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DraftInsiders.com and ProFootballDraftNetwork.com will be collaborating on a weekly article (posted every Wednesday during the college football regular season) to review the prior weeks most notable performances from a 2010 NFL Draft perspective.
Pro Prospects - Week 5
Photo –RB Noel Devine - West Virginia
Frank Coyle - www.draftinsiders.com
Draft Insiders’ Digest –19th Season
RB Noel Devine - West Virginia
Short explosive junior running back had a strong performance in the WV win over Colorado when he ran for a career-high 220 yards with a TD on 22 carries. He scored the game’s opening TD on a 77-yard run – the second longest rushing TD of his career. In the first half, he rushed for 142 yards on only eight carries. This season, he has scored 6 TDs in just 4 games that probably commands special attention from defenses going forward. He is a compact back who has performed well in a number of roles in the WV attack, filling a Wildcat spot in their offense. He is very explosive through the hole with the lateral quickness and surprising strength that allows him to move through holes fast with the power to break tackles. His lack of size is a major concern, but his speed, quickness and natural running skills make him one of the top playmakers in college football.
RB John Clay – Wisconsin
Big physical third year sophomore running back had a strong performance in the UW win over Minnesota. He is a huge powerfully built back who has performed well since the ’08 season, He is very strong inside runner where he uses his imposing big frame as a battering ram. He has the lateral quickness and strength allows him to move through holes fast with the power to break tackles. He has outstanding size with good speed and quickness that will keep him from the top tier of backs. He is an honest runner with natural skills that will draw much attention over his final season. His early ’09 season fumbling problems were a concern but his recent performance has dispelled those concerns. After a relatively slow start, he is now leading the Big Ten in rushing with 112 carries for 582 yards.
WR Golden Tate – Notre Dame
Quick junior receiver had a career game vs Washington with 9 receptions for 244 receiving yards and an important touchdowns. He was instrumental in the Irish overtime win and displayed fast improving skills at this position. Tate combines natural receiving skills with fine size for the position to become a well rounded pro starter. He has the speed to stretch the field and run after the catch ability to pressure a defense. He had a few touches earlier in the season, but his recent performance looked like a major breakout effort in a pro style passing attack.
DE Greg Romeus - Pittsburgh
Huge athletic edge rusher has displayed excellent ability over his Pitt career. He had a strong effort in the Louisville win with 5 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He makes big plays off the edge, relying on his long reach and quick first step and technique to separate from blockers. He has the power to overwhelm blockers with the upfield speed to pressure the QB with the wingspan to deflect passes. His ability to apply pressure off the edge has drawn rave notice from scouts and he will be watched closely over his junior season.
LB Rolando McClain - Alabama
Aggressive junior defender had a dominant performance vs Kentucky that was instrumental in the Tide victory. Against Kentucky, he registered a game-high 12 tackles (eight unassisted) picked off a pass, forced a fumble and recorded a pass deflection in Alabama's 38-20 victory. His forced fumble led to a 45-yard touchdown return that gave the Crimson Tide a 21-6 halftime lead. Then, his 21-yard interception return on the 1st possession of the third quarter set up another TD. He is a very physical defender with a quick first step and the power to gain a fast advantage to defeat blocking angles. He showed the physical talent to make plays inside consistently and the speed and quickness to make plays at the sidelines. His ability to run very well and drop in coverage at 250 lbs. allows him to be an every down special defender and capable of playing in either pro scheme.
Denis Krusos - Editor
Pro Football Draft Network
TE Garrett Graham, Senior, Wisconsin
Graham led the Badgers in receiving with 7 catches for 68 yards (9.7 per) in Wisconsin’s 31-28 victory over Minnesota. He helped keep drives alive with his reliable hands and fine route-running. The underrated aspect of Graham’s game is his blocking. He is undersized (6’ 3 ½” and 247 lbs) for an NFL tight end, but that does not stop him from being tenacious as a blocker. Graham did a solid job in the blocking department against Minnesota and contributed to Wisconsin rushing for 295 yards in the game.
OT Chris Marinelli, Senior, Stanford
Stanford defeated UCLA 24-16 for their first win over the Bruins since 2003. Their attack again featured a balanced offense (174 yards rushing and 198 yards passing) that wears down opponents. Marinelli is a tough offensive tackle who had a strong game run and pass blocking. The Cardinal offensive line has been a big part of their success (4-1) this year. Marinelli can play more than one position on the line and that will help his chances at the next level.
S Nate Allen, Senior, South Florida
USF forced 7 turnovers against Syracuse in a 34-20 win. The opportunistic defense was spearheaded by their ballhawking safety, Nate Allen. He led the Bulls with 8 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Allen breaks on the ball extremely well and it is dangerous throwing the ball down the middle against him. His stock is rising because a safety that can make a play on the ball is valuable in the NFL.
RB C.J. Spiller, Senior, Clemson
Spiller continues to show this year that he is a big play waiting to happen. Maryland defeated Clemson 24-21, but Spiller had a 92-yard kick-off return for a touchdown and rushed for 72 yards on 18 carries (4.0 per). His kick-off return for a touchdown was dazzling. He has the balance, speed, quickness and moves to take any hand-off, kick or reception for a score. Spiller may not be an every down back in the NFL, but he will be a versatile weapon and a match-up problem for defenses.
CB Chris Hawkins, Senior, LSU
Hawkins had some problems covering Georgia’s talented sophomore receiver, A.J. Green in LSU’s 20-13 win. The Bulldogs’ top wideout was too big, strong and athletic for Hawkins at times. Green’s 16-yard touchdown catch over Hawkins revealed his superior size, jumping ability and the strength in his hands to snatch the ball away from the LSU defender. Hawkins will face receivers in the NFL with a similar skill-set to Green’s. The LSU corner looks more like he will be better in zone coverage in the pros. Hawkins will have to work on getting stronger and being more physical.