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Tag:USC
Posted on: April 21, 2010 11:41 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2010 5:42 pm
 

The Safeties...

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1.     Earl Thomas Tex – I think that Thomas is closer to being “the next Ed Reed” than the next guy on this list.  He had 8 INTs last year and forced 5 fumbles in the last 2 seasons.  Some say he’s too thin, but he weighed over 200 lbs at the combine.  He blazed a 40 in the 4.3 range at his pro day and that was only a shade faster that what he ran in Indy.  Plus, Thomas seems like a willing tackler to me.  He’s very young and he will keep getting better.  One of my absolute favorite guys in this draft.

2.     Eric Berry Ten – Berry’s another ballhawk.  He looks the part of a high 1st round pick.  But I am concerned with his tackling.  He tends to launch himself at his opponents instead of actually wrapping them up.  That won’t fly in the NFL.  He will improve on this, but I think Thomas is ahead of him at this point.

3.     Nate Allen USF – I’ve only seen a few games in which Allen has played, but he is seemingly getting a lot of attention from scouts.  I never claimed I knew more than they did.  So I think Allen will be a 2nd rounder.

4.     Morgan Burnett GT – Another fast riser.  Could he go in the first round based on his size and his speed?  Maybe.  But I still see him as a mid 2nd rounder.  But he’s better than the more hyped Taylor Mays.

5.     Major Wright Fla – So highly touted out of high school.  Another guy who might have gone higher a year from now if he had gone back to college in 2010.

6.     Myron Lewis Van – He’s projected as a safety because he was a bit slow for CB.  He has great size and was a 3-year starter in a tough conference.  I think he’s underrated.

7.     Taylor Mays USC – I think some team may buy into him as a 1st round pick.  But his poor coverage skills and his bulky size have knocked him down in my book.  He’ll be great running in a straight line chasing the guy who just toasted him on a deep ball though, because he does have blazing straight-line speed for a big man.  That may have been harsh.

Guy who will make a good major league baseball left-handed pitcher: Chad Jones LSU – I’m kind of kidding.  I think there is a role for Jones.  He has impressive size and he had one of the best punt return TDs I’ve ever seen during a game in 2009.  He is a terrific baseball player too.

Guy whom some teams might have rated in the same class (or higher) than Mays: Kam Chancellor VT – He had a nice week at the East-West Shrine game.  He has good speed and LB size.  Speaking of his size, he may actually be moved to LB by some teams.

Another guy who may be moved to LB: Barry Church Tol – One of my sleeper guys.  He’s versatile.

OSU guy: Kurt Coleman OSU – I think he will go in the late 4th or 5th and he will make a team.  He’s a tough kid.

Rhodes Scholar guy: Myron Rolle FSU – another 4th or 5th round guy who will find a roster spot.  Obviously he’s a smart guy, but he also has been away from the game for an entire year.

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Posted on: April 21, 2010 11:36 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2010 5:39 pm
 

The CBs...

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1.     Kyle Wilson Boise St – I first noticed Wilson in 2008, but I really got tuned in to him during the current offseason.  This guy has premiere cover skills and he has shown that against WRs from bigger schools during his regular season career and the ’09 All-Star game season.  While his Jr. year looked better in many ways, His offseason showings have alleviated many of the concerns people had about him.  I have also heard that he has caught the eyes of several NFL scouts recently, causing some teams to rank him above the more hyped, number two corner on my list.  I agree with those scouts, and I’m about to tell you why.

2.     Joe Haden Fla – I like Haden.  He’s a great athlete.  He was a high school QB with his path blocked by a guy named Tebow.  So he moved to CB to fill a Florida need.  Considering his relative inexperience, he’s done well.  But my concern stems from the footage I’ve seen of him allowing too many catches in front of him.  He was initially pegged as a top 10 selection until a slow 40 at the Combine caused his stock to drop.  I think Haden would have been best served to return for his Sr. season.  But I understand that uncertainty about the NFL labor situation probably drove his decision to leave early.  That being said, I think being picked in the 15-20 range, will allow him to develop without the heavy scrutiny associated with a higher pick.  If he goes higher than that, people may be disappointed.

3.     Patrick Robinson FSU – People are all over the map about this guy.  He’s been somewhat inconsistent given his natural ability.  But I think Robinson has the skill set to rise to the challenge.  I won’t be shocked if he is a late first round pick.

4.     Kareem Jackson Ala – A fast riser of late.  He has pretty good size for a CB, but I’m not wowed by the footage I’ve seen.  Jackson though, has experience lining up against some pretty good competition in the SEC.  He could start out as a nickel guy for an experienced team.  I could see Philly or Baltimore jumping on him in round one.

5.     Akwasi Owusu-Ansah Ind (Pa.) – I put him here because he ran a blazing 40 time at his pro day.  He also has skills as a return man.  It seems that occasionally a small school guy like Owusu-Ansah emerges as a steal, so I’m betting on that.  Plus, I am somewhat underwhelmed with what lies beneath him on this list.

6.     Perrish Cox Ok St – He was suspended for his bowl game.  He was banned from his pro day.  He didn’t impress with his Combine 40 time.  But Cox would be ranked much higher if not for some recent transgressions.  Plus, he has been a dynamic return man; a skill that may sway some teams in and of itself.  Some guys can overcome off-the-field issues and I just have a hunch that Cox may be a guy whose play overshadows his questionable attitude.

7.     Chris Cook Va – A big CB with good 40 times.  I think his value has increased because some teams may view him as a safety at the next level.

8.     Alterraun Verner UCLA – Ultra-productive at the outset of 2009, but he fell off as the season progressed.  He had a great pro day though, and that should raise his stock in the eyes of some teams.

9.     Devin McCourty Rut – I’m not sure why so many people are so high on this guy.  He made very few picks and the only thing that stands out to me is the number of tackles he made.  Don’t you want your CBs to make plays on the ball rather than making tackles?  To me, he let the man he was covering have too big of a cushion in too many instances.

10.  Amari Spievey Iowa – What’s that?  I’m letting my Big Ten bias show?  Well maybe so.  But I haven’t seen enough of USF’s Jerome Murphy or WF’s Brandon Ghee to rank them ahead of the Hawkeye.  So sue me.

Guys who could have been #10 on my list: Murphy and Ghee.

Guy who is a sweet kick returner but a so-so at best CB: Javier Arenas Ala.

And this guy went to USC and had a good pro day: Kevin Thomas – Don’t sleep on this guy.

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Posted on: April 21, 2010 11:20 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2010 5:24 pm
 

The DEs...

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1.     Derrick Morgan GT – In this age of 3-4 defenses he is not valued as high as he would have been in years past.  But he can seriously get to the QB.  I think it would be a huge mistake for a 3-4 team to take him and try him at OLB, but it wouldn’t shock me if that happened.  Morgan is the perfect fit for a 4-3 team that needs a dominant pass rusher though.

2.     Brandon Graham Mich – Some have projected him at OLB in a 3-4.  I think he’s be best suited for a 4-3.  Yeah, he’s undersized for that scheme, but so was Dwight Freeney.  Graham has experience at end in the 4-3, so I say leave him there.  And if the right team takes him they won’t be sorry.

3.     Everson Griffen USC – There are questions about his dedication and he seemed to disappear when his team needed him.  But he ran in the 4.6 range and he is a big dude.  In the right 4-3 or hybrid scheme he could thrive.  He’d fit in best with a team that has a veteran locker room with guys who won’t let Griffen slack off.  New England anyone?

4.     Jason Pierre-Paul USF – He is the best D-lineman in the draft when it comes to doing back flips.  Check it out on youtube if you don’t know what I’m talking about.  But this guy scares the hell out of me.  He bounced around a couple of JuCos before landing at USF.  He started half a year.  He had 6.5 sacks, which isn’t exactly Earth-shattering.  He’s a huge risk.  I wouldn’t take him in the 1st round.  But some team will…maybe in the top half.

5.     Alex Carrington Ark St – I put him this high because 1) He’s had a great offseason and 2) He has the size to play end in either a 4-3 or a 3-4.  There is a new premium on guys like this and Carrington will likely get his named called relatively early because of that fact.

6.     Carlos Dunlap Fla – If size and 40 times were the only thing a guy was judged on, Dunlap would go in the top 5.  But teams will shy away in the Goodell age because not only did Dunlap get a DUI before the 2009 SEC Championship game, but because he also was neutralized by blockers at times.  That should not have happened to a guy that big and that fast.

7.     Corey Wootton NWU – Another guy who’d fit in as 3-4 end.  He has injury concerns but he appears to at least be recovering as the Draft looms.

Guys who might be 3-4 LBs: Jermaine Cunningham Fla and George Selvie USF – Cunningham will go way ahead of Selvie because Selvie has run some slllloooowww times in the 40.  But did anyone see Selvie in 2007.  Man, I thought he’d have been a sure-fire 1st rounder back then.  Now, I’m not positive he’ll be drafted.

Guys best suited for the 3-4 DE spot: Brandon Deaderick Ala, Clifton Geathers Scar, CJ Wilson ECU – I don’t know much about any of these guys except that they are big and some teams can use them.  Or at least, some teams will think they can use them.

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Posted on: April 21, 2010 11:10 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2010 5:19 pm
 

The OTs...

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1.     Russell Okung Ok St – I’m hearing that Washington may take Trent Williams from rival Oklahoma because he better fits their scheme.  I think that would be a mistake.  I also am hearing that Detroit may take Okung #2 instead of Ndamakong Suh.  And I think that would be a mistake too (I think Suh is the best player in the draft).  But Okung is the best OT this year and he will be a 10-year starter wherever he ends up.

2.     Bryan Bulaga Iowa – He has a thyroid condition that makes some folks nervous.  That appears to be under control.  He has a “went to the same school as Robert Gallery” condition that makes other people nervous.  I have a newsflash for people: Just because a guy went to the same school and played the same position as another guy, does not make them the same.  To me, that’s just a lazy way to assess things.  Yes Bulaga was handled by Michigan’s Brandon Graham in 2009.  Well, Graham’s a good player too.  Finally, I’ve heard that Bulaga has short arms.  So did Jake Long and Joe Thomas.  They turned out just fine.  And so will Bulaga.

3.     Trent Williams Ok – If not for the freakish Bruce Campbell, Williams may have been the star of the first few days of this year’s combine.  Yes, Bulaga struggled mightily with Graham.  But didn’t Williams also struggle against lesser opposition in the BYU game?  Just sayin’.

4.     Rodger Saffold IU – He has flashed athleticism and versatility since the end of the season.  I think he was overlooked because he played football at a school known for basketball.  Scouts are raving about Saffold’s pass blocking, and since the NFL seems pass happy at the moment, he gets extra points for that in my book.

5.     Anthony Davis Rut – Would be higher but has some discipline concerns.  I know he has big time talent, but I’m not sure about his heart or his head.

6.     Vladimir Ducasse UMass – Small school player who has dramatically improved his stock since the end of ’09 as far as I can tell.  I’ve read that he is a dark-horse 1st rounder at this point.  I think that’s too high, but he can play tackle or guard, so flexibility is a big thing.  He’d be a feel-good story if he could break into that upper echelon.

7.     Charles Brown USC – He might go ahead of Ducasse, and maybe he deserves to.  I admit that I don’t know much about Brown, but I am sure he should be ahead of the next guy.

8.     Bruce Campbell Mary – This year’s combine superstar.  When I saw him run I immediately thought “this dude is going #8 to the Raiders.”  Maybe that’s too simple, but can you blame me after the DHB pick at #7 last year?  Campbell is, by most accounts, maddeningly inconsistent.  If his athleticism can translate to good play in the pros, then I have him ranked way too low.

Small school guy: Jared Veldheer Hillsdale – He’s a monster size-wise.  His competition has obviously not been strong, but I think that can be remedied by good pro coaching.

Guy who did something unspeakable before college: Tony Washington Abeline-Christian – If you don’t know what I’m referring to, Google him.

Guys with cool names: Ed Wang VT and Selvish Capers WVU – The names may be cool, but the postseason has been rough for these two prospects.

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Posted on: April 21, 2010 11:05 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2010 5:14 pm
 

The TEs...

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1.     Aaron Hernandez Fla – I kind of see this guy as a Dallas Clark-type.  Clark is a better blocker, of course, but Hernandez can stretch the field.  Trust me, he made Tebow look like a better QB than he was.  Most people I’ve seen think Hernandez is no better than the 3rd TE available.  But he didn’t have a torn ACL or a season-ending back injury as far as I know.  Plus, he actually played football in real games in 2009.  In my mind, that counts.  Big time.

2.     Jermaine Gresham Okl – He would be number one on this list if not for the torn ACL that wiped out his 2009.  I’ve had a torn ACL, and (while I’m no pro athlete) that is about the worst injury outside of a torn Achilles’ tendon that a football player can have.  At the very least, I believe that this injury will limit Gresham’s longevity.  At most, it will stunt a once promising prospect’s growth.

3.     Jimmy Graham Mia (Fl) – Call me a sucker but I think there is something to this “former basketballer becomes TE” thing.  Plus, the U has a history of producing talented TEs. Jimmy doesn’t have the numbers, but he has the athleticism.  I put him here at #3 on a hunch.  Let’s see if I’m onto something.

4.     Anthony McCoy USC – I’m curious to see if the positive test for Mary Jane hurts his stock.  I don’t think it will, based on recent draft history.  Talent trumps the dabbling in the sticky-icky-icky.  But he’ll already be in the substance abuse program. So only certain bold teams will include him on the board come draft weekend.

5.     Dennis Pitta BYU – He isn’t fast but he can catch and he can block.  I wasn’t initially high on Pitta, but I am skeptical of a TE class that many “experts” think is topped by two guys who missed all of 2009.  I think that moves the very solid Pitta up on the list of available TEs.

6.     Rob Gronkowski Ari – This guy might be #1 on some lists.  But he hurt his freaking BACK!!  While lifting weights!  Everything revolves around the back and he has had back surgery!  And football players need to be able to lift weights.  I see Gronkowski as one of the biggest risks in the draft.  That’s why he’s #6.  He’s got loads of talent, but some guys can’t withstand the punishment of pro football.

7.     Dorin Dickerson Pitt – He’s an athletic freak who played all over the place in college.  I see him as a poor man’s Hernandez.  He has a lot to prove as far as blocking is concerned but he can be an immediate weapon in the passing game.  If the right team drafts him, he could have an impact in 2010.  If not, he could end up on the practice squad. 

8.     Ed Dickson Ore – I should probably have him at least above Dickerson.  But Dickerson’s workouts were so damned good.  Honestly, Dickson likely fits in with more teams’ schemes.  But I’ll stick with my gut.

9.     Clay Harbor Mizz St – This is a small-school guy with a good workout season under his belt.  Teams will like his versatility as a TE/H-back, but he will have to adjust to a much higher level of competition.

10. Andrew Quarless PSU – A lot of talent, and attitude to match.  He has off-the-field question marks surrounding him after suspensions at Penn State.  Plus, he has “GODS GIFT” tattooed on the backs of his arms.  Yes, in block letters, with no apostrophe.  That fact almost made me drop him out of the top 10.  But he’s also got pretty good hands and speed. 

Workout warrior: Jameson Konz Kent – Played a little FB, a little LB, a little TE…he’ll find a role.  Plus, doesn’t at least one guy from Kent make it every year?

Guy whose name I like: Tony Moeaki Iowa – Injuries were a problem in college.

Guy who could move to FB: Garrett Graham Wisc – FB/TE tweener.

Another guy I’ve seen on the rise lately: Mickey Shuler PSU – The other Penn State TE.  He has enjoyed a good offseason.

And another guy for no good reason: Colin Peek Ala – All I can say is that during the BCS Championship Game, Brent Musberger called him a “dandy” TE.  Good enough for me.

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Posted on: April 21, 2010 11:03 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2010 5:10 pm
 

The WRs...

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1.     Golden Tate ND – How can a guy named Golden not be #1 on this list.  He’s similar to Percy Harvin in my book.  Not quite as explosive but no history of questionable behavior either.  He might be the third WR picked after Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas, but I think that’s a mistake.  Teams fall in love with big WRs but Tate was the most effective of the three.  He put up video-game numbers in 2009; and his background as a high school running back makes him explosive after the catch and hard to bring down.  In this age of small, quick WRs like DeSean Jackson, Steve Smith, and Harvin; Tate is at the top of the 2010 class in my book.

2.     Dez Bryant Ok St – I don’t trust this guy.  Maybe it’s because of my Braylon Edwards experience as a fan.  Maybe it’s the unimpressive workout.  Maybe it’s the fact that he missed a lot of 2009 because of a little white lie to the NCAA.  I just don’t see this guy as a team player.  He has the talent (the scouts say he does anyway) but does he have the heart?  I hesitated to put him even this high honestly.

3.     Damian Williams USC – I like his big play ability as a WR and as a return guy.  I m a little concerned because he seems to body catch the ball from the clips I’ve seen.  But I think Williams is a talented and fast prospect with experience running pro-style routes.  He seems to be a forgotten man in some ways.

4.     Arrelious Benn Ill – He had a rough Jr. year.  But he had a guy named Juice throwing to him most of the time.  Benn looked like a can’t-miss in his So. year.  He had a great workout season.  And he was a top-notch recruit coming out of high school.  I like Regus.  He may be the best “big” WR in the class.  Even though I have him ranked below Bryant, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the better pro.

5.     Dexter McCluster Ole Miss – I wasn’t sure to put him at RB or WR.  He hasn’t flashed great speed in workouts, but he is an explosive player. Look at the footage from Ole Miss games.  He was often the best, albeit smallest, player on the field.  I think he is some kind of cross between Wes Welker and Darren Sproles.  Not the receiver Welker is, and maybe not the runner Sproles is, but a terrific weapon nonetheless.  He will make some team very happy on draft day (probably day two).

6.     Brandon LaFell LSU – Not fast.  Not flashy.  Just makes catches.  LaFell is probably underrated by most but he had a very productive career in a tough conference.  That counts for something.

7.     Carlton Mitchell USF – His stock has skyrocketed since the end of the season.  A little risky to me because of the competition he faced but teams are looking at him as a 2nd round prospect.  His combination of size and speed makes that very likely.

8.     Eric Decker Minn – Oh man, he had the dreaded Lisfranc injury in 2009.  But before that he looked like the best WR in the Big Ten.  He is a tall WR with great hands and appears healthy right now.  Don’t sleep on Decker.  His height and hands make him a viable 3rd down threat if he can shake off that injury history.

9.     Demaryius Thomas GT – I can’t trust this guy because: 1) he has limited route-running experience and 2) he has a foot injury.  He just worked out for pro scouts and they said he worked out at “half-speed.”  Are you kidding me?  Yeah he caught the balls thrown his way, but what does a half-speed work-out and a college career running flies and curls prove?  I think people are getting too caught up in the fact that he went to the same school, played the same position, and is the same basic size as Calvin Johnson.  He is NOT Calvin Johnson.  Buyer beware.

10.  Jacoby Ford Clem – I was tempted to put him higher and I know some teams are enamored with his lightening speed.  But his production and small stature would not let me.  Ford has a place in this league as a burner opposite a big play guy.  But he is not the aforementioned Jackson or Harvin.  Speed is great, but it is not everything.

 

 

Guy who maybe should be higher on my list: Mardy Gilyard Cin – Good WR and good return man, but his lack of big time speed has dropped his stock.  I like Mardy, but he seems like a #4 WR at best starting out.  Playing in the Big East is not the same as playing on Sundays, and I don’t see him being explosive enough to return kicks in The League.

Guy who is unfairly compared to Wes Welker because he’s white: Jordan Shipley Tex – Like Gilyard, a slot-reciever prospect.  Not that that’s a terrible thing.  But he doesn’t have the quickness of Welker.  He’ll find a role on some team.

Guy whose production is vastly overlooked: Freddie Barnes BGSU – So productive.  He’s the single-season record holder for receptions.  He’s not very fast, but I think Barnes will emerge as a steal two or three years from now.

Work out wonder who’s flying up the boards: Taylor Price OU –  He was hampered by the QBs that played at OU.  Not exactly a hot-bed of passing game creativity.  Maybe Price was wasted there.  But maybe not.  I’m not as high on him as some others.

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Posted on: April 21, 2010 11:01 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2010 4:57 pm
 

The RBs...

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1.     Ryan Matthews Fres St – I’ve been a Matthews fan since he tore up a tough Boise St. defense in their 2009 matchup.  BSU drove LeGarrette Blount to the point of criminal insanity.  Matthews, meanwhile, tore off 3 TD runs of over 60 yards.  He had over 1800 yards on the season.  I like CJ Spiller too, but to me, Matthews is more LaDanian Tomlinson than Spiller is Chris Johnson.  Maybe I’m wrong.  The good thing about elite RBs is that we should find out fairly soon.

2.     CJ Spiller Clem – He’s not Chris Johnson.  But he’s not Reggie Bush either.  Spiller is the most versatile RB in 2010, a threat to score in multiple ways.  I like him a lot, and I feel he will be off the board before Matthews.  I just think Matthews is more of the traditional 20 carry a game back.  Both guys will enjoy long-term success.

3.     Toby Gerhart Stan – As a Browns fan, I know he’s not Tommy Vardell.  That’s too simple.  White guys from Stanford are not all alike.  Toby has better speed than Tommy.  And better production.  His coach even raves about Gerhart’s pass-catching skills.  Look beyond the stereotypes of the white RB.  Gerhart is a 1000 NFL rusher and a premiere athlete (he played CF for Stanford’s baseball team).  Some team will be very happy with him.

4.     Jonathan Dwyer GT – He’s a bruiser and he’s somewhat slow.  His positive test for ADHD medication shouldn’t hurt his stock.  The system in which he played in college may though.  There are doubts about whether or not he is shifty enough to be effective.  In today’s two-back-system NFL, Dwyer has a place.

5.     Ben Tate Aub – I’ve heard that he runs too tall.  I’ve heard that he might be fumble prone.  I see him as an underrated runner who shined in his bowl game and who took advantage of his off-season workouts.  I think Tate is a hidden gem in this draft class.  He will likely go in round two.

6.     Montario Hardesty Tenn – I’d have him ahead of Tate if not for injury concerns.  But Hardesty did log over 500 career carries at Tenn despite an ACL tear in 2005.   He has good size and terrific speed for his build.  Even though he’s a RB I see his injury history as less of a concern than…

7.     Jahvid Best Cal – Those concussions scare me and I guarantee they scare every NFL personnel guy.  Concussions are a hot-button issue and, unfortunately for Best, he suffered one of the nastiest concussions I’ve seen in a while.  One nasty hit and his career could be over before it begins.

8.     Lonyae Miller Fres St – He would have started if not for my favorite, Matthews.  He’s more of a complimentary back.  But as I said before, the NFL is a two-back league.  I think of Matthews and Miller as sort of a poor man’s Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown.  But without the hype.

9.     James Starks Buf – I think Starks would be higher if not for his season-ending 2009 shoulder injury.  He’s had an excellent offseason to spring him into my top 10.

10.  Joique Bell Wayne St – His relatively slow 40 times have soured some scouts, but his production (albeit at a small school) was through the roof.  Bottom line is I like him, and at this point, it’s kind of a toss-up.

Guy who never lived up to his ability: Joe McKnight USC – touted as “the next Reggie Bush” at USC but he couldn’t match the hype.  But he was productive as a Jr. and he has speed to burn.

Two more small school studs: Deji Karim S Ill – Surprising speed and big time numbers in 2009.

Pat Paschall NDSU – I saw this guy in the East-West Shrine game and he impressed me with his tough running.

Two guys I’d steer clear of: Andre Dixon UConn – Has some off-the-field concerns but runs with great toughness.

LeGarrette Blount Ore – Some brave team will take a chance on this character concern.  He could be a steal if he keeps his head on straight.  Or he could…well, ask Byron Haut.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com