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Small College Prospects for the NFL Draft 2010
Photo - Vladimir Ducasse - UMass
'The Dirty Dozen' - Top 12 Small College Players
Every NFL club scouts the nation in hopes of landing the next great sleeper prospect in the NFL Draft. The small college ranks has supplied many NFL Hall of Fame prospects over the past fifty years with a litany of stars like receiver Jerry Rice, running back Walter Payton and QBs Tony Romo and Doug Williams from the Grambling and Jackson St. programs across the nation. This year's class will produce several players in the top 100 picks. There should be as many as 20-25 draft selections over seven rounds. It is an interesting group with several blue chip prospects mainly along the offensive line and in the secondary. This year’s group of small college pro prospects ranks among the better classes of the past decade and is especially deep at offensive tackle. The highest rated small college prospect is LB OL Vladimir Ducasse who completed an excellent postseason after a fine stay at UMass. Defensive back Akwasi Owusu-Ansah of Indiana (Pa) carries an NFL starting grade after a strong college career. He ranks among the top defenders from the lower level in recent drafts. The secondary and offensive should provide many draft selections overall in the NFL Draft 2010 once again and the small college ranks should be well represented over the three days. Both the offensive and defensive lines will supply NFL starters while the wide receiver position may provide a few highly regarded prospects.
Note: In recent years, our highest rated small college players were QB Joe Flacco and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and both were chosen in the first round. Each has performed brilliantly over their early careers and key performers in their clubs strong annual playoff berths.
The Dirty Dozen - Top 12 Small College Players For the NFL Draft
1. Vladimir Ducasse - OT - UMass
Big mobile lineman completed an excellent small college career starting at left tackle over his late career. He projects to both tackle and guard with an early starting grade on the inside. He has shown all the necessary physical tools to develop into an NFL starter and is a good athlete with fine footwork and athletic ability. He can be one of the real gems in this class and is similar to the Saints OG Jahri Evans who I loved coming out for the NFL Draft ’06. He is our #1 small college prospect with the talent to start, but needs vital time to settle into a system and position. Within a short time, he could be the biggest bargain in this class on the middle rounds.
2. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah - CB - Indiana (Pa)
Fast athletically gifted small college defensive back had a tremendous postseason that has elevated his stock into the early rounds. He had an impressive performance at the NFL Combine that moved him into the top 100 prospects. He carries an NFL starting grade at cornerback off his fine measurables, skills set and fine postseason efforts. He probably plays in the nickel package early in his career with incredible upside as a starting corner. Blue chip small college corner and an excellent return specialist who should win those roles immediately in his career.
3. Austin Lane - DE - Murray St (Ky)
Tall angular mobile lineman was a dominating performer against a lower level of competition. Though he was not really tested at the lower level, he performed well vs top competition and grades a middle round grade for the NFL Draft. He showed some promising skills with long arms, good footwork, size, bulk and overall strength. He showed the ability to stack with the burst to get into the backfield or chase to the perimeter. He also played outside at end and could project to the strongside spot in both schemes and maybe best suited for the three-man front. He looks like a solid two-way defender at end in 3-4 scheme.
4. Jared Veldheer - OT - Hillsdale (Mi.)
Huge left tackle prospect had a strong finish to his career that earned him honors annually. Jared is a long armed mobile tackle who opened some eyes over the latter part of his career. He is a legit starting tackle prospect with tremendous size, reach, height, footwork and mobility. He usually plays with sound technique in many aspect of play and is one of the biggest sleepers in this class. He could become a real gem in the right situation with further development and refinement of his excellent physical package and skill set. Major sleeper with the talent to become a starting pro tackle with further development and critical time to refine his skill set.
5. Andre Roberts - WR - Citadel (S.C.)
Fast agile small college receiver had an impressive postseason that has him moving up the rankings. At the NFL Combine, he checked in at just under 5’11” and 195 lbs and ran a fast 4.46 time with a 36” VL and a 10' BJ in a fine workout in addition to a good effort at the Senior Bowl that a small college prospect needs to impress scouts. He has shown the separation speed to get behind the secondary and make the big play. He displays very good hands, fine body control to track and adjust to the ball in flight and has been able to get deep and hit the home. Athlete with an excellent combination of size, speed and receiving skills to be a huge surprise in the right offense and fine middle round pick with intriguing upside.
6. Jeromy Miles - S - UMass
Talented small college defensive back completed an outstanding career at the lower level earning CAA honors since his sophomore season. Jeromy is a fine athlete who was a dominant performer at his level of competition making plays in coverage with his speed, quickness and instincts. He has good measureables including size, speed and toughness for the position. He has the skill set to develop further but needs to settle into a defense that allows him to learn a system and more sophisticated coverage vs pro style passing games. He may need some time but could be a huge surprise after settling into a pro scheme. Top-flight special teams defender.
7. Arthur Moats - LB - James Madison (Va.)
Quick rangy senior defender had another strong performance for the tough JM program that earned him first team CAA honors. He has the size, speed, instincts and toughness to convert to the backer role in the 3-4 scheme. He has established himself as a pro prospect using his fine functional strength and quick hands to perform well in both pass and run defense with the ability to hold the point of attack and chase in pursuit. He is one of the better physical specimens among edge rushers in this class with long arms to go with his good speed and fine functional strength. He has the athletic and mental aptitude to make the adjustment up as an attack linebacker and maybe sooner than most think. He has the skill set to be a huge surprise and start fairly soon in his career and be a factor off the edge.
8. James Ruffin - DE - Northern Iowa
Rangy athletic defender completed an impressive finish to his career with a strong performance. He is one of the real hidden gems in this class after a strong career that drew attention from scouts after seeing his fine triangle numbers. He has been timed in sub 4.6 time that would rank with any 4-3 end in this class. He has the speed off the edge to pressure the passer and will warrant a late selection in this draft class. He may be limited to a situational role, but he has the skills to play a key role in passing situations.
9. Clay Harbor - TE - Missouri St.
Mobile small college tight end has improved every season and completed his career with a strong performance including the NFL Combine. He has a quick burst off the line with fine hands and run after the catch ability to be an immediate factor in a pro passing game. He has the talent to fill a few roles including the H back and fullback spots in addition to the tight end positions. He has proven to be a reliable receiver with top hands and the ability to make yardage after the reception. He shows good speed to give a club a threat in the deeper zones. At the NFL Combine, he run a sub 4.7 time with 30 reps and a fine 40” VL and 10’ BJ in an excellent overall workout. Excellent middle round value with the upside potential to become a starter in time.
10. John Skelton - QB - Fordham U (N.Y.)
Strong armed senior QB was impressive over his late career that probably earns him a late draft selection. He displays all the physical talent to become a pro starting QB with a good live arm and the strength and fine throwing technique to earn a #3 role. He has a good delivery and mechanics that allows him to make a quick release to deliver the ball in excellent timing. He has a live arm and gets the ball into tight windows with fairly good accuracy. This guy could be one of the hidden gems of this QB class. He has all the talent and intangibles to become a potential pro starter with development. With time to develop as a passer and learn an offense, he is prospect who is capable of moving up the depth charts over time.
11. Tony Washington - OT - Abilene Christian (Tx.)
Big mobile tackle completed an excellent small college career and shows the skill set to develop into an NFL starting linemen. He can play either tackle spot with the size, bulk, reach and footwork to earn a starting grade in time. He has shown all the necessary physical tools to develop and is a very good athlete with fine footwork and athletic ability. He can be one of the real hidden gems in this class and has NFL starting talent. His serious off the field problems cost him a high grade by most NFL teams, but he could be a major sleeper with the talent to start if given vital time to mature settle into a system.
12. Abe Koroma - NT - Western Illinois
Strong mobile lineman completed a fine career at the lower level after starting at Penn St. Abe will likely be a late round draft selection with the demand for nose tackles and his versatility to play in either front line. He has a wide frame, good functional strength and technique with a strong chance to start as a pro. He has a powerful base with quickness off the snap and sound use his hands to separate from blockers. He is similar to the Tank Johnson in size, athleticism, versatility and experience. Tough, durable lineman with experience in both front line schemes and the talent level to compete for a starting job at some point in his career. Marginal top 250 prospect probably falls to late in the draft off some off the field problems.
Yearbook - Scouting Report
Hindu Theory - Darren Sproles
Photo - RB Dexter McCluster - Ole Miss
Dexter McCluster - 5'9" 170 lbs. - 4.55
Fast electrifying senior scatback had an outstanding career in the potent Ole Miss offense. Dexter is an athletic back with a fine burst of speed that ranks him with the fastest playmakers in this class. He has lined up at several positions especially running back late in his career after earlier starting time at receiver. He is one of the deluxe gadget performers in this class and became popular in the ‘Wild Rebel’ offense. As a runner, he explodes through the hole to the 2nd level with the breakaway speed to score from anywhere on the field. He is a smooth athlete who follows his blockers well, showing the ability to make defenders miss with his fine array of multiple moves. During his career, he averaged over 6 yards per carry lining up both in the shotgun and backfield. He shifts gears well, knowing when to wait to allow blockers to create openings and when to explode through a hole and run for daylight. He is very elusive in space and creates many opportunities in the openfield with breakaway speed to make the big play. As a receiver, he is very quick into his routes and gets open consistently with the sure hands to catch the ball and the running skills to be very dangerous after the reception. He averaged 13 yards per catch, a high number for any running back. He shows fine decision making as a runner with the vision, balance and enough power to run inside. He has the initial quickness to hit the hole with top speed and possesses the ability to make defenders consistently miss in the openfield. He slides quickly along the line and shows the ability to cutback hard and make the big play. As a prospect, he is a very good athlete with big play ability. Over his SEC career, he proved durable despite playing at a mere 170 lbs. and in the nation’s most physical conference.
The Numbers: During the ’09 season, he started every game and rushed for 1169 yards on just 181 carries for 8 TDs and a fine 6.5 yard average. He also added 44 receptions for 520 yards and 3 TDs as an excellent outlet receiver with an 11.3 yard average. He earned MVP in the Ole Miss Cotton Bowl victory. He does have a big upside as a receiver, showing natural hands and nice route running. As a junior, he rushed for 655 yards on 109 carries for 6 TDs while adding 44 receptions for 625 yards and 1 TD. Over his career, he caught 130 passes for over 1700 yards and 7 TDs. Over his career, he had only 27 total returns, but he is capable of providing an impact in that role as a pro. At the NFL Combine, he ran 4.53 and 4.62 times with a 37.5” vertical leap, 9’10” BJ and did 20 reps. He had good agility drills including a 4.06 short shuttle time. He is a tough matchup due to size and versatility but similar to runner Darren Sproles or wideout DeSean Jackson in size, AA, body type and overall LOD.
The Skinny: Athlete with the talent and physical ability to be a big play specialist if he proves durable in the NFL. He has natural running skills that coaches will utilize and create an offensive plan for him to fit. Though much smaller than ideal, he can become a playmaker in the right setting. He needs to make the necessary strength progress and overall improvement to hold up to the rigors of NFL play. Initially as a pro, he has the development to be a good change of pace and 3rd down back. Fast elusive type runner with the instincts and AA necessary to fill a key role as a situational weapon. Marginal top 100 prospect and could go as early as the 3rd round on speed and big play potential. Clubs like the Chiefs, Saints, Broncos and Falcons have on their short list.
Draft Projection: 3rd Round
Draft Insiders' Yearbook - over 400 in-depth Scouting Reports for the NFL Draft 2010 - Available Now!!!!
Top 50 Pro Prospects - NFL Draft
This is an updated Top 50 Pro Prospects for the NFL Draft 2010 post NFL Combine. We will have exclusive reports for subscribers from pro days thru April. We will have further reports prior and during the NFL Draft with critical information that will effect the selection process.
Photo – Golden Tate - Notre Dame
Frank Coyle / Don Hope
Post NFL Combine Rankings * Declared Underclassmen
Pro Prospect / Pos/ School / Ht / Wt / Sp
1. Ndamukong Suh - DT - Nebraska - 6’4” 300 - 4.9
2. * Gerald McCoy - DT - Oklahoma - 6’4” 300 - 4.9
3. * Eric Berry - FS - Tennessee - 5’11” 200 - 4.45
4. Russell Okung - OT - Oklahoma St - 6’5” 310 - 5.1
5. * Sam Bradford - QB - Oklahoma - 6’4” 220 - 4.8
6. * Bryan Bulaga - OT - Iowa - 6’7” 320 - 5.0
7. * Rolando McClain - LB - Alabama - 6’2” 245 - 4.6
8. * Joe Haden - CB - Florida - 5’10” 180 - 4.45
9. * Derrick Morgan - DE - Georgia Tech - 6’5” 270 - 4.7
10 * Jimmy Clausen - QB - Notre Dame - 6’3” 215 - 4.8
11 * Earl Thomas - S - Texas - 5’10” 195 - 4.45
12. * Jason Pierre-Paul - DE - South Florida - 6’5” 260 - 4.7
13 Trent Williams - OT - Oklahoma - 6’5” 320 - 4.8
14 * Anthony Davis - OT - Rutgers - 6’5” 325 - 5.1
15 Taylor Mays - S - Southern Cal - 6’3” 235 - 4.4
16. C.J. Spiller - RB - Clemson - 5’11” 195 - 4.4
17 * Dez Bryant - WR - Oklahoma St - 6’2” 215 - 4.45
18 Sergio Kindle - LB - Texas - 6’4” 255 - 4.6
19. * Carlos Dunlap - DE - Florida - 6’6” 285 - 4.65
20 Brandon Graham - DE - Michigan - 6’1” 265 - 4.75
21 Sean Weatherspoon - LB - Missouri - 6’1” 240 - 4.6
22 Jared Odrick - DT - Penn St - 6’4” 300 - 5.0
23 Mike Iupati - OG - Idaho - 6’5” 330 - 5.2
24 * Bruce Campbell - OT - Maryland - 6’6” 320 - 4.9
25 Patrick Robinson - CB - Florida St - 5’11” 190 - 4.45
26 * Ryan Mathews - RB - Fresno St - 5’11” 220 - 4.45
27 Devin McCourty - CB - Rutgers - 5’11” 190 - 4.45
28 * Jermaine Gresham -TE - Oklahoma - 6’6” 260 - 4.65
29 Charles Brown - OT - Southern Cal - 6’5” 295 - 5.1
30. * Golden Tate - WR - Notre Dame - 5’10” 190 - 4.45
31 Kyle Wilson - CB - Boise St - 5’10” 185 - 4.45
32. * Everson Griffen - DE - Southern Cal - 6’3” 265 - 4.65
33 * Brian Price -DT - UCLA - 6’2” 310 - 5.1
34. * Demaryius Thomas - WR - Georgia Tech - 6’3” 230 - 4.5
35. * Rob Gronkowski - TE - Arizona - 6'7" 270 - 4.7
36 Nate Allen - FS - South Florida - 6’1” 210 - 4.5
37 Dan Williams - DT - Tennessee - 6’2” 300 - 5.2
38 * Arrelious Benn - WR - Illinois - 6’1” 190 - 4.45
39. * Kareem Jackson - CB - Alabama - 5’11” 190 - 4.45
40. Maurkice Pouncey - OC - Florida - 6’5” 310 - 5.0
41 * Damian Williams - WR - Southern Cal - 6’1” 190 - 4.50
42 Daryl Washington - LB - TCU - 6’2” 235 - 4.6
43 * Jonathan Dwyer - RB - Georgia Tech - 5’11” 230 - 4.55
44 * Chad Jones - S - LSU - 6’2” 225 - 4.55
45 Perrish Cox - CB - Oklahoma St - 6’ 195 - 4.55
46 Jerry Hughes - DE - TCU - 6’3” 255 - 4.65
47 * Jahvid Best - RB - California - 5’9” 195 - 4.4
48 Terrence Cody - DT - Alabama - 6’4” 360 - 5.5
49 Ricky Sapp - LB - Clemson - 6’4” 245 - 4.65
50 Corey Wootton - DE - Northwestern - 6’6” 275 - 4.8
Clemson's Spiller and Ford Light up Workout
Photo – RB C. J. Spiller - Clemson
The skilled position players took center stage Sunday at the NFL Combine for workouts and a couple of Clemson Tigers were very impressive at the event. Running back C.J Spiller ran a fine 4.37 time at just under 5’11” and 196 lbs. He will have a complete workout for positional drills at the Clemson pro day in March. His Clemson teammate, wideout Jacoby Ford had the fastest 40 time at the event thus far with a 4.28 time. It challenged Chris Johnson’s record 4.24 time from the NFL Combine 2008. The time by Ford was the fastest by a receiver tying the record for the position for the event’s history. The defensive backs will run on Tuesday and there are a few prospects who will attempt to beat that super sprint number.
Running back Jahvid Best of Cal had a huge workout and one that he needed after a late season neck injury. He ran a 4.35 time at 199 lbs. that was the fastest among the running backs. He was impressive in the positional drills and did 18 reps in the lifting. RB Toby Gerhart of Stanford had a strong performance with a 4.53 time and 22 reps at over 230 lbs. He had a 38” vertical leap and a 9’10” broad jump and helped his cause. RB Montario Hardesty of Tennessee had a very impressive workout including a 4.49 time with 21 reps in the lifting. He had an incredible 41” vertical leap and a 10’4” broad jump that was best among the talented running backs. Ryan Matthews of Fresno St. ran a 4.45 time with a 10’1” broad jump, 36” vertical leap and 19 reps in the lifting that impressed many NFL clubs. He is one of the fastest rising prospects at the event thus far.
Saints March to NFL Title
Photo - QB Drew Brees - Saints
The New Orleans Saints finally reached NFL heaven with a thrilling victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. The Saints marched in to NFL history with a dramatic second half comeback to defeat the Colts 31-17 in Miami. It was the Saints first NFL title in the wild 43-year history of the franchise that included the loveable Aint’s of yesteryear to the team that rallied a city to recover from the horrors after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Brees rallied the Saints to upset the Peyton Manning directed Colts with some late game heroics.
“We just believed in ourselves and we knew that we had an entire city and maybe an entire country behind us,” said Brees, the game’s MVP. “What can I say? I tried to imagine what this moment would be like for a long time, and it’s better than expected.”
“Four years ago who ever thought this would be happening when 85 percent of the city was under water from (Hurricane) Katrina,” Brees said. “Most people not knowing if New Orleans would ever come back or if the organization and the team would come back. ... This is the culmination of that belief and that faith.”
Brees tied a Super Bowl record with 32 completions, the last a 2-yard slant to Jeremy Shockey for the winning points with 5:42 remaining in the game. He went 32 for 39 for 288 yards and 2 TDs while completing 29 of his final 32 passing attempts in a brilliant clutch performance. Head coach, Sean Payton, managed to boil it down to three words: “Brees was magnificent.”
Brees was named the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV after completing a Super Bowl record 32 passes. Of the seven incompletions, at least one was dropped while another was a spike. Two passes went for TDs and he also threw for a two-point conversion. For the postseason, Brees completed 71% of his passes with 8 TD passes and no interceptions while beating three divisional winners – the Cardinals, Vikings and Colts. The Saints trailed in each of those crucial victories by at least 7 points, a first time for the NFL postseason.
For the '09 season, Brees put up incredible passing numbers - a 70% completion rate with 4388 yards passing and 34 TDs and 11 interceptions. His leadership can not be measured as he has become the leader of a team that rallied around him and a city in pursuit of NFL history.
Saints’ coach Sean Payton deserves applause for several gutsy calls over the game especially the onside kick that opened the 2nd half that sparked the Saints’ comeback. The much maligned Saints defense made several key stops with Tracy Porter’s 74-yard TD interception return off an errant pass from Manning clinching the victory for the Big Easy.
For the '09 season, the Saints finished 16-3 overall and won three postseason games after winning only two in their previous 42 year history. They beat Arizona, Minnesota and Indianapolis (16-3) — all division winners — for their first title, scoring 107 points and allowing only 59.
Tebow and Rolle in Senior Bowl Spotlight
Photo - Safety Myron Rolle - Florida St
Senior Bowl Game – Sat - 4 pm Est
Senior Bowl – Game Day
The 2010 Senior Bowl comes to completion today with the All-star classic that NFL scouts will view extensively over the ensuing weeks. There are many high regarded pro prospects to view but none more interesting than Florida’s QB Tim Tebow and Florida St’s safety Myron Rolle. Both prospects have been scouted with a critical eye this week for various reasons. Each of these pro prospects have incredible intangibles to get the most out of their top athletic abilities.
QB Tim Tebow of Florida drew incredible attention over the practices this week and may be the most over analyzed prospect in recent memory. He improved over the week on his throwing mechanics and taking the snap under center. He struggled during the opening workout but displayed a shorter delivery over the week with fine ball security under center. His delivery will be a huge issue in NFL front offices this spring and he will have to show progress in his mechanics and adjusting to a pro set at the NFL Combine to dispel concerns about his pro potential. He is capable of being the catalyst for the South team today.
Safety Myron Rolle - 6-2 / 218 - Florida St suited up for football for the first time since Dec. 2008 this week. He has worked out since Dec. '09 to prepare for this All-star classic. He opted to go to Oxford, England on a Rhodes scholarship the past year to pursue his education. He is the first Rhodes Scholar to ever play in the Senior Bowl. He is a defender who carried a top 100 and NFL starting grade off his experience and athletic ability. He needs to have a good game and postseason to return to those levels. His workout efforts this week showed the talent that made him an All-American, in addition to the smarts to pick up a new system quickly and flash the talent that made him a star defender as a collegian.
Players to Watch
Jacoby Ford - WR - Clemson
Shay Hodge - WR - Ole Miss
Dexter McCluster - WR - Ole Miss
Andre Roberts - WR - The Citadel
Mike Iupati – OG -Idaho
Daryl Washington - LB TCU
Sean Weatherspoon - LB - Missouri
Chris Cook - CB - Virginia
Perrish Cox – CB - Oklahoma St
Kyle Wilson - CB - Boise St
NFL Draft - Mock Draft
Selection order prior to Super Bowl
x - Coin flip at NFL Combine to determine final positions * underclassmen
Photo - OG Mike Iupati - Idaho
Team / Player / Pos / School
1 St. Louis - Ndamukong Suh - DT - Nebraska
2. Detroit - * Eric Berry - S - Tennessee
3. Tampa Bay - * Gerald McCoy - DT - Oklahoma
4. Wash - * Sam Bradford - QB - Oklahoma
5. K.C. - * Carlos Dunlap - DE - Florida
6. Seattle - Russell Okung - OT - Oklahoma St
7. Cleveland - C.J. Spiller - RB - Clemson
8. Oakland - * Derrick Morgan - DE - Georgia Tech
9. Buffalo - * Anthony Davis - OT - Rutgers
x 10. Denver (Chicago) - * Jimmy Clausen - QB - Notre Dame
x 11. Jacksonville - * Rolando McClain - LB - Alabama
12. Miami - * Dez Bryant - WR - Oklahoma St
13. San Francisco - * Joe Haden - CB - Florida
14. Seattle (Denver) - Taylor Mays - S - Southern Cal
15. New York Giants - Brandon Spikes - LB - Florida
x 16. San Fran (Carolina) - Trent Williams - OT - Oklahoma
x 17. Tennessee - * Everson Griffen - DE - Southern Cal
18. Pittsburgh - * Brian Bulaga - OT - Iowa
19. Atlanta - * Earl Thomas - S - Texas
20. Houston - * Jonathan Dwyer - RB - Georgia Tech
21. Cincinnati - Sergio Kindle - LB - Texas
22. New England - * Navorro Bowman - LB - Penn St
23. Green Bay - * Brian Price - DT - UCLA
24. Philadelphia - Greg Hardy - DE - Mississippi
25. Baltimore - Patrick Robinson - CB - Florida St
26. Arizona - Jerry Hughes - DE - TCU
27. Dallas - * Arrelious Benn - WR - Illinois
28. San Diego - Mike Iupati - OG - Idaho
29. NY Jets - Terrence Cody - DT - Alabama
30. Minnesota - Jared Odrick - DT - Penn St
31. New Orleans - * Jermaine Gresham - TE - Oklahoma
32. Indianapolis - Brandon Graham - DE - Michigan