News, notes on draft prospects

News, notes and opinions about some of the top prospects in the 2010 NFL draft class:

In what’s considered an uninspiring senior quarterback class, one guy who has really caught fire in recent weeks is Sean Canfield of Oregon State. Canfield is completing more than 70 percent of his passes and showcases an ability to be accurate with the football and anticipate routes on all levels of the field. He has also seen his share of adversity over the years, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up having the most productive NFL career of all the senior quarterback prospects….

One quarterback who might have something to say about that is Florida’s Tim Tebow. Tebow hasn’t had the type of senior season many expected and has not taken the steps needed to prove he has what it takes to be a traditional dropback-type quarterback in the NFL. But that’s not to say he can’t be a successful starting-caliber QB. Look at what the Titans have done in recent weeks with Vince Young, who’s not a traditional dropback passer and is not the type of quarterback most NFL teams covet. If a team is open to using an unconventional offense for Tebow, allowing him to work from the spread, get him outside the pocket and run some power inside, there’s really no reason he can’t be a capable NFL quarterback. The idea of every team having a traditional dropback, strong-armed Carson Palmer-type quarterback is unreasonable because there’s a limited number of guys who can do that. However, if a team is willing to look outside the box and be creative with its play-calling, I think Tebow could end up having a successful career leading an NFL offense….

The senior running back class is one group that could be significantly enhanced by an influx of early junior entries. With the possibility of junior running backs Jonathan Dwyer, Jahvid Best, Ryan Mathews, Noel Devine, Joe McKnight and DeMarco Murray all entering the draft, we could very quickly see the likes of senior RBs Toby Gerhart, Montario Hardesty and Anthony Dixon all fall down draft boards. Keep an eye on Gerhart, who has a potential promising baseball career ahead of him and could opt for the diamond if his draft stock falls too far….

It’s a good year to be an NFL team in need of talent at the defensive tackle position as the 2010 senior crop is one of the best to come along in years. Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh leads this year’s talented class, while Penn State’s Jared Odrick, Alabama’s Terrence Cody and Syracuse’s Arthur Jones all look like big-time prospects in their own right. Plus, guys like Tennessee’s Dan Williams, Texas’ Lamarr Houston and Purdue’s Mike Neal all add depth to the group as prospects who could eventually mature into starting-caliber linemen….

The same can’t be said for the senior cornerback class, where, in my opinion, there’s really not much separating the top seniors from some of the mid-level guys like Alabama’s Javier Arenas and Virginia Tech’s Stephan Virgil. However, two guys I really like are Oregon’s Walter Thurmond and Indiana-Pa.’s Akwasi Owusu-Ansah. Both look like prospects who will end up falling into that mid-round range but could have better careers and would be far better values then some of the “top-rated” senior corners (Patrick Robinson, Syd’Quan Thompson) in this years class….

One guy who doesn’t get the attention he deserves from this year’s safety class is Indiana’s Nick Polk, a physically strapping kid at 5-11, 220 who can run, change directions and create collisions in the run game. He’s one of my favorite senior safeties and, in my opinion, grades out higher than some of the other top-tier defensive backs such as Kam Chancellor, Darrell Stuckey and Kurt Coleman in terms of ability at the next level….

If LSU’s Harry Coleman is such a talented potential strong-safety prospect, why was he moved to linebacker this season? Sure, you can say he’s a team player and that the LSU coaching staff needed to get its best athletes on the field, but if Coleman really was such a big-time NFL prospect at the position, you can bet he would still be playing safety. Could you imagine Pete Carroll moving Taylor Mays to outside linebacker as a senior in order to get some talented underclassman on the field? The point is that Coleman looks like a core special teams guy who could end up finding a role as a nickel linebacker at the next level, but he’s not a potential starting strong safety. And if you want proof, just look at his game tape from last season….

Tell me, what am I missing in North Carolina State DE Willie Young, who’s considered in some scouting/media circles as a potential first-round pick? Young has eight sacks, six of which came against the likes of Murray State, Gardner-Webb and Wake Forest. He has recorded only one sack over his last six games and doesn’t exhibit the type of strength or body control to make me think he can beat blocks at the next level. He’s an intriguing athlete for his size and possesses good length, but Young has a lot of maturing to do before he can be considered a legit NFL pass rusher….

Every time I watch Notre Dame right tackle Sam Young and LSU left tackle Ciron Black, my opinion of them drops. Both guys have struggled tremendously at times this season, yet both are still considered top-10 offensive tackles in most media circles. The reason: They’ve started the past four seasons at big-time programs and are assumed by most media outlets to be good football players. But when you flip on the tape on each of them, you see a shell of the player you’re expecting to evaluate. At best, both prospects look like backup type linemen in the NFL.

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