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2011 NFL draft prospects worth watching

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Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki

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Posted April 26, 2010 @ 11:23 a.m. ET
By Nolan Nawrocki

Updated April 27, 2010 @ 12:13 a.m. ET

Based on very preliminary evaluations, following are 10 of the top prospects for next year's draft. Players will be seniors unless otherwise noted.

QB Jake Locker, Washington
Tremendous athlete with a rare physical skill set and top-notch intangibles, toughness and competitiveness. Should make significant strides in his second year under Steve Sarkisian and enters the 2011 campaign as the top prospect.

DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama (Jr.)
A strong, powerful disrupter, Dareus dominated the BCS championship game, knocking out Colt McCoy, and stands out like a man among boys.

DE Adrian Clayburn, Iowa
Has outstanding size and strength and will appeal to a variety of teams because of his ability to stack the run and consistently make plays behind the line.

CB Patrick Peterson, LSU (Jr.)
Big, physical, supremely confident, shutdown cover man who has proved himself against the SEC's top receivers.

WR A.J. Green, Georgia (Jr.)
Is one of the more elite receiver talents to emerge since Randy Moss in the mid-1990s. Has terrific length, fluid movement skills, soft hands and a giant catching radius. Makes it look easy at times. Is a bona fide No. 1 NFL receiver in the making.

DE Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
The son of former NFL RB Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, Cameron is one of the stronger players in college. Regularly rag-dolls opponents and will be coveted by 3-4 teams desirous of a five-technique.

WR Julio Jones, Alabama (Jr.)

Looks every bit the part with mismatch size and length. Competitive, strong-handed target was an impact player from Day One in a championship program. Could be compared to Green for years to come.

DT Marvin Austin, North Carolina
Has yet to live up to his potential but is stoutly built, light on his feet and flashes disruptive ability. One of several highly talented returning Tar Heels defenders.

OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M
The type of defensive playmaker the Aggies fielded in their defensive heyday, Miller led the nation in sacks as a junior and has explosive burst off the edge.

DE Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson (Jr.)
Was regarded as the top player in the nation coming out of high school but was slowed by a knee injury last fall. Has the physical tools to develop into a legitimate first-round pass rusher. Figures to be a marked man as a junior.

 

For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.

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