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JFLO'S Top Ten Initial Storylines of the 2011 Class

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  • JFLO'S Top Ten Initial Storylines of the 2011 Class

    Alright, I thought it would be a cool idea to do something of this nature. Basically, these are my initial Top 10 storylines of the 2011 NFL Draft Class. I think some of them are a little generic, but it was fun to write up nonetheless.

    10. Small Stuff
    It should be known to every person that follows football that there is definitely not a certain size set in stone to make or break the career of a future tailback in the NFL. There are players from the size of Darren Sproles at a whopping 5’6” or a player like Brandon Jacobs who stands tall at a massive 6’4”.

    In the draft class of 2011, it seems that there are a massive amount of tailbacks to choose from that are 5’10” or shorter. The top two backs in the class, Mark Ingram of Alabama and Ryan Williams of West Virginia, are both (maybe generously) listed at 5’10” while other backs like Noel Devine of West Virginia, Jacquizz Rodgers of Oregon State and Kendall Hunter of Oklahoma State are three running backs that have the potential to be solid contributors at the next level that are listed at 5’8” or shorter.

    Don’t forget about guys like Florida speedster Jeff Demps, Kentucky’s Derrick Locke and Louisville sleeper Victor Todman who have to develop more but also have shots at being solid pro players down the road. All three of those players are listed at 5’9” or shorter.

    In 2010, Jahvid Best was the only running back that was 5’10” or shorter to be drafted within the first couple of rounds while in 2009, Donald Brown was the only back 5’10” or shorter to be drafted within the first three rounds. This year seems to be different and in my opinion it is due to the fact that the spread offense is becoming such a vital piece of college football today. The spread uses more faster backs that tend to be on the shorter side. This could be a trend that we will see later on down the road in future drafts.

    9. Small School Prospects
    Every year there are a couple small school prospects that seem to stick out above the rest and have enough talent to be chosen within the first three rounds of the draft. This year however, I feel like there are more prospects that play at smaller schools or FCS schools that will be chosen early on in April.

    In my mind, the biggest small school prospect is Jeremy Kellem, a speedy defensive back from Middle Tennessee State University. The Blue Raider is an excellent athlete who does nothing but produce in very versatile ways. He has over 60 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. He is a little undersized at 5’10” 190, but he has legitimate 4.4 speed.

    My second highest ranked small school prospect is Villanova offensive lineman Ben Ijalana. He won’t be able to play tackle at the next level like he does for the Wildcats, but he has a lot of potential as an interior lineman in the NFL. He possesses light feet and good athleticism to be at least a 2nd-3rd round choice in the draft. If he can stay healthy and Villanova can build off their 1st national championship in the team’s FCS history, then he is a shoe in as an early round draft choice.

    Coming in third is another defensive back and that would be Appalachian State safety Mark Legree. The Mountaineer has excellent overall athleticism and is a great and instinctive ballhawk. He finished the season with 70 tackles, 7 interceptions and 6 tackles for a loss. LeGree has been one of the more publicized small school prospects for this draft and he has the ability and production to back it up.

    Other small school prospects to watch out for include: Grambling State Defensive End Christian Anthony, Richmond Defensive Tackle Martin Parker, Troy Linebacker Mario Addison, San Diego State Tight End Alston Umuolo and Mount Union Wide Receiver Cecil Shorts.

    8. Parody in Positions
    No matter what kind of talent is being offered in the draft, there is always an amount of parody and it is no different this season. In fact, it seems that the parody in some positions is even deeper than usual.

    The deepest positions in this year’s class are extremely deep and top heavy. The position with the most depth in this year’s class has to be defensive end. Of course there are some players that could be listed as both a defensive end and defensive tackle, but they are capable of playing both positions in certain schemes. At end, there seems to be at least 10-15 players that could be chosen in the early rounds of the process, led of course by UNC pass rusher Robert Quinn.

    The second deepest position in my eyes would have to be cornerback, led by a legitimate Top 5 player in Louisiana State’s Patrick Peterson. The position is bound to be loaded up with tons of underclassmen like Miami (FL)’s Brandon Harris and Georgia’s Brandon Boykin, both of whom are developing 1st round talents.

    One underrated positions that seems to have some depth is among the interior of the offensive line. It’s not every year that the position is stacked but it seems to be different in 2011. Led by players such as Mike Pouncey of Florida, Kris O’Dowd of Southern California and Justin Boren of The Ohio State University.

    When it comes to the lack of talent, there are two definite positions that don’t the plethora of talent to choose from. The one that stands out the most is inside linebacker. There seems to be a debate as to who is the top dog of the group, but no matter who you choose, there isn’t a lot of depth at the position overall and it’s top tier is mostly made of potential rather than polish. Greg Jones has polish but his size may limit his role at the NFL while Dont’a Hightower is mostly hype at the moment.

    The second position that is lacking talent seems to be at offensive tackle. It may be due to the large amount of talent that the position has produced in the last two draft classes, but 2011 is definitely different than 2009 and 2010 respectively. The leader of the group seems to be Boston College’s Anthony Castonzo who has elite experience and technical skills. He seems to be the only true prospect with definite potential at left tackle. Both Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin and Matt Reynolds of Brigham Young seem to some questions to answer before they have a future at left tackle rather than the right side.

    7. The Perception of Marvin Austin
    There may not be a more initially debated player in the class of 2011 than North Carolina defensive lineman Marvin Austin. He was one of the most highly touted players, no matter what position, in the recruiting class of 2008 and shocked a lot of people when he decided to enroll at Chapel Hill.

    However, Austin hasn’t necessarily lived up to the hype that he was given in high school and has been somewhat inconsistent during his first three years in college. His totals have been up and down since stepping foot on campus and has been receiving a lot of flak for his less than stellar play.

    There is no one though that can deny his natural talent and abilities at the line of scrimmage. He has unreal quickness and footwork and has put up decent numbers in all three seasons. When Austin is on his game, there is no denying that he could be one of the best, if not the best player in the nation.

    Some people have Austin ranked in the Top 10 and as the #1 overall senior in the class of 2011 while others have decided to completely drop Austin off their big boards due to his inconsistent play and inability to capture the hype that he brought with him to North Carolina.

    6. Tar Heel Madness
    Austin is only one of many pieces of a North Carolina team that seems to be offering a lot of potential talent at the next level. Generally, most draftniks are used to seeing teams like Southern California, Oklahoma and Miami (FL) at the cream of the crop in terms of shipping off top notch talent to the NFL. Its different this year though as Chapel Hill has as many as nine potential choices in the drafts first three rounds.

    Most of the talent is on the defensive side of the ball and it is led by the best pass rusher to come around since Mario Williams in 2006. Weakside end Robert Quinn has immense potential as a stud pass rusher in the NFL and has Top 5 pick written all over him. He possesses extreme athleticism and agility for a kid that is still only 19 years of age. Quinn plays alongside Austin who was mentioned earlier.

    Behind the two linemen are three linebackers that could be drafted fairly early in April. Bruce Carter is a great overall athlete who has abilities in zone coverage and has proven to be a very productive player. Alongside him is Quan Sturdivant, who is seemingly solid in almost every aspect of his game. Then there is junior two-sport star Zach Brown. Brown has legitimate 4.4 speed at the linebacker position and if he declares early, he’ll attract some teams with his top notch athleticism.

    In the secondary, there are three players who will most likely be playing on Sundays. The player who should get drafted the earliest is safety Deunta Williams. Williams hasn’t received enough attention so far but is a stud playmaker who is a team leader and reliable tackler. Also, cornerbacks Kendric Burney and Charles Brown are players to keep eyes on throughout the season.

    On the offensive side of the ball, one of the more underrated prospects will be catching balls for the Tar Heels. Greg Little is a massive target who has developed very well and is nothing but a wrecking ball after the catch. If he can continue to build off his stellar junior season and continually develop his maturity, Little will be a definite pick within in the first three rounds of the draft.

    Overall, the team is stacked with talent and has the potential to eventually be ACC Champions and contend for a BCS title bid. The team will need to revamp for the 2011 season though because they are most likely going to lose a ton of talent after this season.

    5. The Saga That is Terrelle Pryor
    The 2008 recruiting class was one of the deepest in recent memory and it was led by none other than the subject of my #5 initial storyline of the 2011 NFL Draft, Terrelle Pryor.

    Pryor is an immense athlete that has the potential to be an elite player at the collegiate level but has struggled to put it all together as of the end of his sophomore season. His elite size and athleticism allows him to possibly be a first round pick but he has a lot more developing to finish before that happens.

    However, that will not stop a team from taking a risk in the 1st round. Especially considering the amount of hype Pryor will get if the Buckeyes have a successful season in 2010. The Buckeyes are bound for a big time season and possibly a bid in the National Championship game and if they can fulfill these goals, Pryor’s stock will presumably soar sky high.

    He will take a lot of time to develop, there is no doubt about that, but I think it’s safe to say that Pryor has more potential than Vince Young as a dual-threat quarterback in the NFL. He has great arm strength, mobility and is a developing leader and passer. If the Buckeyes have a good season, I think it would be safe to say that Pryor is shipping out of Columbus in 2010 and a team would be willing to spend a 1st round pick on his elite potential.

    4. Year of the Redshirt Sophomore
    It wasn’t that common for redshirt sophomores to declare for a draft until recently. In 2009, there were two redshirt sophomores taken in Michael Crabtree and Aaron Maybin. Earl Thomas was the only redshirt sophomore taken in 2010 when he was chosen 14th overall by the Seattle Seahawks. This year however, there could be as many as five redshirt sophomores declaring for the 2011 festivities.

    The most obvious is Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Most believe that Luck is unlikely to declare even if he has a tremendous season for the Cardinal, but it’s never out of the realm of possibility because this could be the last season that NFL rookies won’t be under a rookie pay scale and if Luck has a big season and is a serious contender for the #1 pick, then why would he decline the massive amount of money that would be coming his way.

    Behind Luck as the most touted redshirt sophomore is Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams. The Hokie had an elite breakout season after Darren Evans went down in the first game of the year in 2009. Williams has a tremendous all-around game for his age and has received some early comparisons of Deangelo Williams. Of all the red-shirt sophomores, Williams is the most likely to declare early.

    On the defensive side of the ball, there are two defensive linemen and a safety that have the possibility to declare early and get chosen early due to their immense play. Both Aldon Smith of Missouri and Nick Perry of Southern California has tremendous freshman seasons. Both led their respective teams in sacks (Smith with 11.5 and Perry with 8) and should continue their stellar collegiate careers in 2010. Of the two, Smith has the most likely chance of declaring while none should doubt the possibility of Perry declaring either, especially considering the recent sanctions caste down on USC. In the defensive backfield, Clemson safety Rashard Hall is a standout player who some have predicted in the 1st round already. He’ll need an Earl Thomas like sophomore campaign to be drafted that high though.

    Don’t’ be surprised to see all five of these players declare because all of them have the ability and talent to do so and teams are looking for budding talent, no matter what class they are coming from.

    3. Attempted Comeback of Mark Herzlich
    Before the start of the 2009 season, most people had projected Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich as a potential Top 20 choice in the 2010 draft. He had massive size, production and instincts to be a force at the next level. However, tragedy struck when Herzlich was diagnosed with a very rare form of bone cancer called Ewings Sarcoma. He automatically decided to not play football during the 2009 season to begin his chemotherapy and fully recover from the cancer.

    Late in the Eagles 2009 season, Herzlich spread the good news when he announced that he was completely cancer free and was planning on returning to the team after taking a medical redshirt for for the season he was absent for. It’s going to take a lot of work for him to return to the 1st round status he once claimed, but he will surely get all the support from his teammates and most likely every draftnik around.

    When it comes to grading Herzlich, it has to be nothing other than a “Wait and See” plan due to the amount of time he missed from the game. However, I, as everyone else, will be rooting for him to return to the big time grade he once received.

    2. The Fantastic Four
    The most top heavy position in the 2011 class should come as to no surprise to anyone who follows the selection process. The 2008 recruiting class gave lots of hope to draftniks because it was loaded with talent at wide receiver. Fortunately, it has followed through and there are four receivers that seem to be headed towards a first round selection. Some people even perceive all four of these receivers could be Top 20 picks when it’s all said and done.

    The cream of the crop is none other than Georgia playmaker A.J. Green. He possesses a tremendous combination of size, speed, intangibles and ability to be an elite #1 target at the next level. In many eyes, he is the best receiver since Calvin Johnson was selected by Detroit in the 2007 process. He has put up great numbers with two different quarterbacks and could eventually be the #1 pick in April.

    After Green, it seems that there is some debate as to who is the better receiver. However, receiving the most attention among the remaining three is Julio Jones of Alabama. Jones came on severely strong as a freshman but saw his numbers decline as a sophomore. He has elite physical tools and is a true force after the catch but must prove to be more consistent and polished during his junior campaign. If he can do that, then he could very well be chosen before his SEC counterpart in Green.

    Thirdly, let’s take a look at a player that doesn’t get enough attention. That would be the massive target that is Jonathan Baldwin from Pittsburgh. The Panther came on strong as a freshman and continued the production during his sophomore season. He stretches the field very well, has massive hands and may use his body better than any receiver in college football. If Baldwin can put together another big season in the Steel City, then he should finally get the attention that he deserves.

    Finally, rounding out the Fantastic Four is Notre Dame’s very own Michael Floyd. Like the other three, Floyd had a superior freshman season and was part of one of college football’s best offenses. He has great body control, quickness and is a true vertical threat. However, one has to wonder if he will be able to hold up at the next level. Floyd has missed a total of eight games in two years due to injuries and will need to stay healthy in order to be drafted in the first round next year.

    From a scouting standpoint, there may not be a better year at wide receiver than 2011. It isn’t common for teams to take a wide receiver in the Top 20, but with these four prospects things could very well change.

    1. The Race Between Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett and Andrew Luck
    This may not be just the race to see who the best quarterback is in the class of 2011, but it could very well be the race to see who the #1 Overall pick is in April. In the past thirteen drafts, ten have started with a quarterback being chosen #1 overall. If history stays consistent, then one of these three will be the first to shake Roger Goodell’s hand. I can’t remember a draft season where there has been so much attention given to three quarterbacks in the initial processes.

    The most attention so far has been given to an unlikely character in Redshirt sophomore Andrew Luck. He may not be the most talented of the three, but the Stanford signal caller has been receiving comparisons of John Elway for his stellar play at such a young age. There is absolutely no certainty that Luck will even declare, but if he puts up good numbers and a winning season in Palo Alto, then no one should be surprised if he forgoes his last two years.

    Playing in the same conference as Luck is Washington Huskie quarterback Jake Locker. He has been mentioned by many people early on as the consensus #1 overall pick and #1 overall choice in 2011. Locker has developed tremendously since being coached by offensive guru Steve Sarkisan and looks to further his abilities more during his senior season.

    Finishing out the trio is Arkansas’ very own Ryan Mallett. The former Michigan Wolverine transfer has all the elite physical tools that scouts look for in a franchise caliber quarterback and has put up stellar numbers in a strong conference, but seems to have too many lapses and needs to have a season where he can put it all together mentally. If he can do that, then there is no doubt in my mind that he will be the #1 quarterback in this class.

    There is no doubt in any draftnik’s mind that this will be an exciting race to watch throughout the season and whoever puts up the best numbers or leads their team to essential victories, that player will most likely be the first quarterback or even first player chosen. It seems that the 2011 class could have as many as ten teams looking for quarterbacks when it’s all said and done and there is no doubt that it will be a crazy ride.

    All feedback is wanted and thanks for reading...

    BoneKruser with the DOPE sig

  • #2
    Nice write-up, but there were more than two redshirt sophomores taken in the 2009 draft. Knowshon Moreno being a more prominent one.
    Credit to BoneKrusher for the Sig
    RIP themaninblack

    Comment


    • #3
      I would add Brandon Maye to the redshift sophomore list to watch. He is an ILB for Clemson.

      Pretty good write up overall.

      I believe the ILB class has numerous players that have the size and physical attributes to be elite players, they just need to figure out how to put it all together on the field.

      Comment


      • #4
        Isn't Maye a straight up junior?

        BoneKruser with the DOPE sig

        Comment


        • #5
          I will be going to 3 home games at BC, Herzlich to me is the story of the year
          my scent?...like making love to a lumberjack
          <TACKLE> i will ngata give you a bj raji
          <+BOE> Scott, with Burfict's character concerns (whether legit or not) you think Pioli would draft him. :D
          <+ScottWright> Why not. Baldwin does need a sparring partner...
          Originally posted by Hermstheman83
          What's with the hate on Ricky Stanzi? Those youtube clips of him with the hulk hogan theme music instantly make him better than Luck.

          Comment


          • #6
            Yea, Clemson has Brandon Maye listed as a Redshirt Sophomore as of the 2009 season, so in 2010 he'll be a Redshirt Junior

            BoneKruser with the DOPE sig

            Comment


            • #7
              Im not sure what your angle is with this. If it doesnt really matter what height rbs are, then im not sure what the storyline is.

              I think the position at this point with the lower talent is defensive end, if by defensive end you mean pass rushers, as compared to last years epic class of pass rushers.

              Corner is also a weak position, probably even compared to this years relatively mediocre class. Corner is not a strong position unless theres a deion sanders type in the class and quality depth. Theres neither at this point.


              I dont see lack of talent at inside linebacker. It will be a stronger class than this past year.

              Tackle i agree at this point its not a strong group.

              Marvin austin is a 4-3 under tackle. You can get them at the grocery store.

              If theres nine tar heels drafted in the first 3 rounds you can bet on at least 75% being busts. Theres no college team with that much nfl talent. Youd be lucky to find an nfl defense with 9 players worthy of rd 1-3 picks. Two great nfl players from one college team is about the max in a class. And thats a great year.

              I like pryor more than most. I know he has nfl level physical ability, and i know hes a winner. Question is can he put the ball on the spot and show good decision making.

              Thats not really any more rs sophomores than usual

              Actually the 2008 class was the year of the running back. Chris johnson, stewart, mendenahll, rice, forte etc., I cant even remember any wrs drafted in that class. feel free to enlighten me though. 2011 is deepest at rb, with the best prospect since 2008 mark ingram on top.

              Im seeing a lot of bust potential in AJ green especially.Everything about this guy is screaming out like a trumpet in my ear BUST. Julio jones flashes inconsistent potential greatness. Michael floyds never been the #1 and played in a pass happy offense, and yet still put up middling numbers.

              Baldwins the top. Uncoverable one on one, circus catches and huge plays every week. He had only one game the entire year that he did not have a play under 40 yds. Averaged 20 per catch. Plus hes from aliquippa and derrele revis says aliquippa dont miss. Maybe a step slower than clavin johnson, but makes just as many outstanding catches and huge plays, and hes a whole hell of a lot tougher. Its going to be interesting to see what he runs. Theres unsubstantiated rumors of 4.3s, and it sure looks like it on the field.

              Andrew luck and jake locker are frauds. Mallets probably the most physically gifted prosepct ever at the position, from a pure physical standpoint.

              Comment


              • #8
                i apologize 2008 recruiting class for wrs, i mistook that for 2008 draft class for wrs. It seems to me quite a bit of your storylines have to do with high school hype

                Comment


                • #9
                  terrel pryor, aj green, julio jones marvin austin etc.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bce View Post
                    Im not sure what your angle is with this. If it doesnt really matter what height rbs are, then im not sure what the storyline is.

                    I clearly stated that there is in no certain way a certain height attained to a franchise caliber running back, so you obviously didn't read that one, thanks bud.

                    I think the position at this point with the lower talent is defensive end, if by defensive end you mean pass rushers, as compared to last years epic class of pass rushers.

                    Corner is also a weak position, probably even compared to this years relatively mediocre class. Corner is not a strong position unless theres a deion sanders type in the class and quality depth. Theres neither at this point.

                    Patrick Peterson, Aaron Williams and Prince Amukamara beg to differ


                    I dont see lack of talent at inside linebacker. It will be a stronger class than this past year.

                    Tackle i agree at this point its not a strong group.

                    Marvin austin is a 4-3 under tackle. You can get them at the grocery store.

                    Actually you can't buy defensive tackles at the grocery store...at least the grocery store that I go to...also, I in no way said that Austin's position had any importance to the argument, nor was I really making any sort of argument to begin with.

                    If theres nine tar heels drafted in the first 3 rounds you can bet on at least 75% being busts. Theres no college team with that much nfl talent. Youd be lucky to find an nfl defense with 9 players worthy of rd 1-3 picks. Two great nfl players from one college team is about the max in a class. And thats a great year.

                    I like pryor more than most. I know he has nfl level physical ability, and i know hes a winner. Question is can he put the ball on the spot and show good decision making.

                    Thats not really any more rs sophomores than usual
                    Well, let's see...2010 only had 1...2011 has the potential for at least 5...so I think that's at least 5x more...

                    Actually the 2008 class was the year of the running back. Chris johnson, stewart, mendenahll, rice, forte etc., I cant even remember any wrs drafted in that class. feel free to enlighten me though. 2011 is deepest at rb, with the best prospect since 2008 mark ingram on top.

                    you obviously know why your already wrong here...

                    Im seeing a lot of bust potential in AJ green especially.Everything about this guy is screaming out like a trumpet in my ear BUST. Julio jones flashes inconsistent potential greatness. Michael floyds never been the #1 and played in a pass happy offense, and yet still put up middling numbers.

                    Baldwins the top. Uncoverable one on one, circus catches and huge plays every week. He had only one game the entire year that he did not have a play under 40 yds. Averaged 20 per catch. Plus hes from aliquippa and derrele revis says aliquippa dont miss. Maybe a step slower than clavin johnson, but makes just as many outstanding catches and huge plays, and hes a whole hell of a lot tougher. Its going to be interesting to see what he runs. Theres unsubstantiated rumors of 4.3s, and it sure looks like it on the field.

                    Andrew luck and jake locker are frauds. Mallets probably the most physically gifted prosepct ever at the position, from a pure physical standpoint.
                    You're an idiot.

                    BoneKruser with the DOPE sig

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ryan Williams of Virginia Tech...


                      Sig by Matthew Jones

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cigaro View Post
                        Ryan Williams of Virginia Tech...
                        Hey man, thanks for catching that...

                        Yea, I only said Virginia Tech in the Redshirt Sophomore section, so I don't know what I'm talking about, so you can point out a typo...thank you.

                        BoneKruser with the DOPE sig

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well patrick peterson and aaron williams and prince anakamura arent deion sanders. Theyre not even leodis mckelvin.

                          Sure you can buy 4-3 under tackles, you can buy them in rd 5 or on the ufa market, aka, the grocery store.

                          On the wrs, the qbs i know im right. Becuase everything I stated was based on fact, not on opinion, or hype coming out of high school, or feed from mel kiper. Which is where youre getting it from.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've already learned after your first post to not take anything you say at all seriously...if I remember correctly you had players like john clay and Terrelle Pryor in your top ten players...also its not grading the players based on what mel kiper says...its grading players by actually watching the games which is something you should try before you try to look smart about something

                            BoneKruser with the DOPE sig

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                            • #15
                              Yeah There should be a lot of RS Soph declaring early. Jeremy Maclin was also one of the RS Soph to leave early in 2009.

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