Wildcard Draft Class

by Tommy Lawlor  –  http://www.ScoutsNotebook.com

This is really the year of the wildcard.  I can’t recall a draft class with more odd situations in recent years.  Think about some of the 1st round prospects we’re talking about.

* Cam Newton – You can argue that he’s a bust waiting to happen or possibly one of the most talented QBs prospects ever to come along.

* Blaine Gabbert – He looks like a good prospect physically, but in 2 years as a starter in a very QB friendly system he posted 40 TDs and 18 picks.  He only delivered one impressive win (vs OU) in that time and was 0-2 in bowl games (losing to Navy and Iowa).  He’s a franchise QB?

* Marcell Dareus – Very good prospect who has a strong chance to go 2nd overall.  Still, compare him to Ndamukong Suh, who went 2nd overall last year.  Are they even in the same zip code?  Suh took over games and was dominant.  Dareus played in a different system, but had nowhere even close to the same level of impact.  Is he really worth the #2 pick?  Suh was worth #1, but lost out to a QB.

* Nick Fairley – One-year wonder with some other questions.  Still, he is gifted and played great in 2010.

* Da’Quan Bowers – See above.  Bowers questions are mainly medical, but they are serious.  Could go in the first couple of picks, but won’t be on all 32 draft boards due to concerns.

* Robert Quinn – Suspended for the year.  We’re judging him on 2009 tape.

* Adrian Clayborn – Had a great Junior season, but didn’t play as well in 2010.  Now we find out he’s got some potential medical concerns.

* Cameron Heyward – At times he looks like the most dominant lineman in all of college football.  Doesn’t always play up to that.  Plus, he’s coming off surgery.  What’s his value?

* Jimmy Smith – He’s big, fast, and can cover.  He also failed multiple drug tests and had some issues.  He only had 3 career picks.

* Jake Locker – Could go in the Top 20…of Round 1 or 2.  Lots to love, but he’s still an erratic passer.

* Ryan Mallett – Started the year as a Top 10 candidate, but now might slide to the 3rd round due to off-field issues and questions about his maturity.

* Danny Watkins – One of the top interior linemen in the draft, but he will be 27 during the upcoming season.  How the heck to do value him?  Early 2nd round?  Does he slide to the 3rd?

* Marcus Gilchrist – He’s athletic.  He can cover.  No real character issues.  But…he only had 1 INT in his career at Clemson.  How is that possible for a guy with his ability and playing time?

There are other guys I’m not even covering.  The list could go on.  I’m sure teams will find plenty of talented players, but this is just a very odd class.  It should make for an interesting 3 days when the draft does finally get here.  This will really be a Chutes ‘n Ladders draft.  We’ll see more than a few guys going earlier than expected and a handful really sliding.

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