Always interested in what Rick Gosselin has to say. Here's his top 100 prospects and comments at the end.
Meet Rick Gosselin's top 100 players for the 2011 NFL draft
Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images RICK GOSSELIN RANKS HIS TOP 100 PROSPECTS FOR THIS WEEK’S NFL DRAFT: 1. A.J. Green, WR, Georgia 1 of 15
A.J. Green looks like No. 1 talent who won't be 1st pick
AText Size By RICK GOSSELIN
Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Published 27 April 2011 12:02 AM
Related items Pity the Carolina Panthers.
They won just twice in 16 games last season to earn the first overall choice of the 2011 NFL draft.
But there isn’t a Sam Bradford waiting there for them. There isn’t a Peyton Manning or an Orlando Pace. Even the Ndamukong Suhs and Matt Ryans are nowhere to be found at the top of this draft board.
The Panthers have the first overall selection in a draft that has no consensus first overall choice. Some teams have Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green at the top of the board. Others have LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. Still others have Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, they have a pressing need at quarterback. When Andrew Luck decided to return to Stanford for his senior season in 2011, Carolina lost out on a potential franchise quarterback of its own.
If the Panthers are to address the need at quarterback with either Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert in this draft, they will have to skip over more talented players at other positions. But if you don’t have a quarterback in the NFL, you don’t have a chance.
The Panthers are one of eight teams that will be staring at the quarterback board in the first round. So expect a run of passers early in this draft, starting with the Panthers.
But pencil in Green at No. 1 on the annual Top 100 of The Dallas Morning News. The Top 100 is compiled based on conversations with NFL general managers, personnel directors, pro and college coaches and scouts. This is not a mock draft. Teams will skip around the board on draft day to make selections that fit their needs.
No., player Pos. School
1, A.J. Green WR Georgia
2, Von Miller OLB Texas A&M
3, Patrick Peterson CB LSU
4, Marcell Dareus DT Alabama
5, Julio Jones WR Alabama
6, Cam Newton QB Auburn
7, Tyron Smith OT Southern California
8, Nick Fairley DT Auburn
9, Robert Quinn DE North Carolina
10, Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri
11, J.J. Watt DE Wisconsin
12, Cam Jordan DE California
13, Nate Solder OT Colorado
14, Aldon Smith DE Missouri
15, Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska
16, Anthony Castonzo OT Boston College
17, Ryan Kerrigan DE Purdue
18, Mark Ingram RB Alabama
19, Corey Liuget DT Illinois
20, Mike Pouncey C Florida
21, Gabe Carimi OT Wisconsin
22, Da'Quan Bowers DE Clemson
23, Jake Locker QB Washington
24, Phil Taylor DT Baylor
25, Jimmy Smith CB Colorado
26, Marvin Austin DT North Carolina
27, Christian Ponder QB Florida State
28, Danny Watkins G Baylor
29, Adrian Clayborn DE Iowa
30, Cameron Heyward DE Ohio State
31, Aaron Williams CB Texas
32, Derek Sherrod OT Mississippi State
33, Muhammad Wilkerson DT Temple
34, Andy Dalton QB TCU
35, Marcus Cannon G TCU
36, Ryan Williams RB Virginia Tech
37, Jon Baldwin WR Pittsburgh
38, Akeem Ayers S UCLA
39, Kyle Rudolph TE Notre Dame
40, Ryan Mallett QB Arkansas
41, James Carpenter OT Alabama
42, Daniel Thomas RB Kansas State
43, Greg Little WR North Carolina
44, Brooks Reed DE Arizona
45, Kenrick Ellis DT Hampton
46, Ras-I Dowling CB Virginia
47, Rahim Moore S UCLA
48, Torrey Smith WR Maryland
49, Jarvis Jenkins DT Clemson
50, Orlando Franklin OT Miami
51, Mikel Leshoure RB Illinois
52, Titus Young WR Boise State
53, Lance Kendricks TE Wisconsin
54, Stephen Paea DT Oregon State
55, Randall Cobb WR Kentucky
56, Will Rackley G Lehigh
57, Edmond Gates WR Abilene Christian
58, Allen Bailey DE Miami
59, Terrell McClain DT South Florida
60, Martez Wilson OLB Illinois
61, Shareece Wright CB Southern California
62, Taiwan Jones RB Eastern Washington
63, Colin Kaepernick QB Nevada
64, Brandon Harris CB Miami
65, Bruce Carter OLB North Carolina
66, Rodney Hudson C Florida State
67, Dontay Moch DE Nevada
68, Shane Vereen RB California
69, Luke Stocker TE Tennessee
70, Jah Reid OT Central Florida
71, Leonard Hankerson WR Miami
72, Marcus Gilchrist CB Clemson
73, Steve Wisniewski C Penn State
74, Kendall Hunter RB Oklahoma State
75, K.J. Wright OLB Mississippi State
76, John Moffitt G Georgia
77, Tandon Doss WR Indiana
78, Drake Nevis DT LSU
79, Marcus Gilbert OT Florida
80, Pernell McPhee DE Mississippi State
81, Ben Ijalana G Villanova
82, Jabaal Sheard OLB Pittsburgh
83, Jalil Brown CB Colorado
84, DeMarco Murray RB Oklahoma
85, Rashad Carmichael CB Virginia Tech
86, Jerrel Jernigan WR Troy
87, Johnny Patrick CB Louisville
88, Jurrell Casey DT Southern California
89, Clint Boling G Georgia
90, Bilal Powell RB Louisville
91, Ricky Stanzi QB Iowa
92, Jaiquawn Jarrett S Temple
93, Brandon Burton CB Utah
94, Sam Acho DE Texas
95, James Brewer OT Indiana
96, Rob Housler TE Florida Atlantic
97, Quinton Carter S Oklahoma
98, Jerrell Powe NY Mississippi
99, Colin McCarthy OLB Miami
100, David Arkin OT Missouri State
Read more on 10 of Gosselin's top 100:
3. Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
Peterson gives his NFL team two elite players for the price of one. Not only is he the best cornerback in this draft, he is the best return specialist — even though he only returned kicks one season (2010). “It’s something I always wanted to do at LSU,” Peterson said, “but I had to wait my turn after Chad Jones and Trindon Holliday .” Holliday finished second in the NCAA in punt returns and Jones also averaged 21.5 yards per return in 2009. Peterson handled both punts and kickoffs in 2010 and finished in the Top 10 in the NCAA at both, averaging 29.1 on kickoffs and 16.1 on punts. He uses his size (6-0, 219) to his advantage. He’s jumbo by NFL return standards. “It’s hard to tackle me,” Peterson said. “I won’t come down on one shot. That’s one of the main reasons I put on a little more weight. I added some muscle mass. I don’t want to go down with one tackle.” If Peterson does nothing but return kicks in 2011, he’s a great draft selection. But he’s a shut-down corner as well.
17. Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue
There figures to be a parade of big bodies in the teens with as many as six defensive linemen in a span of 10 picks. There will be 3-4 ends (J.J. Watt and Cameron Jordan), 4-3 ends (Robert Quinn and Aldon Smith), 4-3 tackles (Corey Liuget) and Kerrigan, who has the skill set to be an end in a 4-3 or a linebacker in a 3-4. He’s a can’t-miss prospect because of his school. Purdue produces NFL edge rushers like it’s no one’s business: Rosevelt Colvin , Ray Edwards , Chike Okeafor , Shaun Phillips , Cliff Avril and Anthony Spencer.
27. Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
The first round could be quite a chess match. There are eight teams with a pressing need at quarterback — and all select in the top 12. Two will come away with Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert. The other six will try to jockey around, possibly trading down and around, for the next wave of QBs: Ponder, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton and Ryan Mallett. With the current lockout, if these teams do not find a quarterback on April 28, they may not know their 2011 quarterback until July when the labor stalemate is resolved.
32. Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
Sherrod may be one of the best value picks on the board. He’s the fifth — and last — offensive tackle who projects as a walk-in starter. After Tyron Smith, Nate Solder, Anthony Castonzo and Gabe Carimi clear the board, if you need a tackle you must zero in on Sherrod, a three-year starter at left tackle in the SEC. The tackle board thins out dramatically after the first round. The two tackles projected to go in the second round — James Carpenter (Alabama) and Orlando Franklin (Miami) — might find themselves playing guard in the NFL.
42. Daniel Thomas, HB, Kansas State
Former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram projects as the only running back in the first round. But that doesn’t mean this draft is devoid of ball carriers. NFL teams are split in the opinion of the No. 2 back in this draft. There are multiple teams with Ryan Williams as No. 2, multiple teams with Thomas and multiple teams with Mikel Leshoure. Thomas is the biggest of the three (6-0, 230), Leshoure the fastest (4.60 in the 40), and Williams the most dynamic receiver. Three teams are going to get very good running backs in the second round.
53. Lance Kendricks, TE, Wisconsin
If an NFL team needs a tight end, it must draft him in the second round. There are three who have the size and skill set to block at the position: Kyle Rudolph, Kendricks and Luke Stocker. When they are gone, the tight end board becomes filled with one-dimensional pass catchers. Kendricks is the best blocker of the three but also the smallest (6-21/2, 243). Wisconsin finished in the top 15 in the nation in rushing in both seasons Kendricks was a starter. “Blocking was essential to our offense,” he said. “Before you touch the field as a receiver, you have to know how to block. They make that known right away — when you hit that locker room on Day 1. It’s essential.”
64. Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (Fla.)
The strength of this draft is the mid-rounds (3-5) at wide receiver, running back and cornerback. There could be upward of 15 wideouts, 15 cornerbacks and a dozen running backs in those 101 selections. Harris projects as a nickel cornerback in the NFL because of his lack of size (5-91/2, 194) and lack of speed (4.51 in the 40). He’ll work better on the inside than on the edge. Harris was the anchor of Miami’s No. 2-ranked pass defense last season. He’s the son of a coach, so he knows all the angles and has the savvy to succeed on Sundays.
77. Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana
Quality wide receivers will be available in every round of this draft. With so many colleges now lining up in spread offenses, the number of pass catchers is multiplying. I have 70 wide receivers on the 2011 draft board, and only about half will be drafted. Doss was a two-year starter and a two-time All-Big Ten selection. He caught 63 passes last year and 164 in his career. He ranks fourth in school history in both receiving yards (1,854) and kickoff return yardage (1,549). His ability on special teams vaults him above some others into the third round. He averaged 24.8 yards per runback in 2010.
82. Jabaal Sheard, OLB, Pitt
It wasn’t too long ago that all these undersized ends had to wait on Pittsburgh to draft them in the middle rounds. Ten years ago, the Steelers were the only NFL team playing a 3-4. Now 14 teams figure to line up in a 3-4 this season, so the value of a Sheard, Brooks Reed, Dontay Moch and Sam Acho skyrockets as edge pass rushers. Sheard flourished playing in an NFL-style defense as an end at Pitt under Dave Wannstedt. He was named the Big East’s Defensive Player of the Year last season on the strength of his nine sacks. But the NFL likes its ends 6-4 and 6-5. Sheard is only 6-21/2. His new home will be in a 3-4 scheme.
92. Jaiquawn Jarrett, S, Temple
This is the worst safety board I’ve seen in 20 years. Talent-wise, only one projects in the first 100 picks — Rahim Moore of UCLA in the second round. The next 5-6 safeties all project as fourth-rounders. Expect one or two of them to sneak into the third because so many teams are in the market for safeties these days. Jarrett was a four-year starter at Temple, a two-time All-Mid-American selection and a team captain. He’s the thumper of this class with 74 tackles in 2010 and 299 in his career. He also is a former special teams captain who has spent his career covering kicks.