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A Breakdown on each of our Picks

These analysis were done by the scouts at FFToolbox

 

Ryan Kerrigan OLB Purdue 1st Rd. Pick # 16 ESPN rating 92

Defensive end Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue University is a 2011 NFL Draft prospect with tremendous pass-rushing ability who is a bit of a tweener that could ultimately play in a number of positions depending upon which team selects him.

Kerrigan is a relentless pass rusher with very few glaring weaknesses. He has a great frame, long arms and good lateral movement. He can bull rush to collapse the pocket and also has an arsenal of smooth moves to get after the quarterback.

If selected for a 4-3 defense, he will need to add weight and muscle. At his current size, he is ideal for a 3-4 OLB, but will need to learn some finer techniques. He doesn't have great straight-line speed and could greatly improve his reaction time in getting off the line of scrimmage. Once he gets moving though, he is relentless all game long. Kerrigan plays with a violent, tenacious attitude. He is currently tied for the FBS record for most forced fumbles in a career (14).

Against the run, he does a great job holding on the edge. He needs to improve his lower body strength, which particularly shows when he can't find outside leverage against a larger offensive lineman. When forced to run to the sideline he is out in space, so he needs to further develop his footwork and pursuit angles.

Scouts are hot and cold on Kerrigan after a mediocre performance at the 2011 NFL Combine. Some believe he isn't athletic enough to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense and may not be strong enough to play a 4-3 RDE. The bottom line remains his production at a high-level in a quality conference. He was named the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year in the Big Ten for a reason.

Kerrigan projects as a mid-first round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.


Jarvis Jenkins DE Clemson 2nd Rd. Pick # 9 ESPN rating 78

Jarvis Jenkins was a pretty highly regarded recruit coming out of high school, but he only saw limited action as a true freshman in 2007. However, when he was on the field he made a big impact. That success as a freshman led to bigger things in 2008. Forced to play a bigger role due to injuries, Jenkins did not disappoint. He totaled 36 tackles, 10.0 tackles-for-loss and 2.0 sacks.

By 2009 Jenkins was certainly ready to emerge as the star of the Clemson front four. The 6-4, 310 pound defensive tackle had already proven to be a solid run stuffer who can also cause havoc in the backfield. Jenkins had a superb regular season as a junior and totaled 66 tackles, 11.0 tackles-for-loss and one sack. He has consistently gotten into the backfield and has emerged as a great run stuffer.

Jenkins has proven to NFL scouts what he can do on the field, but he still has not gotten much national attention for his efforts. He is not putting up eye popping numbers so far in the 2010 campaign and it was certainly a wise idea for him to return for his senior season. Jenkins should be one of the top ten defensive tackles in this class, but his stock could rise quickly once he gets to show his stuff at the NFL Combine.

3/22 Update: Jenkins had a decent NFL combine, but failed to separate himself from the pack. His lack of quickness was apparent and he has trouble creating much of a pass rush against a decent offensive line. Scouts like his ability to stuff the run and that could be enough to make him a late second round draft pick, but do not be surprised if he slips into the middle of the third round.

Leonard Hankerson WR Miami 3rd Rd. Pick # 15 ESPN Rating 79

Leonard Hankerson returned to Miami for his senior season for a good reason. Through nine games he has ten touchdown catches and is one away from tying Michael Irvin's school record. With presumably four games left, Hankerson should set the record. On top of his ten touchdown receptions so far in 2010, Hankerson has caught 48 passes for 747 yards. Hankerson was not always such a productive player. As a freshman he caught just six passes and the following year he caught 11. Yet, even with limited action, three of those 17 catches went for touchdowns.

It was in 2009 that Hankerson started to grab the attention of NFL scouts. He was the only receiver on the Hurricanes to catch a pass in all 13 games and ended the campaign leading the team with 45 receptions for 801 yards and six scores.

At 6-3 and 205 pounds, Hankerson has the size and strength to be a very productive player in the NFL. He is relatively fast too and can run about a 4.5 40. While there appears to be an obvious top four as far as receivers go in this draft class, Hankerson is slowly sneaking up on players like A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Jon Baldwin and Michael Floyd. If this class was not so stacked at the receiver position, Hankerson would likely be a first round selection. Instead, he should be a steal in the second round.

1/15 Update: With Floyd and Justin Blackmon returning to school, Hankerson may just sneak into the first round. It seems unlikely at this point, but at least Hankerson should be a solid second rounder. Hankerson ended up catching 13 touchdowns during his senior campaign and earning First-Team All-ACC accolades. A trip to the Senior Bowl will start off Hankerson's pre-draft escapade and scouts will like what they see if Hankerson can perform up to his potential.

3/22 Update: Hankerson needed to run a good 40-yard-dash at the NFL combine to prove he had a nice combination of size and speed. He did just that by running a 4.40 40. His speed almost matched fellow receiver Torrey Smith, but Hankerson has a size advantage over the Maryland prospect. It is now emerging as an intriguing battle for the third receiver spot after A.J. Green and Julio Jones. Jonathan Baldwin is the big receiver, Smith the fast receiver and Hankerson the combination of the two.


Roy Helu RB Nebraska 4th Rd. Pick # 8 ESPN Rating 56

Roy Helu spent most of his freshman campaign on the bench. He saw action in seven games and ended up rushing for 209 yards on 45 carries. With Marlon Lucky on the team, Helu was supposed to play second fiddle to the more experienced and proven player ahead of him on the depth chart. While it was Lucky who earned a majority of the starts, Helu outplayed him on the field. Each back carried the ball exactly 125 times in 2008, but Helu out gained his counterpart 803 yards to 517. Helu also reached the end zone seven times and caught 25 passes for 266 yards.

As an upperclassman Helu was the go-to-guy. In 2009 he carried the ball 220 times for 1,147 yards and 10 touchdowns. He even ranked third on the team with 19 receptions. Helu split carries a little more during his senior campaign, but that has not hampered his productivity. Through the regular season and the Big 12 championship game, Helu has rushed for 1,170 yards, becoming the first Nebraska player to rush for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back years since Calvin Jones in 1992 and 1993.

Helu is widely considered a mid-round selection at this point in the process. He is quick and strong enough to endure the rigors of life in the NFL. With a few good workouts, Helu could work his way up into the third round.

3/25 Update: Helu proved at the NFL combine that he has a nice combination of size and speed. He ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.40 seconds and also showed a nice burst of speed. He did not always look great during position drills (which he did again at Nebraska's pro day), but he is a good value in the third or fourth round for a team who needs a versatile back and a kick returner.

Dejon Gomes DB Nebraska 5th Rd. Pick # 15 ESPN Rating 31

 

DeJon Gomes only had two years to spend at Nebraska after spending some time at City College of San Francisco. However, Gomes made the most of his time in Lincoln and emerged as an extremely valuable and versatile piece of the Cornhuskers' defense. At the junior college level Gomes was a fine defensive back and earned some accolades for his play, but his development into an effective playmaker on a strong Nebraska defense was a bit of a surprise.

Gomes did not have much time to waste, but he did not see much playing time early in the 2009 campaign. At first he came in off the bench, but Gomes ended up starting six of the last nine contests. And by the end of the season, the stout Nebraska defense would not have been nearly as productive without him. Gomes finished his junior campaign with 46 tackles, four interceptions and three forced fumbles. His senior year was even more productive. Gomes continued to make big plays, intercepting three passes and forcing two fumbles, but he also turned into a fine tackler and totaled 99 tackles on the season.

Gomes played some linebacker at Nebraska when the situated warranted such things, but his future is at strong safety. However, Gomes is quick enough and has strong enough coverage skills to play corner as well. It will depend on the system, but some NFL team can mold Gomes into the player they want. Yet, that versatility is also a negative as Gomes is not a perfect fit as a strong safety in many systems and that is one reason he will likely not get drafted until the late rounds.


Niles Paul WR Nebraska 5th Rd. Pick # 24 ESPN Rating 67

 

To a certain extent Niles Paul would be a great receiver if he played on a team that had a quarterback that could throw the ball effectively. However, the receiving corps has had more than their fair share of drops. One of the biggest was Niles Paul's drop in the team's loss to Texas this season. He was not the only one though. But because of the system Paul is in, he will never put up big numbers and his draft value will largely depend on the little things and the post-season workouts.

As a junior in 2009, Paul averaged nearly 20 yards per catch and reached the end zone four times. Catching 40 passes for 796 yards is as good as it will get for Paul. His senior season is not going as well and through six games he has caught just 17 passes for 227 yards and one score. In contrast to 2009's impressive yards per reception average, so far in 2010 his longest reception of the year is a mere 33 yards.

Despite all the criticism, Paul is usually a reliable receiver and nobody would be talking about his dropped passes if Nebraska would have beaten Texas and remained undefeated. There is plenty of game tape out there with Paul playing very well and showing that he can be a good possession receiver at the next level. His ability to return kicks and punts adds even more value to his resume, but that may not be enough to keep him in the first two rounds of the draft.

1/17 Update: Paul finished up the 2010 season with 39 receptions for 516 yards and one touchdown. Paul has accepted an invitation to participate in the Senior Bowl and he will need to have some solid workouts to remain in the third to fourth round range; having a nice showing at the Senior Bowl is the place to start. Paul's lack of production as a senior is hurting his stock right now, but he can easily make up for it by April.


Evan Royster RB Penn State 6th Rd. Pick # 31 ESPN Rating 31

Royster is a good, but not great running back prospect out of Penn State. His biggest strength is that he has no weaknesses but he lacks elite speed, elusiveness and power. Royster is a little taller than the average back, but he does all the little things well. Straight line speed is an issue and he lacks a strong burst through the line of scrimmage. The thing to keep in mind about any running back is that they are born, not coached. It's just a natural ability when it all comes together.

He's a tough back who plays hard and is a great competitor. But NFL coaches will be looking for measurements such as 40 time or the agility drills for him to standout. He's NFL-ready in that he's a good pass blocker, he can diagnose defenses quickly and uses his vision to break off long runs. There are no serious durability issues. He could be a workhorse back, but fits best in a tandem as he's never had more than 205 carries in a season.

Last Updated Oct-26-2010 by Matt De Lima

Scouting Report by Consensus Draft Service

Strengths Outstanding size and production at the position. Broke the PSU all-time rushing record in his four years, finishing with three straight 1000-yard rushing efforts. He is a nimble athlete with good balance, and can pick his way through holes and tacklers. Shows some power running between the tackles. Excellent receiver out of the backfield with soft hands and good route-running ability. Willing blocker who is decent in recognizing blitzers and picking them up. Weaknesses Royster plays at one speed. He doesn't have breakaway speed or the extra gear to make people miss. Despite his size, he has a lean lower body and doesn't break many tackles. He's not particularly shifty or quick, and doesn't always exhibit good decision-making on the field. His vision is questionable as he fails to recognize cutback lanes too often. Projection Just not a dynamic enough athlete in a very deep talent pool. With his size and big-time experience and production, he'll get drafted on day 3, but doesn't look like he's got the chops to make it as anything but a reserve back in the NFL.

Aldrick Robinson SMU WR 6th Rd. Pick #13 ESPN Rating 57

Aldrick Robinson has been SMU's big play receiver for the last three years. Other receivers may catch more passes, but it has always been Robinson who makes a majority of the big plays. The 5-10 speedster should have a future in the NFL as a slot receiver. Even as a freshman (when Robinson saw very little playing time) he was still making big plays. He only caught ten passes back in 2007, but those ten receptions went for 166 yards.

It was as a sophomore when Robinson came into his own. Fellow receiver Emmanuel Sanders caught more passes, but it was Robinson who became just the fourth receiver in SMU history to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark. On the year Robinson averaged an impressive 17.7 yards per catch and reached the end zone on 11 occasions. Robinson saw his numbers dip in 2009 as Sanders took on a bigger role, but Robinson still averaged 17.0 yards per catch and had 47 receptions. Robinson saved his best season for last. The Mustangs' passing attack was extremely effective in 2010 and amazingly Robinson was third on the team with 60 receptions. However, he did lead the team in receiving yards with 1,225 and became the only player in SMU history to eclipse the 1,000 yard receiving mark in a season on two occasions. Robinson also added 13 touchdown receptions to his ever growing resume.

Robinson will turn some heads with his speed. That, along with his impressive collegiate production, should get him drafted. However, unless he shows NFL teams that he can get stronger in a hurry and perform well against tougher corners, he will likely stay in the later rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft.

3/27 Update: As expected, Robinson ran pretty well at the NFL combine. He was timed at 4.43 in the 40-yard-dash, which was not his best effort, but obviously not too bad either. Robinson needed to run better if he wanted to move his stock up from the later rounds. He is a proven athlete and a productive player, but he will not be more than a slot receiver in the NFL and that will keep him down in the fifth or sixth round.

Last Updated Mar-27-2011 by Joel Welser
Brandyn Thompson CB Boise St. 7th Rd. Pick # 10 ESPN Rating 33
Rarely does a true freshman see much playing time at Boise State. But Brandyn Thompson was one of just five to see playing time during the 2007 campaign. He was just a backup cornerback and a special teams player who made 16 tackles on the season, but that is quite productive for a true freshman. By the following year Thompson was a staple in the Broncos' secondary. He recorded 54 tackles and picked off four passes, including an amazing three interceptions against Hawaii.

As an upperclassman Thompson took over more of a leadership role. He started all 14 games as a junior and intercepted six passes. He also continued to be a solid tackler and totaled 45 on the season. Most opponents tried their best to avoid throwing in Thompson's direction during his senior season. However, Thompson still picked off three passes and broke up seven more. His tackle total decreased, but Thompson still proved to be a very capable coverage corner.

Thompson has great speed, but he lacks the size and strength to be a great corner in the NFL. Yet, with his speed, he could be a solid special teams player and possibly work his way into the secondary, but that may not be enough to get him drafted.

Last Updated Feb-03-2011 by Joel Welser
Maurice Hurt G Florida 7th Rd. Pick # 14 ESPN Rating 43

Hurt lacks the athleticism to be a starter at the next level, but he is a very strong player that could provide depth. He is thickly built, gets set quickly and uses his heavy hands to jar defenders back on their heels. He flashes the speed to get around the edge when pulling, but he is not athletic enough to consistently make plays in space. He lacks the recognition skills to sniff out stunts and blitzes and he has a tendency to lunge in pass protection. Hurt could be a quality reserve and will likely be a late round pick.

Markus White DE FSU 7th Rd. Pick # 21 ESPN rating 31

Markus White has been a huge part of the success of the Florida State defense during the 2010 campaign. Through nine games, the Seminoles have held their opponents to under 20 points six times. One early test was against the Wake Forest tricky run game and White and the rest of the defensive line did a superb job, keeping the Demon Deacons off of the scoreboard. White started his collegiate career at the junior college level where he dominated for a year before heading to FSU. During his first year in Tallahassee, White tallied 29 tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-loss and one sack despite seeing limited playing time.

In 2009 Everette Brown was off in the NFL and White stepped into a starting role. He did not turn into a major threat to pick up many sacks, but White did develop into a solid run stuffer. With a new defensive scheme, White would be asked to continue to stuff the run from his left defensive end position, but also apply more pressure to the quarterback. That is exactly what he has done. Through nine games he already has a career high 42 tackles and has added 8.5 tackles-for-loss and 5.5 sacks.

White may not even be the most talented defensive end on his team, but he is relatively experienced and a solid athlete. NFL teams would like to see him add some more strength and weight to his 6-4 frame. White has decent speed, but not enough to make up for his lack of size and that will keep him down in the later rounds.

Last Updated Nov-12-2010 by Joel Welser
Christopher Nield NT WVU 7th Rd. Pick # 50 ESPN Rating 31
Chris Neild is truly the unsung hero of West Virginia's defense. The 6-2 nose tackle rarely makes a lot of tackles (nor is he constantly in the backfield), but he is the one pushing the opposing offensive line back. The result is usually a superb front four that Neild creates and his teammates take advantage of by getting to the quarterback. It has taken a while, but over the last two years -- when Neild has been named to a variety of all-conference teams -- he has finally gotten the credit he deserves.

After redshirting in 2006 and primarily being a backup in 2007, Neild stepped into a starting role in 2008 and has not looked back. It was during his sophomore season when Neild did put up some good tackling numbers, ranking first among the defensive lineman with 47 total tackles. He also added 4.5 tackles-for-loss and 2.5 sacks. In 2009 Neild started setting up the rest of the line, especially since he was starting to get more attention from the opposing offensive linemen. He only registered 35 tackles and 2.0 tackles-for-loss, but Neild cemented his status as one of the Big East's best defensive lineman. The story has been more of the same during Neild's senior campaign. Through the regular season Neild has 31 tackles, 4.0 tackles-for-loss and 3.0 sacks.

Neild is just starting to show up on most NFL draft boards. He is a late round selection at best right now, but there is plenty of room for him to move up once teams analyze a little more tape and see him without his pads on. If Neild can have some solid workouts between now and April, do not be surprised if he keeps sneaking up the draft boards and he ends up being taken in the fourth of fifth round.

Last Updated Dec-20-2010 by Joel Welser

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