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Matt McGuire's 2011 NFL Draft Prospects
Top 5 By Position - Defense

These rankings do not reflect where these players will go in the draft or how I think they will fall in the draft. It is just how good I think these players are on my personal draft board.

I have a key to better understand my star system:
: Elite Prospect
: Top 8 Prospect
: Solid First-Round Prospect
: Fringe First-Round Prospect; Very Strong Round 2 Prospect
: Second-Round Prospect
: Third-Round Prospect
: 4th-5th Round Prospect
: Late Round/Undrafted Free Agent

Matt McGuire's 2011 NFL Draft Prospects:
Top Five Offensive Players By Position

Updated Sept. 2, 2010

4-3 Defensive Ends

  1. Robert Quinn, North Carolina
    Quinn has the talent and potential to go No. 1 overall if he continues his elite production.

  2. Greg Romeus, Pittsburgh
    A little inconsistent, but is still a playmaker who can rush the quarterback and set the edge.

  3. Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
    Great motor and solid talent, but seems to lack that first step.

  4. Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma
    Beal is the jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none defensive end prospect.

  5. Pernell McPhee, Mississippi State
    Flying under the radar, McPhee has great size and had solid productivity in 2009 (12 TFL, 5 sacks, 8 hurries, 56 tackles).

3-4 Defensive Ends

  1. Marcell Dareus, Alabama
    We are still waiting to hear how long Dareus' suspension will be, but there is no doubting he's a top five talent. Has the power and size to be a dominant 5-technique.

  2. Jared Crick, Nebraska
    Crick is 6-6, 285 with very good strength and powerful hands. He'll draw some comparisons to former Husker Adam Carriker (as a prospect).

  3. Allen Bailey, Miami
    Talent is undoubtedly there, but Bailey disappears in games and is very inconsistent. The light might turn on in senior season.

  4. Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
    Lacks great athleticism and has gotten manhandled by inferior talent on tape. Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.

  5. Cameron Jordan, California
    Already plays the 5-technique position in Cal's defense and I love how he gets off blocks.

3-4 Rush Linebackers

  1. Von Miller, Texas A&M
    If high school coaches want to show tape to their defensive linemen on how to set up an offensive tackle and play intelligently, then Von Miller is their guy. Unfortunately, Miller's elite speed and first step can't be duplicated.

  2. Adrian Robinson, Temple
    Highly underrated prospect with good speed and adequate size to be a rush linebacker. Fourteen TFL, 12 sacks and five forced fumbles should get you noticed, but apparently not.

  3. Jack Crawford, Penn State
    Has the frame (6-5, 250) and talent, but needs to be more competitive and physical in the upcoming season.

  4. Akeem Ayers, UCLA
    Reminds me a little bit of Sergio Kindle last season, and needs to live up to the hype. Size, speed and athleticism are all ideal. The game tape isn't.

  5. Cliff Matthews, South Carolina
    Matthews is a force off the edge for the Gamecocks and he'll transition to a 3-4 defense very well in the 2-point stance.

Defensive Tackles

  1. Marcell Dareus, Alabama
    Best fit here is at the 3-technique position where he can use his athleticism, quickness and motor to disrupt upfield.

  2. Jurrell Casey, USC
    Will draw a lot of comparisons to former Trojan Sedrick Ellis, but Casey is slightly more athletic and further along in development than Ellis was as a sophomore.

  3. Jared Crick, Nebraska
    Best fit in the 4-3 is as a 1-technique because he isn't a very good athlete. He uses his size, power and strength to dominate.

  4. Lawrence Guy, Arizona State
    Underclassman who is coming into his own. All of the physical tools are there for him to be a star as a rising prospect.

  5. Marvin Austin, North Carolina
    This grading could be a fourth-rounder if Austin is suspended for most or all of the 2010 season. An overrated prospect getting by on high school combine measureables and for nothing done on the field.

3-4 Nose Tackles

  1. Jerrell Powe, Ole Miss
    Has a huge frame, but isn't out of shape like Terrence Cody. Is a dominant force on the run, but the kicker here is he will be a 24-year-old rookie.

  2. Kenrick Ellis, Hampton
    Oustanding size for the position to clog the middle and does a good job with leverage.

  3. Phil Taylor, Baylor
    Looks the part, but largely an ineffective player who doesn't play as big as he is.

Inside Linebackers

  1. Don'ta Hightower, Alabama
    Recovering from knee injury, but is easily the No. 1 ILB prospect in the country.

  2. Chris Galippo, USC
    There are high expectations in Los Angeles for this blue chip recruit, and we'll see if he lives up to it all. Must make more impact plays.

  3. Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
    Like Marvin Austin, Sturdivant could also be suspended for most or all of 2010.

  4. Kelvin Sheppard, Louisiana State
    If you ranked Sheppard as your No. 2 ILB prospect in the nation, I couldn't argue. He's a very good football player with great instincts. I might be underrating him.

  5. Martez Wilson, Illinois
    Durability is a problem, but the talent is certainly there.

4-3 Outside Linebackers

  1. Travis Lewis, Oklahoma
    One of the best 4-3 outside linebacker prospects we have seen come out probably since A.J. Hawk (when he was regarded as the "safest pick" in the 2006 NFL Draft).

  2. Bruce Carter, North Carolina
    Love his range and closing speed, and is a physical tackler.

  3. Nigel Bradham, Florida State
    Rising star for Florida State, and this school knows how to produce linebackers in the NFL.

  4. Greg Jones, Michigan State
    I can't ask Jones to do that much more than he already does on the field, but when the season is over he needs to bulk up if he wants to be a first-round pick. Great football player.

  5. Mark Herzlich, Boston College
    Herzlich is getting a lot of hype for his 2008 campaign, but for me he is starting all over again having to recover from bone cancer.


  1. Patrick Peterson, LSU
    Top corner prospect with all the talent in the world, but needs to refine his game to attain my elite 5-star grade.

  2. Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
    Could very well be first corner taken in 2011 NFL Draft. Terrific playmaker and is very confident.

  3. Ras-I Dowling, Virginia
    Well-rounded corner prospect with elite size, though he doesn't have the deep speed. Reminds me a little bit of Aqib Talib.

  4. Aaron Williams, Texas
    Williams has the size, athleticism, instincts, body control and ball skills. However, he is a finesse corner and doesn't like getting run at.

  5. Curtis Brown, Texas
    Athleticism and talent is obviously there, but needs to be more productive in 2011.


  1. Rahim Moore, UCLA
    Rangy ballhawk who leads by my safety class at the moment.

  2. DeAndre McDaniel, Clemson
    Might have some character issues, but he's a physical, versatile safety that can play free or strong.

  3. Deunta Williams, North Carolina
    Is also involved in the UNC investigation, but he's proven himself to me on tape over and over to say he's a first-round talent.

  4. Chris Culliver, South Carolina
    Sure tackler with great instincts, Culliver brings a lot of leadership to the South Carolina secondary.

  5. Sean Richardson, Vanderbilt
    I'm a huge Sean Richardson fan. He's a very physical hitter and has a nose for the ball - always seems to be in the play.

NFL Draft Big Board Entries:

Overall 2011 NFL Draft Big Board - 8/23
2011 NFL Draft Big Board: Seniors - 8/23
2011 NFL Draft Big Board: Juniors - 8/23
2011 NFL Draft Top Five by Position: Offense - 9/2
2011 NFL Draft Top Five by Position: Defense - 9/2
Overall 2010 NFL Draft Big Board - 4/22
2010 NFL Draft Top Five by Position: Offense - 4/22
2010 NFL Draft Top Five by Position: Defense - 4/22
Overall 2009 NFL Draft Big Board - 4/24/09
2009 NFL Draft Top Five by Position: Offense - 4/24/09
2009 NFL Draft Top Five by Position: Defense - 4/24/09
2008 NFL Draft Top Five by Position: Offense - 4/24/08
2008 NFL Draft Top Five by Position: Defense - 4/24/08
NFL Draft Big Boards - Home

Matt McGuire's 2010 NFL Draft Prospects:
Top Five Offensive Players By Position

Matt McGuire's 2009 NFL Draft Prospects:
Top Five Defensive Players By Position

Matt McGuire's 2008 NFL Draft Prospects:
Top Five Defensive Players By Position

Matt's 2010 NFL Mock Draft

2010 NFL Mock Draft Database

2010 NFL Draft Prospects

2010 NFL Mock Draft - Walt's

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