balanced on most of his approach and that is all you really can do when speaking on a high risk draft process. I also respect him because unlike some other Bucs media outlets (who mocked TE Lance Kendricks) going to the Bucs in the second round when other draft sites consistently forecasted him as a 6th rounder. That stupify’s me! If we can can somehow acquire an extra pick I would love the Bucs to grab one of these speed WRs in the late 3rd round or a speed back that this offense is missing. Taking an subpar TE over a DE in the second round would be catostrophic. Not saying we don’t need a young TE but unless thats a position of strength for this draft, why reach?

  5. Architek79 Says:

    Also I hope that if Tampa can’t get the player they are targeting in the 2nd round I would love them to pick up Aaron Williams out of Texas. He may not be dominant but he is ready to contribute and make plays right away with some NFL coaching.

  6. Capt.Tim Says:

    Bowers pro day probably knocked him down into the late 20s. Talib has affected our board also. Don’t think Clayborn is their man anymore- due to his own Taxi episode. Might be Bowers- but seems to much like The late Gaines Adams. Might be Reed or Houston.

  7. IMHO... Says:

    @ Capt Tim
    Clayborn was never their man and that taxi incident was from 2009. He’s better suited on tha right side, as we are looking 4 pass rushers early. Bowers is an overated pass rusher and looks more of a right side DE as well. I’ll go with Reed or Houston depending on how things play out.