The 2011 NFL Draft will take place April 28-30th in New York City.
There are many lists and rankings out there dealing with the prospects of the 2011 NFL Draft, but it is time to look at it in the category of SEC football.
The SEC is the most dominant football conference, and the first-round this year will be full of SEC talent. I predict that four of the top six picks will be players from the SEC.
There is a reason that the SEC has won the last five national championships, and it has everything to do with the talent level that is available to the SEC head coaches.
Here it is, the first-round prospects from the SEC.
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DT Nick Fairley
Draft Projection: No. 1 to the Carolina Panthers
Scouting Report: Fairley is one of the top overall prospects for the 2011 NFL Draft and is a consensus top three pick.
He helped lead Auburn to the National Championship in 2011. Fairley is a physical beast that dominates the line of scrimmage. His immediate impact won’t be felt in the “win” column for Carolina in the first couple years, but he will greatly improve that defense.
CB Patrick Peterson
Draft Projection: No. 3 to Buffalo Bills
Scouting Report: Peterson was named the best cornerback in the country following the 2010 season.
He has the ability to make plays on the defensive side of the ball, as well as on special teams.
Peterson is one of the best cover corners in the NFL Draft and he will be drafted in the top five.
WR A.J. Green
Draft Projection: No. 4 to the Cincinnati Bengals
Scouting Report: Green will catch almost any ball that is thrown in his direction, as evidenced by the great catches that he made while at the University of Georgia.
The consensus No. 1 receiver will make an impact regardless of where he goes and should be able to compete for a starting job next fall.
DT Marcel Dareus
Draft Projection: No. 6 to the Cleveland Browns
Scouting Report: Dareus was one of the key components to Alabama’s title run back in 2009.
He played the nose tackle in the 3-4 defense during his college days at Alabama. In the NFL, he could play in the 3-4 or 4-3 because of his great athletic ability.
Quick off of the ball, Dareus will have the ability to start for the Cleveland Browns in his rookie season.
QB Cam Newton
Draft Projection: No. 10 to the Washington Redskins
Scouting Report: Say what you want to about Cam Newton off the field, but on the field he is a great quarterback.
At least that was the case in college, but it has not been seen whether this will translate onto an NFL field.
He has the size and arm strength to make an impact in the NFL, but the areas of concern are decision making, reading defenses, and his release.
OT Derrok Sherrod
School: Mississippi State
Draft Projection: No. 12 to the Minnesota Vikings
Scouting Report: Note: Sherrod is No. 79 in the video.
Sherrod, at 6-5 and 305 pounds, is the prototypical left offensive tackle.
The Vikings will have to deal with the loss of Brett Favre, and drafting someone that will protect their new signal-caller is a must.
Sherrod needs to improve in the area of run blocking but is a great pass blocker. His initial quickness does not set him apart, but he shows the great determination to block well down the field.
WR Julio Jones
Draft Projection: No. 14 to the St. Louis Rams
Scouting Report: Julio Jones is a lot like the No. 1 overall receiver in this draft, A.J. Green.
He has the nearly the same build, but one concern is that he drops too many passes.
However, one of his biggest areas of improvements in the last year was his route running ability.
At 220 pounds, he should have the ability to get physical with NFL defensive backs in his rookie year. He will be a great addition to the St. Louis offense led by Sam Bradford.
RB Mark Ingram
Draft Projection: No. 15 to the Miami Dolphins
Scouting Report: Ingram is the third member of the Crimson Tide that will be drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
If there is one position where there is a lack of depth in Miami, it’s at running back.
The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner has a great ability to run between the tackles and that should translate to the NFL.
He is the best running back prospect for the NFL Draft and doesn’t have any glaring weakness in his game.
OG Mike Pouncey
Draft Projection: No. 23 to the Philadelphia Eagles
Scouting Report: Mike Pouncey is the brother of Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey.
Pouncey possesses great speed and quickness for his position and will fit in well with the Philadelphia Eagles.
He can run and pass block effectively as well as help protect Mike Vick. Even if he doesn’t go to the Eagles, he should still be drafted later in the first round. And who knows, maybe he’ll be drafted at 31 and play with his brother in Pittsburgh.
OLB Justin Houston
Draft Projection: No. 27 to the Atlanta Falcons
Scouting Report: Houston is a better fit for the 4-3 defense, but in college, he was forced to play in the 3-4 defense under new coordinator Todd Grantham.
He could play either the defensive end or outside linebacker with the Atlanta Falcons and their 4-3 defense.
However, an area of concern is his size. If he wants to play defensive end, he will need to bulk up, and if he wants to play outside linebacker, he will need to lighten up a bit.
If he is available, the Falcons should strongly consider Houston. The defense was exposed against the Packers in the playoffs, and Houston would make an impact for the Atlanta Falcons.
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