1. DT Shariff Floyd, Florida - Reason: Shariff Floyd was a very productive defender for the Gators this season. Ever since the season ended, Floyd's stock has skyrocketed higher than just about any other prospect in this year's draft. Floyd is active and disruptive, yet has suspect strength at the point of attack and hasn't shown the ability to be a consistent anchor. He wins most of his battles hand fighting on the inside, and if he's to gain success in the NFL, he'll have to continue to do so since his arms are shorter than any of the other top DT prospects. He's a sure-fire top 15 talent, but at 3? My answer is no.
2. OT Kyle Long, Oregon - Reason: Kyle Long has the name recognition, and for many Raiders fans (me included), it would be awesome to see him don the silver and black next to fellow legacy player Stefen Wisniewski. There has been recent talk of Long going as early as the end of the 1st round. Though Long is an appealing prospect, the truth is that he is still relatively new to the game of football and is a bit raw. There's going to be a learning curve for Long so thinking he's a plug and play player isn't a given.
3. QB EJ Manuel, Florida State - Reason: The latest coming from the media experts is that Manuel won't last till the end of the 1st round. I even read that he could go in the top 20. Manuel is a very athletic quarterback who can make all the throws. However, he never really dominated at FSU after taking over for Christian Ponder. On a loaded Seminoles team with title aspirations, they faltered with Manuel behind center. He's yet to show a consistent display of composure against the blitz and the ability to pull a team from behind and win big games.
4. CB Dee Milliner, Alabama - Reason: Dee Milliner is best cornerback in a very deep and talented group, but not by much. He's not as good as the past 3 CBs that went off the board first in the last three years. Alabama cornerbacks have had a tough transition in the NFL, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that Nick Saban doesn't have his cornerbacks backpedal much in his defense. I don't know that a team would value him so much to take him if given the chance to move down. This year's CB class is very deep and some say that it could be a double digit number drafted by the end of the second round.
5. WR Tavon Austin, WVU - Reason: Don't get me wrong, Austin is one of the most dynamic gamebreakers I have ever seen. His speed, quickness and change of direction are otherworldly. But the fact of the matter is that Austin is not a legitimate #1 type WR. He doesn't have the size or strength to be a perimeter WR so unless he goes to a team that has an offensive coordinator who will move him around to create mismatches, Austin will not be much of a factor. His immediate impact will be as a return specialist, but is that worth a top 15 grade as some have him?
Next: Alabama RB Eddie Lacy, Florida SS Matt Elam, Georgia DT Jon Jenkins, Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o, Southern Methodist DE Margus Hunt
1. WR Da'Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech - Reason: Based on talent alone, Rogers is a 1st round pick. Due to some issues on and off the field, many teams will be leery to use a draft pick on the receiver. There's a perception about Rogers being a troublemaker and a diva on the field, but his talent is undeniable. He's one of the more physically imposing WRs in the draft and will overpower any defensive back he faces and uses his strength and explosion to make plays on the ball and after the catch.
2. DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State - Reason: Granted Hankins didn't end his Buckeyes career on a high note, but he's one of the DT prospects that have gotten lost in all of the Shariff Floyd talk since the season ended. Hankins is a very versatile prospect who can play multiple positions on the defensive line and also play in different defensive fronts. He's currently seen as a fringe 1st round to 2nd round pick. Someone is going to get a value pick grabbing the talented big man.
3. CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State - Reason: All Poyer did during his last two years at Oregon State was produce and make plays for the Beavers. Poyer may not have the elite speed that most teams would like to have in a CB, he is a very physical and feisty player who also has a high football IQ. He's been projected to go later in the 2nd round on, but I think he will be better than many of the cornerbacks that get selected ahead of him.
4. QB Tyler Wilson, Arkansas - Reason: All the Nassib, Geno Smith and Manuel talk has completely kept Wilson off the radar. Though Wilson may lack the prototypical QB measurements, he makes up for it with toughness and moxie. He has the ability to make plays when things break down and is deftly accurate on the run in short to intermediate passes. Teams worry about his deep ball, but from many accounts it seems to be more of a footwork issue.
5. LB Zaviar Gooden, Mizzou - Reason: Who's the most athletic linebacker in this draft? Most will answer Alec Ogletree but I say its Gooden. Gooden is a converted safety like Ogletree and he's just as good if not better in space and dropping back into coverage. Ogletree had a big year, while injuries hampered Gooden's final year. Gooden has a chance of surprising a lot of people.
Next: Kent State OL Brian Winters, Texas DE Alex Okafor, LSU LB Kevin Minter, Purdue DT Kawann Short, Texas A&M LB Sean Porter