The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

2011 NFL Draft Big Board: Top 100 Prospects, Individual Position Rankings

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Jonathan Bales

I told you the Big Board was coming soon, and I spent the better part of last night and this morning making sure that was true.  I have put a fair amount of time analyzing each prospect below, particularly the ones I consider to be a good fit in Dallas.

With so many players listed, each of you will be bound to disagree with me somewhere along the way.  Feel free to let me know where you think I went wrong and why.

A few notes:

  • Players with ^^^ behind their name are those on whom I am lower than the general consensus.
  • Players with *** behind their name are those on whom I am higher than the general consensus.
  • Players in bold blue font (or a link) are those I consider to be legitimate targets for Dallas.

Top 100

1. Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

2. Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama

3. A.J. Green, WR, Georgia

4. Robert Quinn, DE, UNC

5. Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia***

6. Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor***

7. Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

8. Tyron Smith, OT, USC

9. Von Miller, OLB, Texas AM

10. Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

11. DaQuan Bowers, DE, Clemson

12. Ben Ijalana, OT/OG, Villanova***

13. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

14. Cameron Jordan, DT, Cal

15. Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin

16. Brandon Harris, CB, Miami***

17. Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

18. Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple***

19. Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

20. Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

21. Martez Wilson, ILB/OLB, Illinois***

22. Drake Nevis, DT, LSU***

23. Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois***

24. Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

25. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

26. Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

27. Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona***

28. Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri

29. Mike Pouncey, C/G, Florida

30. J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

31. Aaron Williams, FS, Texas

32. Titus Young, WR, Boise State

33. Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington***

34. Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

35. Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

36. Marvin Austin, DT, UNC

37. Graig Cooper, RB, Miami***

38. Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA

39. Jaiquawn Jarrett, FS, Temple***

40. Cameron Heyward, DT, Ohio State

41. Dion Lewis, RB, Pitt***

42. Sam Acho, DE, Texas

43. Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame

44. Kendrick Ellis, DT, Hampton

45. Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois^^^

46. Shane Vereen, RB, Cal

47. Rodney Hudson, G, FSU

48. Marcus Gilchrist, FS, Clemson

49. Marcus Cannon, G, TCU

50. William Rackley, G, Lehigh

51. Curtis Brown, CB, Texas

52. Christian Ballard, DT, Iowa

53. Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

54. Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami

55. Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State***

56. Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee

57. Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pitt

58. Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue^^^

59. Allen Bailey, DT, Miami

60. Chris Culliver, FS, South Carolina

61. Deunta Williams, S, UNC

62. DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma

63. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State

64. Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky

65. Curtis Marsh, CB, Utah State

66. Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pitt^^^

67. Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State

68. Clint Boling, G, Georgia

69. Danny Watkins, G, Baylor^^^

70. Niles Paul, WR, Nebraska

71. James Carpenter, OT, Alabama

72. Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan State

73. Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy

74. Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland

75. Quan Sturdivant, OLB, UNC

76. Willie Smith, OT, East Carolina

77. Brandon Burton, CB, Utah

78. Nate Solder, OT, Colorado^^^

79. Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU

80. Jordan Cameron, TE, USC

81. Quinton Carter, FS, Oklahoma

82. Ahmad Black, S, Florida

83. Stanley Havili, FB, USC

84. Bruce Carter, OLB, UNC

85. Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada

86. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech***

87. Dontay Moch, OLB, Nevada

88. DJ Williams, TE, Arkansas

89. Kelvin Sheppard, ILB, LSU

90. Buster Skrine, CB, UT-Chattanooga***

91. Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech

92. Owen Marecic, FB, Stanford

93. Rob Housler, TE, Florida Atlantic***

94. DeAndre McDaniel, S, Clemson

95. Mason Foster, OLB, Washington

96. Tyler Sash, S, Iowa

97. Jason Pinkston, G, Pitt

98. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC

99. DeMarcus Love, G, Arkansas

100. Henry Hynoski, FB, Pitt

Please note that this list will change before the draft, but not dramatically.  I’m not one to put too much stock into Pro Days, so any shifts will likely be the result of reviewing more film.

Individual Position Rankings

Note: For the most part, the only players listed are those in my Top 100, but a few positions contain some “extras.”

QB

  • 1. Cam Newton, QB, Auburn
  • 2. Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri
  • 3. Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
  • 4. Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
  • 5. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech***
  • 6. Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama
  • 7. Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware
  • 8. Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas^^^
  • 9. Andy Dalton, QB, TCU
  • 10. Ricky Stanzi, QB, Iowa
  • 11. Jake Locker, QB, Washington^^^

Notes

  • Newton is a boom-or-bust guy, but you can’t deny his skill set.  He has some maturing to do, but I don’t see JaMarcus Russell in him.
  • I think Taylor can play quarterback.  He needs to go to a team that will mold the system around him.
  • Mallett reminds me so much of Ryan Leaf.  He’s really immature, plus I don’t like immobile quarterbacks.
  • If you are going to be inaccurate, you better be an incredible athlete.  Locker’s athleticism is good, but not enough to make up for his accuracy issues.

RB

  • 1. Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois
  • 2. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
  • 3. Taiwan Jones, RB, Eastern Washington***
  • 4. Graig Cooper, RB, Miami***
  • 5. Dion Lewis, RB, Pitt***
  • 6. Shane Vereen, RB, Cal
  • 7. Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State***
  • 8. DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
  • 9. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State
  • 10. Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech^^^
  • 11. Derrick Locke, RB, Kentucky
  • 12. Jordan Todman, RB, UConn
  • 13. Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
  • 14. DaRel Scott, RB, Maryland
  • 15. Jamie Harper, RB, Clemson
  • 16. Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse^^^

Notes

  • My running back rankings deviate quite a bit from the norm.  The quality of backs in the middle rounds (from Jones to Rodgers) is astounding.  I like all seven of those backs.
  • Watch the video of Taiwan Jones below and tell me you don’t want this kid on the Cowboys.   I understand the concerns about competition. . .but I don’t care.

WR

  • 1. A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
  • 2. Julio Jones, WR, Alabama
  • 3. Titus Young, WR, Boise State
  • 4. Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami***
  • 5. Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky
  • 6. Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pitt^^^
  • 7. Niles Paul, WR, Nebraska
  • 8. Jerrel Jernigan, WR, Troy
  • 9. Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland
  • 10. Austin Pettis, WR, Boise State
  • 11. Edmund Gates, WR, Abilene Christian
  • 12. Jeff Maehl, WR, Oregon***
  • 13. Greg Little, WR, UNC
  • 14. Terrance Toliver, WR, LSU
  • 15. Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego State^^^
  • 16. Tandon Doss, WR, Indiana
  • 17. DeAndre Brown, WR, Southern Miss

Notes

  • Baldwin reminds me of Calvin Johnson without the production.  So he’s just big and horrible out of his breaks.
  • Jernigan and Brown are very small without elite speed.  They can produce in the slot, but small + (relatively) slow is never good.
  • Maehl had a 3.94 short-shuttle, which is outstanding.

TE

  • 1. Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame
  • 2. Luke Stocker, TE, Tennessee
  • 3. Jordan Cameron, TE, USC
  • 4. DJ Williams, TE, Arkansas
  • 5. Rob Housler, TE, Florida Atlantic***

Notes

  • Rudolph is by far the top blocking/receiving combination tight end.
  • Housler really impressed me at the Combine.  He’s really small, but he could be a matchup nightmare.

OT

  • 1. Tyron Smith, OT, USC
  • 2. Ben Ijalana, OT, Villanova***
  • 3. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
  • 4. Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
  • 5. Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
  • 6. James Carpenter, OT, Alabama
  • 7. Willie Smith, OT, East Carolina***
  • 8. Nate Solder, OT, Colorado^^^
  • 9. Joseph Barksdale, OT, LSU

Notes

  • Smith and Ijalana are the future of offensive linemen in the NFL.
  • Even though I have Sherrod rated at No. 24 on my Big Board, I think he’s a second-round talent.
  • I wouldn’t touch Solder and his inability to bend until the fourth-round.

G/C

  • 1. Mike Pouncey, G/C, Florida
  • 2. Rodney Hudson, G, FSU
  • 3. Marcus Cannon, G, TCU
  • 4. William Rackley, G, Lehigh
  • 5. Clint Boling, G, Georgia
  • 6. Danny Watkins, G, Baylor^^^
  • 7. Jason Pinkston, G, Pitt
  • 8. DeMarcus Love, G, Arkansas
  • 9. Stefen Wiskiewski, C, Penn State^^^

Notes

  • Pouncey could get drafted too high because his brother had success in the NFL in 2010, but he’s still a really good player.  I think he projects as a guard.
  • Rackley is a small-school kid with big-time talent.  Don’t be surprised to see him in a Pro Bowl within five years.  He reminds me much of former-Bloomsburg guard Jahri Evans.

DE

  • 1. Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, UNC
  • 2. Justin Houston, DE, Georgia***
  • 3. DaQuan Bowers, DE, Clemson
  • 4. Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa
  • 5. Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona***
  • 6. Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri
  • 7. Sam Acho, DE/OLB, Texas
  • 8. Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pitt
  • 9. Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue^^^

Notes

  • Reed is this year’s Jason Worilds–a quick-twitch athlete with an explosive first step.  People thought I was crazy when I told you Worilds would go in the second-round, but he did.  Reed will be, at worst, a mid-second-rounder, and he has a shot to go in the first.
  • I don’t care what size Clayborn’s arms are, he can rush the passer.
  • I don’t see where Kerrigan will be able to play.  He’s really small for even a 4-3 defensive end, and he’s not athletic enough to be a rush-linebacker in a 3-4.

DT

  • 1. Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
  • 2. Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor***
  • 3. Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
  • 4. Cameron Jordan, DT, Cal
  • 5. Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple***
  • 6. Drake Nevis, DT, LSU***
  • 7. JJ Watt, DT,  Wisconsin
  • 8. Marvin Austin, DT, UNC
  • 9. Cameron Heyward, DT, Ohio State
  • 10. Kendrick Ellis, NT, Hampton
  • 11. Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois^^^
  • 12. Christian Ballard, DT, Iowa
  • 13. Stephen Paea, NT, Oregon State^^^
  • 14. Allen Bailey, DT, Miami

Notes

  • This group is stacked.  I have a late-first-round grade on Wilkerson and he’s my fifth-rate defensive tackle.  There’s an outside shot that eight or nine of these guys go in the first-round–insane.
  • Even though I did scouting reports on Nevis and Liuget, I’m not sure how well they could fit into a 3-4 scheme.  They both seem more like three-technique players to me.

OLB

  • 1. Von Miller, OLB, Texas A and M
  • 2. Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
  • 3. Quan Sturdivant, OLB, UNC
  • 4. Bruce Carter, OLB, UNC
  • 5. Dontay Moch, DE/OLB, Nevada
  • 6. Mason Foster, OLB, Washington

Notes

  • This group is very weak.  Only Miller is a first-round talent, in my opinion.
  • Moch has tremendous upside, but he’s incredibly raw.

ILB

  • 1. Martez Wilson, ILB/OLB, Illinois***
  • 2. Greg Jones, ILB, Michigan State
  • 3. Kelvin Sheppard, ILB, LSU

Notes

  • I only rated three of these guys because, well, the rest of the inside linebackers are pretty awful.
  • Wilson’s versatility is why I have him rated so high.  He can play inside or be a 3-4 rush linebacker. . .and do both well.
  • Jones’ Combine numbers were horrible, but he’s a guy that just produces.  He reminds me of Keith Brooking (the 2009 version).

CB

  • 1. Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU
  • 2. Brandon Harris, CB, Miami***
  • 3. Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
  • 4. Jimmy Smith, CB Colorado
  • 5. Curtis Brown, CB, Texas
  • 6. Curtis Marsh, CB, Utah State
  • 7. Brandon Burton, CB, Utah
  • 8. Buster Skrine, CB, UT-Chattanooga***
  • 9. Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech

Notes

  • You’ll notice the absence of Aaron Williams.  I see him as the draft’s top free safety (assuming Peterson and Amukamara don’t move).
  • This cornerback class was hyped early, but it isn’t all that great.  There are three legitimate impact players, a guy who can’t tackle to save his life, and a bunch of mid-round talents.

S

  • 1. Aaron Williams, FS, Texas
  • 2. Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA
  • 3. Jaiquawn Jarrett, FS, Temple***
  • 4. Marcus Gilchrist, FS, Clemson
  • 5. Chris Culliver, FS, South Carolina
  • 6. Deunta Williams, SS, UNC
  • 7. Quinton Carter, FS, Oklahoma
  • 8. Ahmad Black, SS, Florida
  • 9. DeAndre McDaniel, SS, Clemson
  • 10. Tyler Sash, SS, Iowa

Notes

  • After originally being down on Williams as a cornerback, I like his potential in the back of the secondary.
  • Culliver intrigues me.  I think he has the highest upside of any safety in the draft.
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12 Responses to 2011 NFL Draft Big Board: Top 100 Prospects, Individual Position Rankings

  1. willis says:

    WOW…. this is my favorite part of the season!!!!!

  2. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Nice…

    I have the TOP 4 exactly as you do (I actually thought I was the only one who thought Quinn was that good). I have Von Miller at 5 and Fairley at 6. Those 6 are the ONLY propspects that I think have ELITE talent in the draft (ie. more than a 3 time pro bowler). Von Miller is going to be a BEAST! Patrick Peterson has the speed to be a CB but really would be better than Bryan Dawkins if he were moved to FS.

    EVeryone else will be solid to average, with flashes of elite from time to time. I would seriously doubt that anyone between 7 and 100 (with about 5-8 exceptions of course) will attain more than 2 pro bowl seasons.

    Other major differences I have are that JJ Watt seems to be better than 30th (probably around 17 or 18), Dion Lewis is not better than DeMarco Murray and Nate Solder shouldn’t even be in the Top 100 (that guy is gonna be marginal at best unless he’s paired with a REAL good O line coach – mark my words).

    There are some guys who intrigue me further down the list – Owen Marecic will be a nice 4th round grab, Jake Locker is going to be better than most think and Jerrel Jernigan will be the steal of the draft if he goes in the 3rd or later.

    Just my opinion

  3. Michael Sloan says:

    I think Taiwan Jones is impressive. RB’s like Chris Johnson are faster, but I haven’t seen any that has the same ability to stop on a dime, then just take off like a rocket, change directions and seem to do it all so naturally. Haven’t seen too many fast RB’s that play faster than Taiwan. He has balance and vision, just knows which way to go right through multiple tacklers. So the competition isn’t the best, you can’t help but get excited watching this guy run. And he has only been a RB for two years.

    Reminds me of several great RB’s, Emmitt, Barry and OJ. He runs very similar to OJ. You have him as a top 2nd rounder, but many others think more like 3rd or 4th because he might be injury prone, lack of competition, some off the field issues, poor academics with a learning disorder, dyslexia or something. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Boys get this kid. He is a football player, not just another fast athlete.

    Great site, by the way. I have to say, your stats and analysis are very impressive and the hard work you must put in it is appreciated. I have yet to see any other site going to these lengths to get these kind of results.

    And it is very refreshing not to read the same old tired redundant reports and “opinions” by so called draft analysts that have an sports media agenda to sell their articles so they overhype all these players to stir up excitement and drama.

    There was a time I had a lot of respect for Gil Brandt. When he proclaimed that Cam Newton should be the first overall pick in this draft by Carolina, I couldn’t believe it. I can’t imagine he has any objectivity left. He’s turned into the rest of them.

    Also, it’s nice for a change not to deal with all the hatred and wild claims driven by propaganda and ignorance that is usually associated with any Cowboys related sites.

    Well done!

  4. Michael–Thanks a bunch for all the kind words. I’m glad you appreciate the effort. As far as Taiwan…I think the Cowboys have bigger holes to address, but if he drops into the 4th round, I’d take a really hard look. He’d be a tremendous insurance policy for Felix Jones.

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  8. moses says:

    Quick question:

    I love the list and the legend that you have defining the ^^^ and ***, but what do the players names in the light blue font mean?

    I know that the dark blue means a possible Dallas selection

  9. Moses–I believe the light blue are just links to the scouting reports I’ve done on those players.

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