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Post-Combine Rankings: Includes 30+ Scout Reports

Mario Puig

Mario Puig

Mario sets the direction of RotoWire's college football and NFL draft content, with his other responsibilities primarily resting in those same subjects. He's a fan of Jim Harbaugh, James Harrison and David Bowie.

Here are my post-Combine skill position rankings. While the player breakdowns for the last article stopped at five for all positions, there are eight quarterback entries in this update while running back and receiver have been extended to 10. Players listed in the 'up next' area are ranked in descending order.


QUARTERBACKS


1. Andrew Luck, Stanford (6-4, 234)


Luck had nothing to prove at the Combine, but he came in and impressed anyway. He posted very good workout numbers, including a 4.67-second 40-yard dash, 36-inch vertical and a 6.80-second three-cone drill. There's no doubt that Luck will be a strong running threat in the NFL.

Previous entry: Luck is one player I'm not going to write much about in this article, because he has already been closely scrutinized for well over a year. Long story short: he's either adept or very strong in basically all areas -- the arm, the accuracy, the smarts and the athleticism are all there. He's a prospect that's difficult to criticize despite playing the position that most easily attracts criticism. If the Colts stay at the first pick, they will draft him.

Grade: Top Overall Prospect
Projection: First Overall Pick


2. Robert Griffin, Baylor (6-2, 223)


Like Luck, Griffin could have done nothing at the Combine and his stock wouldn't have changed. But then he ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash and posted a 39-inch vertical, raising the price on the second pick that Washington has since traded for. We know now that Luck will be a Colt, and Griffin a Redskin.

Previous entry: Some might believe that Griffin has a chance to overtake Andrew Luck for the first overall pick, but it won't happen. Griffin is a great prospect and warrants a huge investment from any team in need of a franchise quarterback, but he's smaller, less refined and less pro-ready than Luck is. Like, Luck, though, Griffin will grade off the charts as far as intelligence and personality go. Griffin even has a big advantage over Luck in a couple areas -- Griffin's athleticism rivals that of receivers and defensive backs, and his deep accuracy is on an all-decade level. His college production was staggering -- he threw for 10,366 yards (8.7 YPA) and 78 touchdowns while running for 2,254 yards and 33 touchdowns in 41 games. That's roughly 253 yards and 1.9 touchdowns passing to go along with 55 yards and 0.8 touchdowns on the ground in each game despite starting as a freshman. Those numbers include 4,293 yards (10.7 YPA), 37 touchdowns and six interceptions passing and 699 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing in Heisman Trophy-winning 2011 season. Griffin led Baylor to a 10-3 record despite the fact that the team allowed 37.2 points per game -- an almost unthinkable feat.

Grade: Top-Eight Prospect
Projection: Second Overall Pick


3. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M (6-4, 221)


Since he played over half of his Texas A&M career at receiver, Tannehill is an unfinished product at quarterback. But he has all the athletic traits that are necessary to turn into a quality NFL starter at the position, and like Luck and Griffin, he grades well as far as intelligence, work ethic and personality go. Due to the NFL potential granted to him by those traits, he'll probably be a top-10 pick, perhaps as high as four depending on how he looks at his pre-draft workout.

Previous entry: Tannehill was initially a receiver for Texas A&M and has less than two years of quarterback experience at the college level, so he predictably heads into the draft with a few concerning flaws. The most easily identified one is the fact that he was just 7-6 as a starter in 2011, and he was very hit-or-miss in general as a senior. He failed to throw more touchdowns than interceptions in five games and averaged less than seven yards per pass attempt in six games, including five of his last seven. Tannehill definitely still has work to do as far as reading defenses and making good decisions go, but the bottom line is he has all of the physical tools necessary to be a good NFL starter, and it's not crazy to think that playing receiver simply delayed his development.

Grade: Top-20 Prospect
Projection: Top-10 Pick


4. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State (6-4, 221)


Weeden's stock seems relatively stable at this point -- although Michigan State's Kirk Cousins may be able to jump ahead of him, it appears that the 28-year-old Weeden should be the fourth quarterback drafted, perhaps as high as the 22nd pick held by Cleveland. Weeden isn't a standout athlete and could use some improvement as far as his decision-making goes, but he might be the draft's best quarterback when it comes to making aggressive downfield throws.

Previous entry:Weeden reportedly is the type who impresses in interviews and gives reason to believe he will work hard and learn quickly, so when you combine that with his standout abilities as a passer, there's reason to believe he won't make it to the second round. Although he still makes some questionable decisions, Weeden gets a pass for his occasional mistakes because he made aggressive throws in a pass-heavy offense, showing the ability to shoulder heavy responsibilities without letting it affect his efficiency much. He effortlessly throws the ball with excellent zip down the field, making him the prototypical prospect in an aggressive offense, age aside. Weeden completed 72.3 percent of his passes in 2011 while throwing for 4,727 yards (8.4 YPA), 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Grade: Top-35 Prospect
Projection: Top-40 Pick


5. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State (6-3, 214)


Cousins rounds out a strong top-five at quarterback for the 2012 draft, but he's also the last one in line when it comes to a potential starter grade at the NFL level. His stock could therefore be subject to a fair amount of inflation, making him a top-40 pick at worst and maybe even a late first-round pick. Cousins drew favorable reviews for his recent pro day workout, but I think his weak performances against good college defenses will keep him from jumping ahead of Weeden.

Previous entry: Cousins is the quarterback in this draft most likely to get the 'bus driver' label due to his modest production in a ball-control offense, but he still should be a second-round pick by a team looking to groom him as a starter. For whatever lack of high-upside tools Cousins might have, he showed an ability to perform in high-pressure situations, so there's little reason to think he doesn't have the necessary mental traits to succeed in the NFL. With that said, Cousins still checks out proficiently in athletic terms, as he made a variety of pro throws as he threw for 3,316 yards (7.9 YPA), 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last year. The main concern with him is that he only conclusively demonstrated the ability to produce against weak defenses, throwing for just 1,085 yards (5.8 YPA), five touchdowns and seven interceptions in games against Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Georgia.

Grade: Second-Round Prospect
Projection: Second-Round Pick


6. Russell Wilson, Wisconsin (5-11, 204)


It has always been known that Wilson is a strong athlete for the quarterback position, but he tested even better than expected at the Combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds while adding a 6.97-second three-cone drill and a 4.09-second 20-yard shuttle. Those numbers are so good that Wilson would probably make a fine wide receiver or safety project if he really tanks at quarterback, not that there's any reason to expect that to happen. If Wilson were two inches taller he would be a first-round pick, as his poise, pocket instincts, accuracy and arm strength are all very good. I can't see him lasting past the fourth round.

Grade: Third-Round Prospect
Projection: Fourth-Round Pick


7. Nick Foles, Arizona (6-5, 243)


Foles has great size and a good enough arm to eventually turn into an NFL starter, but his mobility is a bit problematic and his downfield passing ability doesn't seem especially developed at this point. Foles' release is probably slower than average, which is an unfortunate trait to have alongside questionable downfield accuracy. It seems that Foles might be best suited to a short-route sort of passing game, yet his release isn't ideal for striking quickly.

Grade: Third-Round Prospect
Projection: Third-Round Pick


8. Brock Osweiler, Arizona State (6-7, 242)


Osweiler gets lots of love from Todd McShay and Mel Kiper, but the film gives little reason to think Osweiler is anything more than a project right now. His mechanics are all over the place, his accuracy is not consistent, and his decision-making is a bit erratic, too. He does, though, have great size, good athleticism and good enough arm strength. I just think it will take a lot of work and even more luck to turn Osweiler into a viable NFL starter.

Grade: Fourth or Fifth-Round Prospect
Projection: Third-Round Pick

RUNNING BACKS

1. Trent Richardson, Alabama (5-9, 228)


Richardson gives every reason to think he'll be one of the best running backs in the league right away. His speed is good enough, he has good balance and lateral movement, and his power and hands are among the best. He's a much, much better prospect than Mark Ingram was.

Previous entry: Even if he doesn't possess the explosiveness and incredible balance of Adrian Peterson, Richardson is still a running back who grades almost as high as the former Oklahoma star. Peterson has quicker feet, but Richardson shows excellent short-area movement himself, and whatever advantage Peterson has in big-play ability Richardson makes up for in strength. Richardson is a very good pass-catcher who undoubtedly projects to an every-down role in the NFL. With Mark Ingram out of the way in 2011, Richardson torched opponents to the tune of 1,679 yards (5.9 YPC) and 21 touchdowns on the ground while adding 338 yards and three touchdowns on 29 catches.

Grade: Top-Three Prospect
Projection: Top-10 Pick


2. Lamar Miller, Miami (FL) (5-11, 212)


Miller's 4.40-second 40-yard dash confirmed what was obvious on the field: Miller will be a major big-play threat in the NFL. Miller reminds me of Felix Jones, except Miller runs like a running back and knows how to fall forward. Also, there aren't any injury red flags to this point. I think he'd be a great fit for the Bengals.

Previous entry: Miller could be the draft's best big-play threat at running back, but his lower-body strength and ability to fall forward give him a well-rounded game, making him a feature-back candidate for the NFL. Miller's ability to glide through the open field and change directions without losing speed is reminiscent of Felix Jones. As a prospect, though, Miller's grade is closer to Ryan Mathews' (the 12th pick in the 2010 draft) than Jones' (the 22nd pick in the 2008 draft). He ran for 1,272 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Although he lacks production as a pass-catcher (28 catches for just 181 yards and a touchdown in two years), his ability to field kickoffs and take pitches indicates that hands shouldn't be much of an issue.

Grade: Top-20 Prospect
Projection: Top-25 Pick


3. David Wilson, Virginia Tech (5-10, 206)


Wilson still has work to do as far as developing his instincts and knowing how to use his blockers, but his athleticism, strength and aggressiveness as a runner make him a likely playmaker at the NFL level. If he learns to round out his game a bit as far as the fundamentals go, he could emerge as one of the league's best. In the meantime he would make an excellent fit as a home run specialist in a run-heavy offense.

Previous entry: Wilson is nowhere near as developed as Richardson or Miller in terms of vision or allowing his blocks to develop, but he also might be faster, more explosive and more elusive than either. Despite his lack of size relative to the previously mentioned runners, Wilson is well built and runs with surprising strength that catches attempted tacklers off guard. Also, his underdeveloped vision is at least somewhat offset by his aggressive running mentality -- even if Wilson goes the wrong way and runs into a pile, he'll usually move it forward a bit. He could eventually develop into a feature back in the NFL, but his most useful short-term application in an NFL offense may be as an off-the-bench adrenaline surge. Wilson's aggression and explosiveness are things a winded defense just can't prepare for. Wilson ran for 1,709 yards (5.9 YPC) and nine touchdowns in his first year as Virginia Tech's starting runner.

Grade: First-Round Prospect
Projection: Top-40 Pick


4. Doug Martin, Boise State (5-9, 223)


He's not as athletically gifted as Richardson, but Martin still might be the most pro-ready runner in the draft. He's unmatched as far as fundamentals go, and he still stands out with the athletic traits that matter -- although he doesn't have home run deep speed he has very quick feet, superb balance and standout short-area movement in general. Despite not having overly obvious upside, Martin might be one of the five most convincing players in this draft -- there just don't seem to be any weaknesses here.

Grade: Top-35 Prospect
Projection: Top-35 Pick


5. Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M (5-10, 206)


Gray probably helped his stock a bit at the Combine, running a faster-than-expected 40-yard dash time of 4.47 seconds, but it doesn't change the fact that Gray's athleticism still doesn't jump out on tape. With that said, he's still one of my favorite runners in the draft. He makes up for his average athleticism with strong fundamentals, showing good vision and patience while using his blockers effectively. I will cling to my Brian Westbrook comparison until the ship sinks.

Previous entry: Gray isn't a popular running back in this draft because he lacks size and doesn't have excessive athleticism or explosiveness to make up for it like Wilson does. He is, however, athletic enough to get by, and he has adept explosiveness and shiftiness in particular. What stands out with Gray, though, is his fundamentals as a runner. He has good balance and his instincts are just excellent. He sees the field very well, and he might be better than anyone in the draft when it comes to using his lean and running angles to set up defenders for the cutback. The same may be true regarding his ability to utilize his blockers. Gray is also a skilled pass-catcher -- he caught 65 passes over his last 24 games. The most valid concern with him is his size and durability. After dominating in a workhorse role in the second half of 2010, Gray dealt with hamstring and shoulder issues in 2011. In any case, I expect Gray to be a Brian Westbrook sort of player in the NFL with a little luck.

Grade: Top-40 Prospect
Projection: Third or Fourth-Round Pick


6. Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati (5-10, 197)


Pead doesn't run with the good balance or patience at times and probably won't emerge as a starting running back option for most offenses, but he nonetheless might be the draft's best big-play specialist at running back. Pead is very explosive and runs with extreme aggression, which allows him to occasionally bounce off and slip tacklers despite his lack of strength. Although his hands aren't that great, Pead is experienced and comfortable as a pass-catcher. He runs every play like it's his last, which makes him a good fit as a returner and off-the-bench runner, though he might wear himself out a bit if he's a starter.

Grade: Second-Round Prospect
Projection: Second-Round Pick


7. Robert Turbin, Utah State (5-10, 222)


The Turbinator is built like a tank, but that didn't stop him from making countless big plays in his hugely successful Utah State career, and he followed up with a better-than-expected 4.50-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. While he won't be much of a home run threat at the NFL level, Turbin still has a nice amount of speed and foot quickness to complement his thick build and above average strength. A natural pass-catcher and a hard worker, Turbin will probably grade very well in interviews and impress with his character, too.

Grade: Second-Round Prospect
Projection: Second or Third-Round Pick


8. Bernard Pierce, Temple (6-0, 218)


Pierce runs tall and had some injury issues at Temple, so it would be best if a team didn't rely on him as a feature back, but he has all the skills to be a strong starter with a little durability luck. Pierce is a good athlete and, more importantly, a natural running back. He sees the field well and has strong cutback ability thanks to his balance and quick feet. Despite running with an upright lean, Pierce's running instincts allow him to be slippery in traffic.

Grade: Second or Third-Round Prospect
Projection: Second or Third-Round Pick


9. LaMichael James, Oregon (5-8, 194)


James probably isn't big enough to turn into a feature back, but his 4.45-second 40-yard dash at the Combine confirmed that the big-play speed he showed so often at Oregon is something he'll bring with him to the NFL level. James might be a bit rough as far as reading blocks goes after playing in Oregon's gimmicky spread-option offense, but he's by all accounts a hard worker and runs with ferocious intensity. With his fast feet, hard running and breakaway speed, James will make a fine change-of-pace runner and could also perhaps develop into a strong returner.

Grade: Third-Round Prospect
Projection: Second or Third-Round Pick


10. Ronnie Hillman, San Diego State (5-9, 200)


Hillman is a very similar prospect to James -- both are undersized by NFL standards, both received truly huge workloads in their highly successful college careers, and both timed in at 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Combine. Hillman generally did his damage against lesser competition in the Mountain West, though, so James has the upper hand. Hillman is nonetheless a very nice prospect for any team looking for a designated home run hitter in a change-of-pace role.

Grade: Third or Fourth-Round Prospect
Projection: Third or Fourth-Round Pick

Up Next: Chris Polk, Washington (Third or Fourth-Round Prospect), Michael Smith, Utah State (Fourth-Round Prospect), Brandon Bolden, Mississippi (Fifth-Round Prospect), Bobby Rainey, Western Kentucky (Fifth-Round Prospect), Dan Herron, Ohio State (Fifth or Sixth-Round Prospect), Adonis Thomas, Toledo (Sixth or Seventh-Round Prospect)

WIDE RECEIVERS

1. Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State (6-1, 206)


Much fuss has been made over Blackmon's 4.46-second 40-yard dash from his pro day workout, but it's not actually meaningful. Oklahoma State has a fast track, and Blackmon's adjusted time almost perfectly matches his (sufficient) field speed, which appears to be in the low-to-mid 4.5-second range. He's still the top receiver prospect in the draft, as he was before he ran the 40-yard dash.

Previous entry: Blackmon is one of the best college football players ever, at any position, but there is a great deal of debate over how well he projects to the NFL. The biggest names in the establishment NFL Draft media think of him as a top-five sort of player, while another school of thought considers him more of a prospect that ranks in the 20-range. I'm in the middle. Blackmon isn't even close to as good of a prospect as A.J. Green, and he isn't on the level of Julio Jones, either. He is, though, better than Dez Bryant and Michael Crabtree and probably about the same as or better than Jeremy Maclin. The main (only?) criticism of Blackmon, in any case, is that he isn't fast enough. Blackmon has been charged with the exhausted cliché that a mid 4.5-second 40 time is a deal-breaker. Don't buy it. Blackmon isn't a burner, but he has quick feet and is explosive in the short area, which grants him sudden movement and the ability to create sufficient separation. He's also strong and a magnet to the football when it's in the air. In the end, the 232 catches for 3,304 yards (14.2 YPC) and 38 touchdowns in 25 games do the talking. The obvious comparison for Blackmon is Anquan Boldin, who was dominant in his prime.

Grade: Top-10 Prospect
Projection: Top-15 Pick


2. Kendall Wright, Baylor (5-10, 196)


Wright's 40-yard dash time of 4.61 seconds at the Combine quite simply is not an accurate portrayal of his speed. He's still the draft's best combination of explosiveness and receiver skill, though his height is obviously a bit lacking. Wright can beat a defense equally well over the top and after the catch on short routes, including across the middle of the field. He's fearless and aggressive with and without the ball and should be a good fit for any offense.

Previous entry: Wright might measure in less than 5-foot-10, so for that reason he's mostly written off as far as projecting into a WR1 role in the NFL. Whatever the specifics, though, Wright has the look of a valuable playmaker. Although he has the speed to stretch the field, Wright is also very developed on short routes. He can take off deep for over-the-shoulder grabs, or he can take a quick pass over the middle and burn up yardage after the catch. A four-year producer at Baylor, Wright totaled 4,004 yards and 30 touchdowns on 302 catches for the Bears.

Grade: Top-20 Prospect
Projection: Top-20 Pick


3. Michael Floyd, Notre Dame (6-3, 220)


Floyd is the draft's best combination of size, speed and natural receiving ability. The problem is that he had injury issues in college and has some maturity concerns to go along with that. Despite those concerns, Floyd's exceptional upside should keep him in the first 20 picks of the draft. If he stays healthy and keeps his head on straight, Floyd has a very real shot to be one of the league's best receivers in a hurry.

Previous entry: If it weren't for injury issues and alcohol infractions, Floyd would probably be the top-ranked receiver in the class. Unfortunately, he managed to suffer significant injuries in three of his four years at Notre Dame. He missed time with a knee issue in 2008, a broken collarbone in 2009 and a hamstring injury in 2010. He also played through a rib injury in 2011 and may have had his big-play ability suffer for it down the stretch, as he averaged just 10.8 yards per catch in his final seven games. Still, there's no doubt that Floyd is just monstrous when he's at full strength. He probably can't beat Blackmon as far as hands go and tackle-breaking ability may be draw, but Floyd has a clear advantage in terms of size and athleticism.

Grade: Top-20 Prospect
Projection: Top-20 Pick


4. Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma (5-10, 191)


Broyles is underrated due to an overreaction to the torn ACL he suffered in November, but look for the all-time leader in FBS receptions to be full-go by the time the 2012 season starts. Once he gets himself on the field, look for him to emerge as one of the league's better slot receivers. While he's not a burner, Broyles is fast enough and even more so quick and slippery, and his hard-worker status is verified by his rapid recovery and 21 bench reps at the Combine.

Previous entry: Broyles isn't getting much love right now, due in my opinion to an overreaction to the torn ACL he suffered Nov. 5. Broyles was probably college football's second-best receiver behind Blackmon and dominated on an incredibly consistent basis. Despite missing his final four games due to the injury, Broyles somewhat quietly owns the FBS record for most career receptions. He finished his career with 349 catches for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns in 48 games. He won't be able to run in timed drills prior to the draft, but I think his skill set translates particularly well into a slot role in a pass-happy offense, and I think those traits will keep him in from falling to the fourth round.

Grade: Top-25 Prospect
Projection: Second or Third-Round Pick


5. Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech (6-4, 215)


Hill is very untested after playing in Georgia Tech's triple-option offense, but he might be even more athletic than Demaryius Thomas and is therefore a decent bet to land in the first round. Hill ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds while posting a 39.5-inch vertical. He's currently little more than a straight-line, one-dimensional deep threat, but Hill's wingspan, blazing speed and jumping ability make him exceptionally dangerous in that lone dimension.

Grade: Top-40 Prospect
Projection: Top-40 Pick


6. T.Y. Hilton, Florida International (5-10, 183)


No one in this draft is as dangerous as Hilton in the open field. He might be limited to a slot and returner role in the NFL due to his lack of size, but Hilton's ability to blaze past defenders in a wide variety of ways should still make him a hit. On offense he can make plays as both a runner and receiver, and as a receiver he can burn a defense both on short routes and over the top. Hilton is so explosive he routinely makes the rest of the players on the field appear as if they're running in mud. Injuries were a problem for Hilton, but I think that was mostly due to overuse rather than fragility. Florida International might not see a player half as good as Hilton ever again, so they predictably gave him all the work he could handle, and more (455 touches in 50 games). He rewarded the Golden Panthers with 38 total touchdowns and 4,029 yards from scrimmage.

Grade: Top-40 Prospect
Projection: Third or Fourth-Round Pick


7. Brian Quick, Appalachian State (6-4, 220)


Quick's wingspan and athleticism has him locked into the second round despite playing in the FCS. Although he won't run past a secondary, Quick is a surprisingly tough and coordinated runner after the catch and poses a surprising amount of big-play ability despite his lack of breakaway speed. He caught three passes for 110 yards and a touchdown against Virginia Tech in 2011, so he showed the ability to produce against top competition, small sample size aside.

Grade: Second-Round Prospect
Projection: Second-Round Pick


8. Chris Givens, Wake Forest (5-11, 198)


Givens doesn't seem to offer much after the catch, but his ability to breeze upfield and make big plays makes him an intriguing fit for the wide-open, downfield passing attacks that have become so common throughout the league. He ran an impressive 4.41-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, confirming the big-play speed he showed while 83 passes for 1,330 yards and nine touchdowns in 2011.

Grade: Second-Round Prospect
Projection: Second or Third-Round Pick


9. Rueben Randle, LSU (6-3, 208)


Randle is a big receiver and former five-star recruit who had limited production in college due to weak quarterback play at LSU. His lack of production means he's raw or at least untested in some ways, which might make him more of a project than some of the other, more prolific receivers who will be drafted nearby him. Although he was expected to do well at the Combine due to his background as a blue-chip recruit, Randle was generally a disappointment. His 4.55-second 40-yard dash was barely good enough, while his vertical jump (31 inches) and 20-yard shuttle (4.36) were rather bad.

Grade: Second-Round Prospect
Projection: Second-Round Pick


10. Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina (6-3, 216)


Jeffery is a big and undoubtedly talented receiver, but there are questions regarding his work ethic and, to some extent, his speed. Jeffery appeared to be overweight at times in college and the fact that he showed up to the Combine significantly lower than his playing weight at South Carolina raised some eyebrows. On one hand it's good that he arrived to the Combine lean, but on the other, why wasn't he that way all along? If he runs well at his pro day workout, in any case, Jeffery could push his stock back into the first round. He's second to none in the draft when it comes to high-pointing the ball, so if he shows even a slight ability to separate it would make him an imposing NFL receiver.

Grade: Second-Round Prospect
Projection: Second-Round Pick

Up next: Tommy Streeter, Miami (FL) (Second or Third-Round Prospect), Joe Adams, Arkansas (Second or Third-Round Prospect), Marvin Jones, California (Second or Third-Round Prospect), Marvin McNutt, Iowa (Third or Fourth-Round Prospect), Juron Criner, Arizona (Fourth-Round Prospect), Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers (Fourth-Round Prospect), Greg Childs, Arkanas (Fourth or Fifth-Round Prospect), Devon Wylie, Fresno State (Fourth or Fifth-Round Prospect), DeVier Posey, Ohio State (Fourth or Fifth-Round Prospect), B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State (Fourth or Fifth-Round Prospect), Gerell Robinson, Arizona State (Fourth or Fifth-Round Prospect), Danny Coale, Virginia Tech (Fourth or Fifth-Round Prospect), A.J. Jenkins, Illinois (Fourth or Fifth-Round Prospect), Eric Page, Toledo (Fourth or Fifth-Round Prospect), Travis Benjamin, Miami (FL) (Fourth or Fifth-Round Prospect), Chris Rainey, Florida (Fourth or Fifth-Round Prospect), Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M (Fourth or Fifth-Round Prospect), Nick Toon, Wisconsin (Fifth-Round Prospect), T.J. Graham, North Carolina State (Fifth-Round Prospect), Patrick Edwards, Houston (Fifth-Round Prospect), Junior Hemingway, Michigan (Fifth-Round Prospect), Jarius Wright, Arkansas (Fifth-Round Prospect), Jordan White, Western Michigan (Fifth or Sixth-Round Prospect), Lavon Brazill, Ohio (Fifth or Sixth-Round Prospect), Derek Moye, Penn State (Sixth-Round Prospect), Marquis Maze (Sixth-Round Prospect), Keshawn Martin, Michigan State (Sixth-Round Prospect)

TIGHT ENDS

1. Coby Fleener, Stanford (6-6, 247)


It's not clear what team has room for him in the first round, but Fleener's potential as a pass-catcher (and the sinking stock of Orson Charles and Dwayne Allen) should make him go in the first 32 picks. He looks and runs like a receiver, and while he doesn't figure to block as well as Charles or Allen, he shouldn't be a liability in that area, either.

Grade: First-Round Prospect
Projection: First-Round Pick


2. Orson Charles, Georgia (6-2, 251)


Charles looks faster on the field, but the fact that he ran his 40-yard dash in the 4.7-second range at the Georgia pro day is still a concern, particularly since it appears that Charles is nearly 10 pounds heavier than his college playing weight (he may have sacrificed speed for size, in other words, which is a major concern when you're talking about an undersized tight end). Fleener is bigger and will likely prove to be faster than Charles.

Grade: Top-40 Prospect
Projection: Top-50 Pick


3. Dwayne Allen, Clemson (6-3, 255)


Allen is the draft's best traditional tight end, but his 4.89-second 40-yard dash from the Combine will certainly limit his ability to make plays as a pass-catcher. He doesn't play that slow and is athletic in short areas, though, so Allen should emerge as a solid starter for some team. His main appeal is as a blocker, in any case.

Grade: Second-Round Prospect
Projection: Second or Third-Round Pick


4.Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette (6-6, 238)


Green might be the best athlete among the tight ends in this draft, so he might go as high as the second round despite playing against lesser competition and having some injury issues in college. He ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash at the Combine -- a figure that would be as low as 4.43 on some pro day tracks -- and consistently showed standout pass-catching ability at Lafayette.

Previous entry: Green is a gifted athlete and a big-play threat in the mold of Charles and Fleener, but he has injury concerns and is probably less polished than the other two after playing against lesser competition in the Sun Belt. At the least, though, the potential is definitely there for him to become a dangerous pass-catcher. Although his first three weeks of 2011 were a waste due to injury, he lit up the remainder of his schedule for 607 yards and eight touchdowns on 50 catches in 10 games. One point that's especially encouraging is that Green produced against top defenses, totaling 15 catches for 219 yards and a touchdown in games against Georgia (2010), LSU (2009) and Nebraska (2009).

Grade: Second-Round Prospect
Projection: Second or Third-Round Pick


5. Michael Egnew, Missouri (6-5, 252)


Egnew wasn't terribly impressive at Missouri, particularly as a blocker, but he is an impressive athlete and could make his way into the third round if some team thinks it can coach Egnew up a bit. His 4.62-second 40-yard dash at the Combine was complemented by an impressive 36-inch vertical.

Grade: Fourth-Round Prospect
Projection: Third or Fourth-Round Pick

Up next: Evan Rodriguez, Temple (Fourth-Round Prospect), Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern (Fifth-Round Prospect), James Hanna, Oklahoma (Fifth-Round Prospect), Deangelo Peterson, LSU (Fifth-Round Prospect), Kevin Koger, Michigan (Fifth or Sixth-Round Prospect), Brian Linthicum, Michigan State (Sixth-Round Prospect)