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NFL Draft Top 110 plus, final version

April 24, 2012 by Steel Haven

+Others includes all combine invites (at a minimum)

  Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Others+
QB *Andrew Luck, Stanford
*Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
Brandon Weeden, OK St
*Brock Osweiler, Arizona St
Kirk Cousins, Michigan St
  Ryan Lindley, SD St
BJ Coleman, UT, Chattanooga
Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
Nick Foles, Arizona
Chandler Harnish, Northern Ill
Kellen Moore, Boise St
Case Keenum, Houston
Austin Davis, Southern Miss
*Darron Thomas, Oregon
GJ Kinne, Tulsa
Nick Stephens, Tarleton St, TX
Jacory Harris, Miami, Fla
Aaron Corp, Richmond
Patrick Witt, Yale
Dan Persa, Northwestern
Jordan Jefferson, LSU
Luck and RGII are locked in as the first and second picks. Tannehill is unlikely to fall past the Dolphins and could easily go higher. Weeden, Osweiler and Cousins are all now likely second rounders that could go in any order. The overage Weeden is considered the most ready. Opinions on Osweiler are the most divisive. He is a project with the highest upside and biggest bust potential. Cousins has been compared by some to Andy Dalton. His lack of consistency and habit of turning the ball over at inopportune times makes me personally question the comparison. Of the third day projects Lindley and Coleman have the most complete skill sets. Wilson, Moore and Keenum are undersized winners with the best college resumes despite questionable arm strength. The stock of Foles took the biggest off season hit. Harnish is an athlete that will need patience.

The depth chart is not completely barren behind Ben Roethlisberger. Charlie Batch was recently resigned despite turning 37 last December. A flier was taken on Troy Smith formerly of the Ravens, 49ers and Omaha Nighthawks. The return of Byron Leftwich is not completely out of the question. Rumors of him reuniting with Bruce Arians in Indianapolis have died down since the Colts traded for Drew Stanton. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin reportedly took Cousins out to dinner after his pro day. He is unlikely to be available at 56 and the Steelers aren't going to use that high a pick on a QB anyway. Colbert's past suggests when looking for a project to groom in the later rounds he will focus more on athletes like Harnish and perhaps Harris than polished college signal callers with limited upside. The strategy has never worked.
RB *Trent Richardson, Alabama Doug Martin, Boise St
*David Wilson, Va Tech
*Lamar Miller, Miami, Fla
*LaMichael James, Oregon
*Chris Polk, Washington
Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati
*Bernard Pierce, Temple
*Robert Turbin, Utah St
*Ronnie Hillman, SD St
Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M
*Edwin Baker, Michigan St
Vick Ballard, Mississippi St
Terrance Ganaway, Baylor
Chris Rainey, Florida (WR)
Michael Smith, Utah St
Tauren Poole, Tennessee
Dan Herron, Ohio St
*Darrell Scott, South Fla
*Bryce Brown, Kansas St
Brandon Bolden, Mississippi
Bradie Ewing, Wisconsin (FB)
Travaris Cadet, Appalachian St
Marc Tyler, USC
Jonas Gray, Notre Dame
Fozzy Whittaker, Texas
Davin Meggett, Maryland
Bobby Rainey, Western Kent
*Alvester Alexander, Wyoming
*Jewell Hampton, Southern Illinois
Daryl Richardson, Abilene Christian
Alfred Morris, Fla Atlantic (FB)
*Mike Ball, Nevada
Adonis Thomas, Toledo
Lennon Creer, La Tech
Raymond Carter, Colorado St
Lance Dunbar, North Texas
Richardson has the skills to buck the trend of backs falling farther than expected. Hard to envision him getting past the Browns and Buccaneers. Martin helped his draft stock the most in the post season showing more athleticism than expected. He is a productive, multipurpose back that can run inside, outside and catch the ball. He has the mindset and build despite a lack of height to improve as a pass protector. Wilson is the best pure runner. His lack of versatility and penchant for putting the ball on the turf is a concern. Miller is a home run hitter than can also work the middle. Past shoulder injuries are a concern. Some teams worry the ego of the diminutive James will make it hard for him to accept the complimentary role for which he is suited at the next level. Pead has the ability to be more than just a change of pace back although that is a role for which he is well suited. He is the most experienced returner of the backs. Polk and Pierce are strong between the tackle runners that lack top explosiveness. Polk is more experienced in the passing game. Turbin is also a between the tackles pounder that doesn�t always play up to his impressive straight line speed. He was part of a time share last season after returning from a torn ACL in 2010.

Rashard Mendenhall is a free agent in 2013. Will he ever play another down in black and gold while recovering from a torn ACL suffered in December? He may not despite assurances from Kevin Colbert. Isaac Redman can be counted on as the starter. Can Jonathon Dwyer, John Clay and Baron Batch be relied on as his backups? Colbert has done an incredible job of finding backs in the late rounds and as undrafted free agents as shown by the current depth chart and former starter Willie Parker. Pead was brought in for a visit and could be a late day two, early day three possibility. Having four picks in the seventh round means any project Colbert really likes will not have to be signed as an undrafted free agent.
WR *Justin Blackmon, OK St
Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
Kendall Wright, Baylor
*Stephen Hill, Ga Tech
*Rueben Randle, LSU
*Alshon Jeffery, S Carolina
*Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers
AJ Jenkins, Illinois
Brian Quick, Appalachian St
*Chris Givens, Wake Forest
Marvin Jones, Cal
Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
TY Hilton, Fla International
Joe Adams, Arkansas
Greg Childs, Arkansas
Juron Criner, Arizona
Rishard Matthews, Nevada
Nick Toon, Wisconsin
Jarius Wright, Arkansas
*Tommy Streeter, Miami, Fla
Keshawn Martin, Michigan St
Marvin McNutt, Iowa
DeVier Posey, Ohio St
Junior Hemingway, Michigan
*Eric Page, Toledo
Devon Wylie, Fresno St
Dwight Jones, UNC
Travis Benjamin, Miami, Fla
Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M
Danny Coale, Va Tech
Jordan White, Western Mich
Marquis Maze, Alabama
Gerrell Robinson, Arizona St
BJ Cunningham, Michigan St
Tim Benford, Tenn Tech
TJ Graham, NC St
Toney Clemons, Colorado
Cody Pearcy, Huntington, AL
Derek Moye, Penn St
Lance Lewis, E Carolina
Dale Moss, SD St
Lavon Brazill, Ohio
James Rodgers, Oregon St
Julian Talley, UMass
Brandon Carswell, USC
Patrick Edwards, Houston
Jarrett Boykin, Va Tech
Jermaine Kearse, Washington
Chris Owusu, Stanford
Josh Cooper, OK St
Kashif Moore, UConn
Jerrell Jackson, Missouri
Darius Hanks, Alabama
Blackmon was a man amongst boys last season albeit for the most part against substandard Big 12 defenses. What I would consider over analysis has some now questioning whether he is the top receiver in the class. Floyd did have a nice post season perhaps most importantly in interviews reportedly alleviating concerns about multiple DUI charges. I still can't see an argument for rating him higher than Blackmon. Wright's slow 40 time at the combine is being attributed by some to a hand twitch triggering the automatic timing mechanism before he started running. Others chief among them Nolan Nawrocki of PFW are claiming he is out of shape and carries a third round grade from some teams. Game tape and his pro day performance belie the most pessimistic prognostications. Size is the real issue. Hill is a freak athlete like fellow Rambling Wreck alumnus Demaryius Thomas. Also like Thomas he is raw coming out of an option offense. Randle's production was held back by poor QB play. His ability to separate could get him picked higher than expected. The inability to separate has the stock of Jefferies and Sanu in slight decline. The quick, confident Jenkins was a top recruit that played as a true freshman and improved markedly as a junior and senior. Quick is his school�s career leader in receptions, receiving yards and TD catches. His greatest assets are height, wingspan, vertical leap and straight line speed. Givens is a polished route runner and natural receiver without eye popping athleticism. Possession receiver Jones improved his stock by showing more speed than expected at the Senior Bowl. Broyles ran a 4.6 40 a mere five months after tearing his ACL. The all time leader in career receptions at the college level is back in the top 110. Hilton and Adams are undersized playmakers limited to the slot. Hilton and Page are the top dual return men. Adams would contribute as a punt returner. The tall, rangy Childs has bolstered his stock in the post season showing he is completely recovered from a torn patella tendon late in 2010.

Resigning Jerricho Cotchery provides some insurance. Expect a mid-to-late round pick to be used on this position at the least due to the injury concerns surrounding Emmanuel Sanders, contract situation of Mike Wallace, retirement of Hines Ward and release of Arnaz Battle. Hill, Hilton, Childs, Martin and Clemons all made official visits. Using a mid-rounder on Hilton, Childs, Martin or someone else with a similar draft grade is definitely possible. Taking a late round flier on someone like Clemons seems even more probable. The first rounder being used on Hill or another top prospect is the most unlikely scenario especially considering the depth at receiver in this draft class.
TE Coby Fleener, Stanford *Dwayne Allen, Clemson *Orson Charles, UGa
Ladarius Green, UL Lafayette
Michael Egnew, Missouri
James Hanna, Oklahoma
Adrien Robinson, Cincinnati
Deangelo Peterson, LSU
Taylor Thompson, SMU (DE)
Evan Rodriquez, Temple (FB)
Emil Igwenagu, UMass (FB)
Nick Provo, Syracuse
Kevin Kroger, Michigan
Derek Carrier, Beloit, WI
Matt Veldman, North Dakota St
George Bryan, NC St
Corey Harkey, UCLA
Brian Linthicum, Michigan St
Phil Supernaw, Ouachita Baptist, AR
Rhett Ellison, USC (FB)
Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern (FB)
David Paulson, Oregon (FB)
Garrett Celek, Michigan St
Beau Reliford, Fla St
Chase Ford, Miami, Fla
Tyler Urban, West Va
Andrew Szczerba, Penn St
The success of the Patriots� two TE sets has this position back in vogue. Unfortunately this is an extremely week draft class. Fleener presents size, speed matchup problems for defensive backs and linebackers in coverage. He needs a lot of work as a blocker. Allen is the best traditional all purpose TE. Charles came out early projecting as a Dallas Clark type move TE. He has disappointed in the post season and a DUI in March could drop him to the end of day two if not later. Green and Egnew like Fleener provide a mismatch in the passing game. Both are raw. Hanna and Robinson blew up in the post season after being under-utilized in the passing game. Their well rounded games could conceivably get them picked before the more one dimensional Green, Egnew and even Charles. Thompson wasn't utilized at all by June Jones in the run and shoot starting 43 games at DE. His eye-popping post season workouts including pass catching drills have put him on the draft radar. Harkey is a pure blocker that could go earlier than expected to fill a role.

Leonard Pope followed Todd Haley from Arizona to Kansas City and now Pittsburgh. His addition along with the resigning of David Johnson makes the selection of a TE less off a priority. Do visits from Green, Egnew and Robinson signal that Todd Haley wants to integrate a more explosive playmaker at the position into the lineup? The idea is not preposterous especially considering the lack of depth at receiver. H-back prospect Paulson also came to Pittsburgh.
OT *Matt Kalil, USC
*Riley Reiff, Iowa
*Jonathon Martin, Stanford
Mike Adams, Ohio St
*Bobbie Massie, Mississippi
Mitchell Schwartz, California
Donald Stephenson, Oklahoma
Brandon Mosely, Auburn (OG)
Zebrie Sanders, Fla St
Tom Compton, S Dakota
Matt Reynolds, BYU
Matt McCants, UAB
Andrew Datko, Fla St
Nate Potter, Boise St (OG)
Markus Zusevics, Iowa
Lamar Holmes, Southern Miss
Jeff Adams, Columbia
Marcel Jones, Nebraska
Levy Adcock, OK St (OG)
Dustin Waldron, Portland St
Bradley Sowell, Mississippi
Bryce Harris, Fresno St
Kevin Harper, Harvard
Paul Cornick, N Dakota St
John Cullen, Utah
Josh Oglesby, Wisconsin
Taylor Dever, Notre Dame
Justin Anderson, UGa
AJ Greene, Auburn
James Carmon, Mississippi St
Landon Walker, Clemson
Kalil is unquestionably the top LT prospect and likely third pick. The stock of Reiff and Martin has been in steady decline. Reiff because his short arms and lack of top athleticism has some fearing he will be the next Robert Gallery forcing a move inside. Martin due to poorer than expected measurables and post season workouts. What is often not pointed out in Reiff's case are that his arms are almost an inch longer than those of Browns franchise LT Joe Thomas. Adams is an inconsistent project with incredible length and agility. Early momentum built up during Senior Bowl week has petered out. Red flags are a failed drug test at the combine which is just incredibly stupid in addition to suspensions in both �10 and �11. Massie�s stock has steadily climbed. Some believe he has the ability to step in immediately on the right side and eventually move to the left side. Schwartz showed enough athleticism during Senior Bowl week to stay at LT. Stephenson is a wild card with the ability to play on the left side. He led all tackles in the vertical jump (35.5�) and broad jump (9�6�) at the combine while running a sub-5 40. Alas he was suspended for the entire �09 season, failed multiple drug tests and been arrested several times. Mosely is a raw, somewhat limited right side mauler that could move inside. Sanders is a dedicated worker lacking top athleticism best suited for the right side in a zone blocking scheme after starting 50 games at Florida.

This is the Steelers area of greatest need. Max Starks tore an ACL in the playoff debacle and his past failures to stay in shape while rehabbing are not a good sign. He still may eventually be brought back depending on the level of desperation. Marcus Gilbert is expected to move to the left side out of necessity after an up and down rookie campaign. Counting on Willie Colon on the right side after he missed two full seasons due to injury seems foolish at best. There may be no choice besides giving a roster spot to overmatched journeyman Jonathan Scott despite his counting a ridiculous $2.2M against the cap. Adams, Massie and Schwartz made official visits to the South Side complex. Adams athleticism reportedly intrigues the coaches and front office. Would they overlook his off the field foibles? No one can deny their well known love affair with Buckeyes. I personally wouldn�t mind a swing for the fences on a high upside project like Adams of Columbia for the practice squad with one of the extra seventh rounders. Alas the past suggests if a top prospect isn�t taken at tackle a seventh round pick will be utilized on a solid citizen, team leader type from a BCS conference that lacks top athleticism.
OG *David DeCastro, Stanford
Cordy Glenn, UGa (OT)
Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
Amini Silatolu, Midwestern St (OT)
Jeff Allen, Illinois (OT)
Brandon Brooks, Miami, OH
Kelechi Osemele, Iowa St (OT)
James Brown, Troy (OT)
Tony Bergstrom, Utah (OT)
*Brandon Washington, Miama, Fla
Josh Leribeus, SMU (C)
Joe Looney, Wake Forest
Lucas Nix, Pittsburgh
Senio Kelemete, Washington (OT)
Ronald Leary, Memphis (OT)
Desmond Wynn, Rutgers
Ryan Miller, Colorado
Jaymes Brooks, Va Tech
Adam Gettis, Iowa
Andrew Tiller, Syracuse
Rokevious Watkins, S Carolina
Antoine McClain, Clemson
Blake DeChristopher, Va Tech
Gino Gradkowski, Delaware
Kelvin Beachum, SMU (OT)
Chandler Burden, Kentucky
Rishaw Johnson, California, PA
Derek Dennis, Temple
Johnnie Troutman, Penn St
Mark Asper, Oregon
Stephen Good, Oklahoma
Jeremiah Warren, South Fla
DeCastro is an immediate starter that barring unforeseen circumstances should go to multiple Pro Bowls. The only reason he won�t be selected in the top ten picks is that teams do not like to use high choices on interior offensive lineman. The huge Glenn showed the athleticism to stick at tackle, perhaps even on the left side. He still might be best off moving inside. Zeitler and Silatolu are maulers steadily moving up draft boards. Silatolu is being compared to Cowboy great Larry Allen and former first rounder Mike Iuputi. He could legitimately stick at OT. Allen was a lightly recruited four year starter that lined up at LT the last three seasons. He is strong at the point of attack and should benefit from a move inside. Brooks is a powerful short area blocker that will likely be the first player picked that wasn�t invited to the combine. He tested much better at his pro day than most expected. The somewhat inconsistent Osemele started 43 games total, 38 at LT. He has the length and power to physically dominate either inside or on the right outside when properly motivated. The Godfather of Soul improved a bit transitioning inside at the Senior Bowl after struggled at first. He started 38 games at LT and is naturally light on his feet with long arms despite measuring slightly less than 6�4�. Bergstrom is an overage prospect that served a two year religious mission after high school. He was a 37 game starter at RT that could stick outside or move inside. Washington came out early because of his family situation. He was a top recruit with the reputation of being a hard worker that will need to improve his technique as a pass blocker.

Chris Kemoeatu was mercifully released. The decline in his play was alarming. Ramon Foster and Doug Legursky are adequate. Resigning Trai Essex provides a modicum of depth. An upgrade would definitely be welcome by both Ben Roethlisberger and the running backs. Should DeCastro slip into the late teens a trade up would have to be seriously contemplated. Silatalu, Brooks and possible seventh round project Beachum visited Pittsburgh. If an offensive lineman is not picked on the first day then a guard that can contribute immediately is more likely to be selected than a tackle on the second day barring a trade up in the second round because of the depth of the interior line class.
OC *Peter Konz, Wisconsin (OG)   Phillip Blake, Baylor
Ben Jones, UGa
David Molk, Michigan
Michael Brewster, Ohio St
Quentin Saulsberry, Mississippi St
Garth Gerhart, Arizona St
Ryan Lee, Furman
Moe Petrus, UConn
Rodney Austin, Elon
Grant Garner, OK St
Scott Wedige, Northern Ill
William Vlachos, Alabama
Konz is intelligent and dedicated. Durability is his biggest issue after missing time with a myriad of unrelated injuries the last three seasons. He has the size to play guard although it would be a waste of his talents. His ability to co-ordinate a line on the field is more important than any physical attribute. Canadian Blake started all 38 games of his major college career. He has the ability to physically dominate. His dedication to becoming his best has been questioned. The undersized Jones would need to be protected by dominant guards in the right system. Molk makes Konz seem perfectly healthy. He has the skills to contribute if he can stay on the field

There are worse ideas than adding depth late behind the injury prone Maurkice Pouncey. Of course adding a guard so Doug Legursky could move inside if Pouncey misses time would solve the same purpose.
DT *Fletcher Cox, Mississippi St (DE)
*Dontari Poe, Memphis (NT)
*Michael Brockers, LSU
*Jerel Worthy, Michigan St
Devon Still, Penn St
Kendall Reyes, UConn (DE)
Brandon Thompson, Clemson (NT)
Derek Wolfe, Cincinnati (DE)
Mike Martin, Michigan (NT)
Alameda Ta�amu, Washington (NT)
Josh Chapman, Alabama (NT)
Akiem Hicks, Regina, Can (DE)
*Marcus Forston, Miami, Fla
Kheeston Randall, Texas
Loni Fangupo, BYU (NT)
Mike Daniels, Iowa
Jaye Howard, Florida
Vaughn Meatoga, Hawaii
Rennie Moore, Clemson
Markus Kuhn, NC St
Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, Baylor (NT)
Chas Alexcih, Pittsburgh (DE)
DaJohn Harris, USC
John Hughes, Cincinnati (NT)
Travian Robertson, S Carolina
Chigbo Anunoby, Morehouse, GA
Myles Wade, Portland St
DeAngelo Tyson, UGa (DE)
Tydreke Powell, UNC
Dominique Hamilton, Missouri
Christian Tupou, USC
JR Sweezy, NC St
Micanor Regis, Miami, Fla
Cox is a powerful, explosive difference maker that fits as a 4-3 tackle or 3-4 end. His production and every down effort set him apart. Anyone following the draft process at all knows Poe blew up the combine. Inconsistent production on game tape is the issue. Is the lack of top coaching, scheme and surrounding talent level in a moribund college program to blame? Brockers is a work in progress entering the draft as a redshirt sophomore. His combination of agility, explosiveness and power is intriguing despite a relative lack of experience. Worthy has a quick first step and the ability to blow up plays in the backfield. He fits best as a 4-3 tackle. Still was a top recruit that dominated as a senior as the walls caved in around him in State College after being inconsistent earlier in his career. Lack of depth kept him on the field for basically every down last season. The technically sound Reyes is an athletic, quick footed behind the line disrupter. Both Still and Reyes are scheme versatile. The intelligent, hard working Thompson is a slightly undersized interior run stuffer that could also possibly swing to end in a 3-4 despite a lack of length. Wolfe is a relentless overachiever lacking the athleticism of the other top prospects. He fits best as a 5-tecnique 3-4 end. Martin is a disruptive presence inside that makes up for a lack of height with a tenacious wrestler�s mentality. He put up 36 bench press reps at the combine and would fit in certain schemes on the nose that prize penetration over tying up multiple blockers such as the Cowboys and Texans. Scouts reportedly worry the huge, weight room strong Ta�Amu doesn�t always give consistent effort. His performance at the Senior Bowl helped his cause. Chapman played the second half of the season with a torn ACL. He is a Joel Steed like two down run stuffer.

Casey Hampton turns 35 before the start of the season and suffered a torn ACL in the playoff game. His not being released for cap relief was an upset. Counting on him this season is problematic at best. Counting on him much longer than this season seems ridiculous. Chris Hoke retired after a workmanlike career as Hampton�s backup. Steve McLendon held up OK when pressed into service in the middle last season due to injuries. He is miscast as a full time interior lineman, best suited as a complimentary backup that can also swing out to end. Among NT prospects Poe, Fangupo and Hughes came for a visit. Poe would be hard to pass up if he fell to 24. The overage Fangupo is an interesting story ending up at BYU for his senior season after a two year religious mission, year at the JUCO level and career at USC ruined by injuries. He has the bulk and power to hold up inside in Dick LeBeau�s scheme. Hughes is a project that is borderline draftable, someone needs to be picked with the four seventh rounders. Prospective ends Wolfe and Hicks also came to Pittsburgh. Wolfe�s stock is on the rise with Mel Kiper actually including him in the first round of a version of his mock draft. Hicks is a project that had a solid week at the Shrine Bowl. He was an LSU recruit that could not gain admission and ended up playing college ball in Canada after going the JUCO route.
DE Quinton Coples, UNC (DT)
*Chandler Jones, Syracuse (OLB)
Courtney Upshaw, Alabama (OLB)
*Nick Perry, USC (OLB)
Andre Branch, Clemson (OLB)
Vinny Curry, Marshall (OLB)
Tyrone Crawford, Boise St
Cam Johnson, UVa (OLB)
Billy Winn, Boise St (DT)
Jared Crick, Nebraska (DT)
Trevor Guyton, California (DT)
Malik Jackson, Tennessee (DT)
*Olivier Vernon, Miami, Fla (OLB)
Frank Alexander, Oklahoma
Jack Crawford, Penn St
Jake Bequette, Arkansas
Jacquies Smith, Missouri
Tim Fugger, Vanderbilt
Scott Solomon, Rice
Jamie Blatnick, OK St
Derrick Shelby, Utah
Jamaar Jarrett, Arizona St
Matt Conrath, UVa
Ryan Van Bergen, Michigan
Ernest Owusu, California
*Donte Paige-Moss, UNC (OLB)
Brett Roy, Nevada (DT/OLB)
Josue Ortiz, Harvard
Kaelin Burnett, Nevada
Justin Francis, Rutgers
Julian Miller, West Va (OLB)
Kourtnei Brown, Clemson
Jacob Lattimer, Iowa St
The class of edge rushers is deep and talented. I tried to go with the general consensus in placing players as ends or outside linebackers in these rankings. The line seems to get blurrier every draft. Coples is a top five talent athletically facing questions about his dedication and motor much like fellow Tar Heels alumnus Julius Peppers back in 2002. Peppers overcame the concerns and was the second pick. Coples is expected to drop into the teens. No one should be shocked if he is bypassed by Jones on Thursday night. Jones somewhat surprisingly came out early despite missing five games last season due to a knee injury. His length, athleticism and pedigree reportedly have caught the eye of a number of teams. He is scheme versatile with the ability to stand up outside or rush the passer with his hand on the ground from any place on the line. Jones� brother Art was drafted by the Ravens and other brother Bones is already an MMA legend at 25. Upshaw�s lack of length and top measurables have many questioning his ability to stand up in a 3-4 defense despite his experience in Nick Saban�s pro style 3-4. His production is hard to ignore. Perry prefers to play with his hand on the ground in a 4-3 and has limited experience in space. His natural athleticism could be too much for 3-4 teams to ignore if he falls to the end of the first round. Branch and Curry are both relentless pass rushers that would be projects in a 3-4. The Canadian Crawford played two years at the JUCO level and has been moving up draft boards after starting the process as somewhat of an unknown. He has been lauded for his tenacity and work ethic. Johnson is an edge rush prospect that could play standing up or with his hand on the ground. Crawford�s teammate Winn rebounded at his pro day after subpar performances at the Senior Bowl and combine. A torn pectoral muscle ended Crick�s season in October. He has the ability to hold the point of attack and the frame to add bulk. Crick, Crawford and Winn all possess versatility projecting as strong side ends that can move inside on passing downs in a 4-3 with the frames to add bulk and be developed as 5-tecnique run stuffers in a 3-4. Guyton is an experience 3-4 end from a program that has recently produced Cameron Jordan, Tyson Alualu and Brandon Mebane. Jackson was a top recruit that originally attended USC. He looks miscast inside and appears best suited as a 4-3 strong side end. Vernon came out early despite being suspended for the first six games for accepting improper benefits. He has the tools to sneak into the second day.

Perry, Branch, Johnson, and Vernon all visited the South Side complex. Even conceding James Harrison is starting to slow down the number of outside linebackers coming to town was a bit surprising with LaMarr Woodley, Jason Worilds and Chris Carter also on the depth chart. Then again the defense revolves around explosive playmaking on the edge. Given other needs a late day two, early day three pick being used on someone like Johnson or Vernon seems more likely than a first or second rounder being used on the position. The again if someone like Branch drops into the Steelers lap in the second round all bets are off.
ILB *Luke Kuechly, Boston College
*Dont'a Hightower, Alabama (OLB)
Mychal Kendricks, Cal   Keenan Robinson, Texas (OLB)
Audie Cole, NC St
James-Michael Johnson, Nevada
Tank Carder, TCU (OLB)
Kyle Wilber, Wake Forest (OLB)
Vontaze Burfict, Arizona St
Jerry Franklin, Arkansas
Chris Galippo, USC
Shawn Loiseau, Merrimack, MA
Najee Goode, West Va
Tahir Whitehead, Temple
Caleb McSurdy, Montana
DJ Holt, California
Noah Keller, Ohio
Cameron Collins, Colorado St
Steven Johnson, Kansas
The consistent, productive Kuechly tested better athletically in the post season than expected. He is a legitimate option for the Chiefs and Seahawks at 11 and 12 despite playing a position that usually does not warrant that high a pick. He could slide if they both pass on him due to team needs. Hightower is a thumper with intelligence, a strong work ethic and leadership skills. His recovery from a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus in 2009 appears complete with no red flags. The undersized playmaking Kendricks has the vertical leap and long jump of a bigger man. The versatile Robinson fits best in a 4-3 either on the inside or strong side excelling more in coverage than rushing the passer. He�d contribute immediately on special teams.

James Farrior was Kevin Colbert�s best ever veteran free agent signing. The time was right to part ways with him as much because of deteriorating play as to free up cap room. Veteran Larry Foote provides a fallback next to Lawrence Timmons if an upgrade isn�t added and Stephenson Sylvester proves to not be up to the task. Hightower and Kendricks both came to Pittsburgh for an official visit.
OLB Melvin Ingram, S Carolina (DE)
*Whitney Mercilus, Illinois (DE)
Shea McClellin, Boise St (DE)
Lavonte David, Nebraska
Zach Brown, UNC
Bobby Wagner, Utah St (ILB)
Bruce Irvin, West Va (DE)
*Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma (DE)
DeMario Davis, Arkansas St
Sean Spence, Miami, Fla (ILB)
*Jonathon Massaquoi, Troy (DE)
*Terrell Manning, NC St
Miles Burris, SD St
Nigel Bradham, Fla St
Josh Kaddu, Oregon
Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
Emmanuel Acho, Texas (ILB)
Brandon Lindsey, Pittsburgh
Danny Travathan, Kentucky
Tyler Nielsen, Iowa
Alex Hoffman-Ellis, Washington St
Darius Fleming, Notre Dame
Jerrell Harris, Alabama (ILB)
Brandon Marshall, Nevada
Ryan Baker, LSU
Nathan Stupar, Penn St
Adrian Robinson, Temple
Braylon Broughton, TCU
Korey Toomer, Idaho
Ingram is an athletic, active playmaker that looks like a perfect fit as a 3-4 OLB despite a lack of prototypical height. Somewhat surprisingly he started only a pair games before his senior season despite playing in 39 contests as an underclassman. His experience rushing the passer from anywhere on the line of scrimmage provides an added benefit. The long, athletically gifted Mercilius is the son of Haitian immigrants and got a late start on the football field. He basically came out of nowhere as a junior to win the Ted Hendricks award as the nation�s top DE and then decided to declare early. McClellin is a versatile, high motor edge player renowned for his toughness and field awareness. He could legitimately crack the top 20 if a team falls in love with his makeup. David, Brown and Wagner fit best in a 4-3 although they could conceivably all move inside in a 3-4. The undersized David is an instinctive every down backer. Brown is an athletically gifted project with a reputation for shying away from contact. Wagner was voted outstanding player for the North at the Senior Bowl and put on an eye popping performance at his pro day after missing the combine due to pneumonia. Irvin is a raw athlete that was academically ineligible in HS and dropped out before getting his GED. He was utilized almost exclusively as an edge rusher in college with no responsibilities except to chase the ball. Lewis was suspended at the end of last season due to academic issues and coaches advised him to come out early. He played 8 man football in HS and is at a similar stage developmentally as Irvin. Both should immediately contribute as situational pass rushers, but will need time to develop a more complete game. Davis was a three year starter that dominated Sun Belt competition. The undersized Spence is intelligent and instinctive simply making plays all over the field. Alas sub-6 foot LBers the run over a 4.7 40 and bench only 12 reps at the combine are not most teams cup of tea. Massaquoi and Manning were surprise early entrants with untapped potential. Massaquoi is an edge rusher with only two years experience at the lowest level of the bowl subdivision whose sack total dropped from 13.5 as a sophomore to 6 as a junior. The inconsistent Manning possesses a long, lean frame and natural pass rushing ability. He missed a pair of games last season due to a knee injury.

Harris visited Pittsburgh. He is a possible seventh rounder that would fit best inside.
CB *Morris Claiborne, LSU
*Stephon Gilmore, S Carolina
*Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
Janoris Jenkins, N Alabama
*Josh Robinson, Central Fla
Trumaine Johnson, Montana (FS)
Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt (FS)
Brandon Boykin, UGa
Dwight Bentley, UL Lafayette
Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina
Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma

Leonard Johnson, Iowa St (FS)
Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska (FS)
*Jayron Hosley, Va Tech
Trevin Wade, Arizona
Chase Minnifield, UVa
De�Quan Menzie, Alabama (FS)
Ryan Steed, Furman
Shaun Prater, Iowa
Donnie Fletcher, Boston College
Chris Greenwood, Albion, MI
Keith Tandy, West Va
Coryell Judie, Texas A&M
*Cliff Harris, Oregon
Mike Harris, Florida St
Asa Jackson, Cal Poly
Omar Bolden, Arizona St
Micah Pellerin, Hampton
Robert Blanton, Notre Dame
Charles Brown, UNC
Ron Brooks, LSU
D�Anton Lynn, Penn St
Terrence Frederick, Texas A&M
Antonio Fenelus, Wisconsin
Corey White, Samford
Antwuan Reed, Pittsburgh
Coty Sensabaugh, Clemson
Chaz Powell, Penn St
De'Andre Presley, Appalachian St
Jeremy Lane, Northwestern St
Claiborne is on par as a prospect with former teammate and last year�s number five pick Patrick Peterson. Gilmore started 40 games despite coming out early. His size, speed ratio and leadership qualities have him flying up draft boards with a probable landing in the top ten. The stock of Kirkpatrick and Jenkins is going in the opposite direction. There are questions about Kirkpatrick being a true difference maker after he intercepted only three passes the last two seasons. Fluid cover corner Jenkins� issues are all off the field. Reports that he continued to smoke marijuana after being kicked off Florida and going to South Alabama are a major red flag. Surprise early entrant Robinson ran the fastest 40 time at the combine (4.33) and led all defensive backs in the three cone drill (6.55) and broad jump (11�1�) catapulting from a mid-round pick to the top of the second day. He is a fluid, productive cover corner and not just a workout warrior. Trumaine Johnson has excellent size and ball skills. A lack of top recovery speed could eventually result in a move to FS. Hayward started all 37 of his team�s games the last three seasons after being lightly recruited. He is a zone only prospect that is at his best facing the QB. Boykin suffered a slight fracture of the fibula at the Senior Bowl. He plays an aggressive, physical style despite a lack of size which might limit him to the role of slot, nickel corner. His ability as a return man is a plus. Bentley was a HS teammate of Jenkins. He needs to add bulk to his lithe frame to compliment his high end speed and solid coverage skills. Norman followed his brother to Coastal Carolina despite having offers from bigger schools. He dominated starting 41 career games. Fleming is an instinctive playmaker that lacks top size and speed. Leonard Johnson is a heady team leader best suited for a zone scheme due to a lack of top agility. Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year award winner Dennard provide a physical presence. He was sliding after a sub-par Senior Bowl week plus a lack of top speed and agility in workouts. His arrest for suspected battery of a police officer during a night club fight a week before the draft could drop him farther. Hosley came out early after following up his 10 interception sophomore season with an injury plagued junior campaign. He also plays a physical style in both coverage and run support despite his diminutive size. Testing positive for marijuana at the combine will obviously not help Hosley's case. Flying a bit under the radar the productive Wade possesses the tools to compete at the next level. Minnifield�s father Frank was a Pro Bowl caliber corner for the Browns from �84 to �92. Poor post season workouts due to a slow recovery from a knee scope in early January could cost him.

Unrestricted free agent William Gay signed with Arizona and Bryant McFadden was released. Good riddance. Keenan Lewis, Courtney Brown and Cortez Allen now need to step up opposite Ike Taylor. They really couldn�t be worse than Gay and especially McFadden. On the surface the front office and coaching staff seem comfortable with the current depth chart. Only Tandy was brought in for a visit. He is an instinctive former HS QB and willing tackler that fits in a zone scheme better than man-to-man due to a lack high end recovery speed.
S Mark Barron, Alabama (SS) Harrison Smith, Notre Dame (SS) Brandon Taylor, LSU (SS) George Iloka, Boise St (FS/SS)
Markelle Martin, OK St (FS)
Antonio Allen, S Carolina (SS)
Trent Robinson, Michigan St (FS)
Brandon Hardin, Oregon St (FS)
Duke Ihenacho, San Jose St (SS)
Aaron Henry, Wisconsin (FS)
Chris Thompson, S Carolina St (FS)
Kelcie McCray, Arkansas St (SS)
Justin Bethel, Prebyterian (FS)
*Phillip Thomas, Syracuse (SS)
*Janzen Jackson, McNeese St (FS)
Jeremy Jones, Wayne St, MI (FS)
Eddie Pleasant, Oregon (SS)
Sean Richardson, Vanderbilt (SS)
Tavon Wilson, Illinois (FS)
Charles Mitchell, Mississippi St (SS)
Johnny Thomas, OK St (SS)
Cyhl Quarles, Wake Forest (SS)
Eddie Whitley, Va Tech (FS)
Jeron McMillian, Maine (SS)
Matt Daniels, Duke (SS)
Barron leads a class that is thin at the top. The speed and agility he showed during workouts combined with his intelligence and leadership ability have him flying up draft boards. While not at his best in man-to-man coverage he is a ball hawk that can read a QB and quickly break to the ball. Smith could sneak into the first round because of the lack of top talent at the position. He is aggressive against the run and has excellent closing speed. Taylor is an in the box run stuffer. Iloka has good size and strength with the versatility to play either FS or SS in both zone and man schemes. Martin was unable to work out until a week ago due to a knee injury suffered in January. He held up well all season against the spread offenses of the Big 12. Despite the lack of day one and two talent there are a number of day three possibilities with upside in the long term that could fill specific needs in the short term.

Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark are another year on the wrong side of 30. Depth behind them is abysmal. I am no fan of Ryan Mundy and he is sadly enough the best option to play in case of injury to the top two. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin reportedly showed a lot of interest in Robinson at his pro day. Jones visited Pittsburgh. The ball hawking small school safety intercepted 9 passes last season. The depth of this safety class despite the dearth of top end talent actually plays into the Steelers hand. Their needs point toward a day three pick being used on the position and not a high pick. Someone with good value should be available whenever they decide to pull the trigger.
ST       Bryan Anger, Cal (P)
Drew Butler, UGa (P)
Blair Walsh, UGa (K)
Randy Bullock, Texas A&M (K)
Carson Wiggs, Purdue (K)
Greg Zuerlein, Missouri Western (K)
Shawn Powell, Fla St (P)
Josh Harris, Auburn (LS)
Derek Dimke, Illinois (K)
Kyle Martens, Rice (P)
Dave Teggart, UConn (K)
Brian Stahovich, SD St (P)
Johnny Hekker, Oregon St (P)
Brad Nortman, Wisconsin (P)
Ryan Tydlacka, Kentucky (P)
Dave Harrington, Idaho St (P)
Philip Welch, Wisconsin (K)
John Potter, Western Mich (K)
Justin Tucker, Texas (K)
Zach Nolan, Stanford (LS)
Anger could sneak into the second day. There is a major drop off from him to the next highest rated specialist. Teammates Butler and Walsh are borderline draftable. Butler is the son of former Georgia and Bears kicker Kevin Butler. Bullock is the reigning Lou Groza award winner. Wiggs was a team captain and had a nice week at the Senior Bowl. Zuerlein is a wildcard that blossomed as a senior after transferring from Nebraska-Omaha which dropped its football program.

Jeremy Kapinos and Shaun Suisham are adequate at best. Daniel Sepulveda returning from the third torn ACL of his career clearly can't be counted on at this point. There are worse ideas than using a compensatory seventh rounder on a kicker or punter if the front office feels that someone stands out. Nolan actually got a visit to Pittsburgh. He doesn't seem like a real draft option even with the extra seventh rounders. Veteran Greg Warren makes $825K and has a history of knee injuries so Nolan is likely being viewed as a priority free agent that could provide competition, insurance and perhaps if everything breaks right some cap savings.
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