Top 100 prospects for 2011: Part 2

In day two of our 2011 draft preview, we’ll take a look at prospects ranked 11-20 on our top 100 board. Click here to see our top 10 posted Monday.

11. DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State (6-1, 311)
A former rugby standout who plays with impressive leverage and unleashes one of the most compact and powerful punches in the nation. Plus, he possesses an explosive first step when asked to shoot gaps inside and is simply too strong and too sudden to be blocked one-on-one. Paea is still only starting to scratch the surface of his potential, but he looks like an intriguing three-technique option in the NFL.

12. QB Christian Ponder, Florida State (6-3, 227)
If it wasn’t for a late-season shoulder injury, who knows how early Ponder would have come off the board if he had entered the 2010 draft? However, I think it was best for him to go back to school, continue his development at the position and put his best foot forward as a senior. What I love about Ponder is that there’s absolutely no sense of entitlement with this kid. He’s a former three-start recruit who battled through adversity in his early years at Florida State, but because of his work ethic, intelligence and passion, he’s turned himself into one of the more NFL-ready passers in the nation and looks like a legit starting quarterback at the next level.

13. SS DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson (6-1, 210)
A tall, well-built safety who showcases impressive range and closing speed for an athlete of his dimensions in the deep half. What’s even more impressive are his instincts and ability to read and react quickly and instantly find the football. He finished the 2009 season with eight interceptions and possesses the kind of ball skills needed to mature into an impact-caliber defensive back.

14. OLB Bruce Carter, North Carolina (6-3, 230)
To say this guy is a gifted sideline-to-sideline athlete doesn’t do him justice. He absolutely flies around the field and has the range to consistently make plays in pursuit. However, what I like even more about his game is the power he exhibits on contact when asked to take on blocks as he does a nice job lowering his base and playing with proper leverage. He still has a tendency to take himself out of plays and will lose track of the football inside, but I expect him to improve his overall feel for the game with another year of development.

15. DE Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh (6-5, 270)
An athletic-looking, long-armed defensive end prospect who showcases an above-average first step and natural body control for his size. Possesses good power and stack-and-shed ability when asked to play the pass and is really tough to block for an extended period of time. Plus, he has the frame to play the run and projects as a very solid three-down option for an NFL defense.

16. OL Mike Pouncey, Florida (6-5, 320)
Mike is the twin brother of Steelers first-round pick Maurkice Pouncey and possesses a very similar skill set. He exhibits good overall girth and power at the point of attack when asked to anchor and does a nice job sliding his feet and staying on blocks through contact. However, the biggest difference between the two brothers’ play last season was the disparity in overall balance. Mike wasn’t nearly as clean when asked to redirect in space and had a tendency to get a bit over-extended lunging into blocks. Even so, if he can tighten up his footwork and become more patient inside, there’s no reason to think he can’t go somewhere in round one.

17. QB Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M (6-5, 243)
Physically, his still set will make you say, “Wow.” He possesses a tall, strong-looking frame and has the ability to make all the throws, and when he breaks containment, watch out because he’s a load to bring down in the open field. However, what makes Johnson even more intriguing is his development under Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman the past two season. Obviously, he still needs some work, but he really seemed to turn the corner the last two games of the 2009 season, and it will be interesting how far he’s come this offseason.

18. OT Nate Solder, Colorado (6-9, 305)
It’s tough to look past Solder’s physical measurables at this stage because he’s the kind of prospect who makes you wonder just how good he could be. Technically, he’s as raw as they come – which is to be expected from a former high school tight end. However, it’s obvious he has the range and athleticism needed to block on the edge at the next level and is another guy I can’t wait to evaluate next season to see how much development has taken place over the course of the year.

19. DT Drake Nevis, LSU (6-1, 292)
Nevis was far and away the most disruptive defensive lineman on the LSU roster last season, as his explosive first step and natural lower-body strength made him tough to block inside. Pair that with his non-stop motor and ability to consistently gain leverage on contact, and I don’t think it will be long until he starts to get the attention he deserves.

20. RB Noel Devine, West Virginia (5-8, 176)
This might be a little high for a 5-8, 176-pound back, but after looking over the rest of the senior class, there aren’t too many other guys I would rather have on my team. Devine is simply lightning in a bottle, with an ability to make a defender miss in a phone booth and instantly accelerate into daylight. Plus, he did a much better job being patient last year running between the tackles and grinding out tough yards inside. I still don’t think he will ever be an every-down back in the NFL, but he’s a game-changer who will add a dynamic big-play threat to whatever offense drafts him.

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