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Prospect Hot List

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As anyone who follows the NFL Draft knows positive or negative momentum can play a big role in determining where a player is ultimately chosen. The following is a look at some prospects who have that buzz at the moment as well as some who do not. Please be sure to keep in mind that this is not a replacement or an update to the positional rankings or mock draft. For example, a player could be #1 on this list but that might only mean he has gone from a 7th round pick to a 5th rounder or an undrafted free agent to a late round possibility. So without further adieu here are the Top 10 prospects with the most helium:

Updated: November 10, 2010

1. Stefen Wisniewski, C, Penn State

Wisniewski comes from a line of professional football players with his father, Leo, playing for the Colts, and his uncle Steve was an eight time Pro Bowler for the Raiders. With a fairly solid senior Center class, Wisniewski tops the list and has been proving himself as a potential first round pick for 2011. He is a tough player who has an excellent mean streak at the center position. Wisniewski also shows above average athleticism, always being light on his feet with the ability to get to the second level easily. Tossing in the intangibles and pedigree, Wisniewski looks like a top center prospect. Though he isn’t overly strong and lacks the prototypical size, he is the type of player you hate to doubt. Against Northwestern, Wisniewski had one of his best games of the season, creating holes in the run game and portraying excellent pass protection skills. With recent top center prospects like Maurkice Pouncey and Alex Mack, Stefen Wisniewski could join them as first round picks.

2. Cameron Jordan, DE, California

Cameron Jordan is a defensive end who is not getting a lot of press, but he continues to steadily move up boards in the eyes of NFL scouts. Jordan has been a pass rushing nightmare for opposing teams so far this college season. Big statistics have been a weekly occurrence for Jordan. He has 2.5 sacks over the last two weeks in big games against Oregon State and Washington State. Jordan has the ability to play defensive end in a 3-4 or 4-3 as a pass rusher who also has the size to be a complete player. In a league that is centered around the QB, the type of pass rushers who can create that pressure and shorten the time a QB has to throw is invaluable. Jordan is establishing himself as a threat and may play himself straight into the first round of the NFL draft.

3. Von Miller, LB, Texas A&M

As a Junior, Von Miller was an absolute terror rushing the passer off the edge. His 16.5 sacks were the most in the country and Miller almost made the decision to leave school early for the NFL draft. Upon returning for his senior season, Miller came down with an ankle injury that has slowed down his early pass rush and is starting to affect his NFL stock. Facing subpar programs like Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech, and Florida International, Von Miller did not have a sack. He seems to have gotten over those injuries and reestablished himself as a productive player. Over the past two weeks, Miller has racked up 2.5 sacks, including a huge sack against Oklahoma to help the Aggies win that game. He appears to have regained his first step and is once again proving why he is an elite pass rushing talent.

4. Andy Dalton, QB, TCU

With the success Texas Christian is having this season, Andy Dalton is starting to gain some attention and slightly moving up draft boards. Though Dalton will never be the complete package at quarterback, there is plenty to like about the player leading the #3 team in the nation. Though Dalton doesn’t have the arm strength or consistency to be a starter in the NFL, his leadership ability and solid size lend to a solid back-up at the next level. This has been an extremely productive season for Dalton, with 19 TDs and 5 INTs so far this season. He has had some pure eye popping numbers against perennial Top 25 teams, like his 91.3 completion percentage against Baylor earlier in the year. Dalton had a season high 355 yards passing last week against undefeated Utah with 3 TDs in the game. Likely a late round pick, Dalton should be intriguing to a high profile team who needs an excellent player.

5. Alex Wujciak, LB, Maryland

One of the smartest linebackers in the country, Wujciak displayed tremendous skill against the pass and was a game changer for the Terps. In pass coverage, Wujciak was elite, racking up 2 interceptions including a touchdown and broke up another pass in the process. With an increased passing game in the NFL, this should endear Wujciak to some teams as a midround prospect. He has a tremendous motor and uses his intelligence to identify plays before the ball is snapped. A leader for the defense, Wujciak also exhibits great intangibles. Though he does not have all the physical tools a team looks for or the ability to get sideline to sideline against the run, Wujciak will be an excellent reserve linebacker and is moving up draft boards.

6. Mason Foster, LB, Washington

Jake Locker gets all of the press for the Huskies in terms of NFL Draft prospects, but it would be wrong to overlook an impact player on the defensive side of the ball in Mason Foster. An extremely physical player, Foster has the looks of an NFL player who can play special teams and fill in as a solid reserve in a linebacking corp. At 6’2 and 244 pounds, Foster has solid size and is best suited on the weakside in the NFL. Though he does not have the best sideline to sideline speed or range, he is a nice thumper who can do some damage in coverage as well. Foster has had double digit tackles in every game this season, totaling 113 so far. Despite a big loss to Oregon, Foster was very productive and the most effective Husky defender in stopping the Ducks. Though he didn’t make any plays in the backfield, Foster looks like he will be an even better pro than college player.

7. Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy

Jernigan has accumulated mass production this year for the Trojans, showing himself to be a versatile player who can make it in the NFL. Though he has not racked up the receiving yardage recently, Jernigan has continued to show that he is an elite return man. Jernigan isn’t built to be an NFL WR, at only 5’9 and 190 pounds, but his play on the field could make him a valuable commodity in the NFL. As a dynamic returner and a possible slot WR, Jernigan should be selected relatively early in the 2011 NFL Draft. Return specialists have been highly coveted in the NFL with recent picks of Devin Hester, Dexter Jackson, and Javier Arenas contributing to that position and being drafted very early. Jernigan fits the same mold and may end up like recent draftee by the Kansas City Chiefs, Dexter McCluster, as a do it all type of player who will help a team in many different ways.

8. Marcus Gilchrist, CB, Clemson

An often overlooked corner in such a strong class, Marcus Gilchrist has been no slouch for the Clemson Tigers. In a defensive game against North Carolina State last week, Gilchrist was all over the field making plays. He had a key tackle for loss in the backfield against a runner and was excellent in coverage. In addition to his ability against the pass, Gilchrist is an excellent return man, averaging nearly 27 yards a kick return this season and he has had varied success on punt returns. His 3 returns against NC State for 113 total yards put the Tigers in position to win the game. When evaluating cornerbacks, don’t leave out Gilchrist who could sneak into the 2nd to 3rd round if all goes well.

9. Shareece Wright, CB, USC

Wright has been known more for his lack of focus inside the classroom rather than his play on the field, but as a senior he is showing some great talent for the Trojans. He was declared academically ineligible for most of last season, a concern that will come up for scouts. Though Wright isn’t the most gifted athlete in the world, he has the ability to make big plays and has some strong potential if he works up to it. Shareece seemed to put forward 110% this past week and make a huge difference in the USC secondary. He had 2 passes broken up while blanketing opposing Arizona State wideouts. He also was used as a pass rusher at times, racking up 1.5 sacks. When Wright puts forward the effort, he can have a massive effect on games. A later round pick, this type of tape will raise him up draft boards.

10. Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State

Though teammate Titus Young may be the better NFL prospect, Austin Pettis is neck and neck with him. Recruited the same year as Young, Austin Pettis was incredible under the radar due to his lack of speed and quickly chose Boise when they came calling. It has turned out to be a tremendous decision as he has been a superb college player. Though he needs a lot more improvement than Young (specifically in his effort and route running,) he is a big target standing at 6’3 and could find a red zone role in an offense. If he can show off speed in the offseason, perhaps Pettis can find his way into the 3rd or 4th round. There is hope out there he can turn into a Sidney Rice type of player, but likely is more of a Brian Hartline type of player. Pettis has been that big productive player, racking up 8 catches, 122 yards, and a touchdown this past week against Hawaii. If that red zone target is needed, Pettis should be a nice NFL Draft sleeper.

The Not-So-Hot List

Chykie Brown, CB, Texas

Another big injury reigns down on a top senior player at their position, cooling this stock. Texas faced only 4 passing attempts from Kansas State this past week, and with the best trio of corners in the country, it made complete sense for the Wildcats. Chykie Brown is the senior nickel corner for the Longhorns and he had been pretty successful in coverage this year. Though big plays have never been his forte, Brown does well in coming up to help stop the run, make key tackles after receivers catch the ball, and has exhibited those traits this year. Brown broke his forearm against Kansas State and won’t be playing the rest of his senior year. This does not cripple his stock however as Brown should have the opportunity to come back and play in an all-star game as well as work out this offseason.


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I like Gilchrist as well. I think he could be a great CB or FS.

I like what they wrote on Pettis. That draft projection (3rd-4th round) is perfect. I currently have him going in the 3rd.

Thanks for sharing.

Good stuff here.

Ok I'll eat my crow on Pettis' route running but he didn't mention anything about the lack of hands...

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