The Best Available in the NFL Draft: Nos. 30-21

By John Harris
March 17, 2011

30. Mike Pouncey

Florida C/G
Size: 6'5" 310 lbs.

What I Like
Tough... epitome of a football player... excellent feet... loves swapping paint with defensive linemen... plays with a good base and feet positioning... has leadership qualities that teams covet... explosive off the ball on downblocks... can pull from either guard or center position... strikes hard when he explodes off the ball

What I Don't
Plays a bit high... doesn't play with the leverage you'd like to see from an OL... can get overextended blocking on run plays... doesn't move DTs off the board when DT is in nose or shade nose... doesn't move his feet exceptionally well when he makes first contact, so he doesn't get a great amount of movement, especially against DTs that play under his pads.

Conclusion
I'll just be clear up front, I think his brother Maurkice is a better player. I don't say that to be flippant about Mike, but he might be a tough guy to value because of how good his brother was in 2010 for the Steelers. Regardless, the center experiment didn't go as well as Mike would've liked, but it did help to provide a little versatility to his game. Mike is a tough cat, moves extremely well, loves to compete and teams will love the fact that his identical twin was a bad ass last year as a rookie.

29. Ryan Mallett

Arkansas QB
Size: 6'7 235 lbs.

What I Like
Size and arm... arm and size... tight ball when it comes out of his hand... throws the deep ball better than any other quarterback in this draft, from a distance and accuracy standpoint... he's played in more conventional, NFL-ready offense than other quarterbacks ahead of him... there isn't a throw he can't make, given enough time in the pocket to throw

What I Don't
Technique-wise, he's a mess... doesn't set his feet to make throw... decision making is questionable at best... he hurt his team with poor throws... has a long wind up when he's throwing the ball... takes too long for the ball to come out of his hand... sometimes he can be over-emotional

Conclusion
He still has a top notch arm and the confidence to use it. He's going to be more pro-ready than other QBs due to his experience in Bobby Petrino's offense and taking snaps under center. He should be a top 3 QB, but has been so up and down that teams at the top of the draft board will shy away from him. The rumors have dogged him for a while, but what I've seen on the field merits consideration in the first round. He loves this game, that much I know, but what the other off the field issues unearth can complete determine his fate. Consequently, he's not Ryan Leaf, but he's not Peyton Manning either.

28. Rahim Moore

UCLA S
Size: 6' 202 lbs.

What I Like
The best center fielder in this draft... plays from hash to hash and numbers to numbers as well as any safety we've seen in a while... tremendous ball skills... had 10 interceptions as a sophomore... consistently around the ball... great understanding of passing routes and concepts... covers a ton of ground in the middle of the field... love his playmaking ability and teams that value turnovers will love his game

What I Don't
Not a specimen like Sean Taylor... not a hitter like LaRon Landry... not as willing to come mix it up in the alley like Polamalu... if a receiver gets hands on him in the run game, he's not able to get off the block in space...not going to be a great tackler... didn't have a tremendous 2010 season and there are those who think he was caught looking ahead to the NFL

Conclusion
Now, he's not known for his ability to make plays in the run game, but he's not a complete liability in the run game. The true fact of the matter is that he's the best ballhawk in this draft. I love everything about Moore in the passing game and I'd rather have a guy who is outstanding making plays in the middle of the field against the pass.

27. Nate Solder

Colorado OT
Size: 6'8" 315 lbs.

What I Like
Tall, long armed former tight end... typically has good feet... best football is still ahead of him... can't teach long and tall with gargantuan arms... never had much help at Colorado... was on his own most times... lived out on an island for much of his career... when he pulls out to the edge, he's looking to plant a defender on his back... aggressive nature and perfect football demeanor

What I Don't
Has tendency to play high... doesn't redirect well at all... players with speed on the edge can give him trouble with a two way go... inside moves killed him when a pass rusher had a two-way go... quickness on inside rush is his kryptonite, no question.

Conclusion
His size and dimensions should indicate a top 5 pick, but his game hasn't developed to that point just yet. He has potential to get much better and will be a true left tackle. He doesn't dominate in the run game and is adequate in pass protection. But, when he pass sets, NFL rushers will kill him inside. When he makes adjustments with good NFL coaching, he can be a solid 10 to 12 year player in this league

26. Jimmy Smith

Colorado CB
Size: 6'2" 205 lbs.

What I Like
Had a guy call me after seeing Smith up close and personal this season and said he had the most NFL ready body he's seen... hard to not think a guy this size and this speed can't be a player at the next level... good technique in press man... fluid athlete in coverage... great high point player... love his ability to make plays on special teams.

What I Don't
Off the field issues... may have lied at the Combine about his past transgressions... question his overall maturity/readiness to be a professional athlete... seems rigid in his technique on occasion... he knows what to do with different man coverage techniques, but receivers still get open on him... often will come up and whiff on tackles... doesn't play as physical as his size would indicate.

Conclusion
A couple of things stand out about Smith. One, a guy of this size should've been a dominating corner in a conference like the Big 12. He wasn't. He was a fine player with a ton of potential. Two, he's had off the field issues, a major red flag, but making it worse was the fact that he lied about it at the Combine. He's been taken off boards for some teams (Detroit), but as a player, he's got ability, but I didn't see the production that matched his size and speed while at Colorado.

25. Adrian Clayborn

Iowa DE
Size: 6'4" 275 lbs.

What I Like
Does a lot of things well... strong at the point of attack, especially against the run... was the focus of nearly every opponent's game plan this season... often doubled or 'chipped' on his pass rush... well coached and good with his hands... quiet leader who 'speaks' with his play on the field

What I Don't
Does a lot of things well, but he doesn't truly stand out with any of them... good pass rusher, not great... good against the run, but not great... decent burst, but not explosive.

Conclusion
Clayborn can play either 3-4 DE or 4-3 DE. He may need a few more lbs to be 3-4 DE, but has the body frame to carry 5 to 10 more pounds. He doesn't dominate at any one things,; he plays the run well, but not sensational. He rushes the QB well, but doesn't remind you of DeMarcus Ware. As such, he's good at everything, but not great at anything. However, he's dependable, well coached and a great young man (met him at Rotary Lombardi Award event in December and truly enjoyed his company)

24. Cameron Heyward

Ohio State DE/DT
Size: 6'5" 288 lbs.

What I Like
Similar to a number of others in this draft, versatility is a major key... can play the 5 technique with his quickness and strength, but can also transition inside on passing downs as he did at Ohio State... plays hard and with passion... strong at the point of attack... holds the edge well... won't get turned on the edge against the run... strong upper body... better pass rusher inside than outside

What I Don't
Not a great pass rusher from the outside... doesn't have immense burst off the ball... needs to be more consistent against guys he can dominate... pass rush skills are good, not great against tackles

Conclusion
3-4 DE don't grow on trees, so his value as a 3-4 DE is a huge. His versatility is both a blessing and a curse in college, but when he becomes a 3-4 DE for good, he'll excel. He's not flashy or terribly exciting, but was productive in big games (Sugar Bowl, in particular). Similar to both Jordan and Watt, I think Heyward has the athletic ability to be a 4-3 DE on the left side, especially so if there is an effective pass rusher on the other side.

23. Gabe Carimi

Wisconsin OT
Size: 6'7" 315 lbs.

What I Like
Power... gets off the ball and enjoys hitting guys in the mouth... could transition over to right tackle in the future, but that might ultimately be in his best interests... good base on contact... if he gets his hands on you, you're done... confident but not cocky... has a ton of experience playing in a zone blocking scheme... excellent understanding of positioning and feet in a ZBS... great transitioning in ZBS to linemen inside of him on plays away from him.

What I Don't
Pass protection needs some work against guys with some burst off the edge... like his initial pass set and push away from the line of scrimmage, but if that defensive end has some "oomph", Carimi truly struggles... gets overextended against speed rushers, even crossing his feet to stay with the speed rushers... can lose leverage by playing a bit too high, especially on run plays

Conclusion
Carimi struggled (as the whole Wisconsin line did) in the first portion of the season, but found a groove after the Michigan State game. He then righted the ship and performed well against Ohio State's Cam Heyward and Iowa's Adrian Clayborn. But, neither one of those guys possesses impressive speed off the edge. Taking it all into account, I like Carimi at the next level as a right tackle, starting from day one. I just think his inability to handle speed rushers is conducive to him going over to the right side.

22. Brandon Harris

Miami CB
Size: 5'11" 190 lbs.

What I Like
Typical South Florida perimeter player... cocksure... tough... physical... loves to play man coverage... willing tackler... showed effective straight line speed at the combine... fluid athlete... only burned once this season for a touchdown... like him better in press than in off coverage... good football instincts... does a solid job matching cuts on receivers... often matched up on team's best receiver.

What I Don't
Didn't make as many plays this year... production was down... bigger receivers won physical matchups with him consistently... can play slower than his straight line speed... aggressive player who'll take some chances at inopportune times

Conclusion
I like Harris more so than some people. I really like his competitiveness and his desire on the field. He plays the game the way you'd want a professional to play. He strikes me as a guy who loves to play the game. Those are all traits that teams want in a draft pick. If he had Jimmy Smith's size, I'd have him right behind Patrick Peterson in the top 10. As such, a good team with a need at corner is truly going to love Harris in the mid to late 20s in this draft.

21. Justin Houston

Georgia OLB
Size: 6'3" 270 lbs.

What I Like
Shot out of the cannon coming off the snap... burst is insane... plays more like a guy 240 than a guy 270... plays just as well standing up as he does putting his hand on the ground... made for a 3-4 OLB position... utilizes a strong rip under move when rushing the quarterback, which frees him nearly every time rushing the quarterback

What I Don't
Seemingly takes plays off... motor isn't always going 100 miles per hour... can he drop into coverage in a 3-4... don't think he can play tackles and tight ends in the run game in a 4-3... if he can't beat a tackle with speed, he doesn't have a pet move to go to on the pass rush... may struggle mightily as a 4-3 DE or a 4-3 OLB... distinctly better playing with his hand on the ground than from stand-up position

Conclusion
Quite simply, he has a tremendous edge presence. He has great burst off the edge, but he doesn't have quite as much ability/size/4-3 DE acumen as Robert Quinn from North Carolina. But, a 3-4 team will love his athletic ability. Now, he's more athlete than football player, but in due time, he's going to be a player.

Photo: NationalChamps.net

Comment

Scouting Dept.

Kony Ealy
Overall Rank: #24

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