NFL Draft: Justin Houston Picked No. 70 By Kansas City In ACC-Heavy Friday

Southeastern schools produced over a third of the 2011 NFL Draft's first round, with the SEC sending 10 players to the stage.

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NFL Draft Results: Justin Houston Joins Young Kansas City Chiefs Defense

Justin Houston had to wait a while to hear his name called in the 2011 NFL Draft, but his landing place might have been worth the wait. For his trouble, he wound up going No. 70 to the Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL's most SEC-friendly team, a club whose 3-4 system will be able to take advantage of his versatility and a roster stocked with plenty of other young defenders from Eric Berry to Glenn Dorsey.

Character concerns likely limited Houston's draft stock -- he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Combine after being suspended for two games in 2009 due to substance abuse. Atlanta Falcons fans had been coveting him for several picks and hoping he'd continue to drop.

For more on the pick, join Arrowhead Pride and Dawg Sports.

SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with the 2011 NFL Draft: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. For more Atlanta Falcons draft discussion, join The Falcoholic.

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NFL Draft Results: Round Two Concludes With 12 ACC Picks, SEC Nearly Shut Out

The ACC made up for its dismal 2011 NFL Draft first round showing, producing more than a third of the players on the second round list. The North Carolina Tar Heels and Clemson Tigers sent three each, with the Miami Hurricanes contributing another two.

Da'Quan Bowers finally went off the board at No. 51 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Teammates DL Jarvis Jenkins and CB Marcus Gilchrist joined the Redskins and Chargers respectively. UNC star DT Marvin Austin, another draft board stumbler, wound up a member of the Giants -- they apparently need more defensive linemen! LB Bruce Carter went to the Cowboys, and the Browns took WR Greg Little with the pick they got from the Falcons.

Even more curious than the ACC's second-round bounty? Just two SEC players went off the board, and they were the last two: Florida OL Marcus Gilbert, to Pittsburgh, and Kentucky WR Randall Cobb, to Green Bay. Drake Nevis, Ryan Mallett, Justin Houston and Clint Boling have to be coming up soon and very likely in the fourth round.

The second round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 6 p.m. (ET) on Friday, April 29, and SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with it: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. For more Atlanta Falcons draft discussion, join The Falcoholic.

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2011 NFL Draft: Second Round Could Be Full Of SEC Players As Well

We saw 10 SEC players drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft on Thursday, which is a pretty high number considering there are only 32 first round picks. The second and third rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, and there figure to be plenty of SEC players represented in those rounds as well. SB Nation has come out with their second round mock draft, and they have six SEC players projected to go in the next 32 picks. That's not quite as high as 10 obviously, but still pretty impressive. 

The six players they expect to be drafted are Florida tackle Marcus Gilbert, Kentucky WR Randall Cobb, Georgia guard Clint Boling, LSU DT Drake Nevis, Georgia linebacker Justin Houston, and Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett. As always, I wouldn't be surprised if a few more SEC players snuck into the second round because I'm sure that GM's trust that conference to produce quality NFL players.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28, and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare: NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it out at SB Nation's NFL Draft page and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking the Draft.

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2011 NFL Draft Grades: Evaluating The Teams That Took SEC Players

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft is in the books, and like always, there was plenty of talent from the SEC going early. The fellas over at SB Nation have graded out each pick in the first round. Here is how the teams that took SEC players did.

The very first pick in the draft was Auburn quarterback Cam newton by the Carolina Panthers. SB Nation gave the pick an underwhelming C+.

QB Cam Newton is now the face of the Panthers franchise, but I fear that early pressure to play Newton before he's ready could really put a serious damper on his development. Very risky situation for player and team.

The next SEC player came off the board just two picks later with Alabama DT Marcell Dareus heading to the Buffalo Bills. By all accounts, this was a safe and solid pick. SB Nation gave it a B+.

It has been a while since the Bills made a sensible pick in the first round; DE Marcell Dareus addresses the league's worst run defense. That's big buck to pay a five-technique end, however.

Dareus started a run of four straight SEC players. The next was Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, who was considered one of the best players in the draft. SB Nation gave the Bengals pick an A-.

I firmly believe that the Bengals selected the best player in this year's draft in WR A.J. Green. The positional value is the only thing keeping this pick from being a full-blown A.

The Arizona Cardinals picked up LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson with the fifth overall pick. SB Nation gave them a B+.

The Cardinals made CB Patrick Peterson - arguably the best prospect available this year - the No. 5 overall pick. They'll team him with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to form one of the league's elite young cornerback tandems.

The Atlanta Falcons, as we all know, traded way up in the first round to take Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones with the sixth overall pick in the draft. SB Nation thinks that they might have paid a little bit too much for him; they gave the pick a B-.

Atlanta traded up 21 spots, all the way to No. 6 overall, to select WR Julio Jones. It was a bold move that will make the Falcons' offense very difficult to defend. The price paid to move up (three picks this year, two next year, including a first-rounder) knocks this grade down just a touch.

The next SEC player was Newton's Auburn teammate Nick Fairley, who went to the Detroit Lions at No. 13. There, he'll form one of the best young DT duos in recent memory with last year's No. 2 overall pick Ndamukong Suh. SB Nation gave them a legit A.

The Lions are one of two teams to get my top grade. Detroit is turning their franchise around because they're not filling holes, they're drafting football players. Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh could become a truly legendary DT combination.

Mike Pouncey went to the Dolphins two picks later at No. 15. SB Nation thinks this might have been a little bit too high for him; they gave the pick a C+.

Rather than reach on a risky quarterback, the Dolphins stood pat and took a plug-and-play interior lineman. I'm not big on OG Mike Pouncey - I think he's pretty average - but he was a smart investment for Miami.

The next SEC selection was also possibly the biggest reach of the first round; the Seahawks taking Alabama tackle James Carpenter. SB Nation was not a huge fan of that pick, they gave it a C.

OT James Carpenter had been mentioned as a sleeper first-round candidate for weeks, and the Seahawks had a big need along the offensive line. Beyond that, it's just tough to get excited about this pick.

The penultimate SEC selection was former Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram, who went to the New Orleans Saints after they trade back into the first round at No. 28. SB Nation was a big fan of that pick, and the other selection the Saints made in Cameron Jordan. They got an A.

Holy value, Batman. I had DE Cameron Jordan graded as a Top 10 pick; he's a perfect fit for Gregg Williams. Then they trade back up to get the guy they'd have taken had Jordan not fallen into their laps in RB Mark Ingram. Sure, they traded away a second-round pick and next year's first-rounder, but they've set themselves up to be Super Bowl favorites right alongside Green Bay this year.

The final SEC pick in the first round was the last one. The Green bay Packers took Derek Sherrod with the 32nd pick in the first round. SB Nation gave the pick a B-.

OT Derek Sherrod certainly wasn't an exciting finish to Round 1, but he's an excellent and experienced prospect that fits Green Bay's offensive system very well.

The SEC boasted nearly a third of all the first round picks, which is just about par for the course. And they also had some of the most successful picks in the Draft.

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NFL Draft 2011 Second Round Mock Drafts Agree On Da'Quan Bowers, Not Justin Houston

SBNation.com's Brian Galliford has already cranked out a mock draft for the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft; Mocking The Draft has a round two mock of its own. As the Atlanta Falcons are out of round No. 2 after the Julio Jones trade, around these parts we're mainly concerned with where SEC players end up. And ACC players too, I guess.

Da'Quan Bowers is the biggest name left overall -- both mock drafts have him going No. 37 to Cleveland, where he'll join A.J. Green. Click for more ACC players if you're into that.

Galliford has Florida OT Marcus Gilbert, a one-time Falcons interest, going No. 43 to Minnesota, followed by Georgia's Clint Boling at No. 51 to Tampa Bay and Justin Houston at No. 55 to Kansas City. Ryan Mallett tumbles all the way to Seattle at No. 57, while Kentucky WR Randall Cobb and LSU DT Drake Nevis also come off the board.

In MTD's mock, Houston is the first pick to come down, joining New England at No. 33. They've also got Cobb going earlier and Mallett going to ... Indianapolis! Peyton Manning's not getting any younger, friends. 

The second round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 6 p.m. (ET) on Friday, April 29, and SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with it: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. For more Atlanta Falcons draft discussion, join The Falcoholic.

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2011 NFL Draft Results: Christian Ponder, Robert Quinn Lead ACC Draftees

The list of ACC representatives among the 2011 NFL Draft's first-round results isn't half as impressive as the SEC's, but the conference still sent a decent share of talent to the pros. Not quite up to its usual standards though, as only three made it in. The massive slide by Clemson Tigers DE Da'Quan Bowers damaged the conference's standing. At one point he was considered a top-five pick, and yet he remains up for grabs entering round two.

Florida St. Seminoles QB Christian Ponder was a surprise Minnesota pick at 12, becoming the first ACC player off the board. He was followed by North Carolina Tar Heels DE Robert Quinn at No. 14 to St. Louis -- there's another guy who was expected to be top 10 at worst. Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo closed out the ACC's participation for the day, going No. 22 to Indianapolis. 

The second round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 6 p.m. (ET) on Friday, April 29, and SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with it: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. For more Atlanta Falcons draft discussion, join The Falcoholic.

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NFL Draft Results: Cam Newton, Marcell Dareus Headline SEC First-Round Crop

As projected, the SEC sent nearly an entire starting lineup worth of talent to the the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, including the No. 1 overall and five of the first six. The state of Alabama itself sent six players -- for perspective, the entire Big Ten sent six, with the Big 12 and Pac-12 turning out five each.

Cam Newton took the top spot, while Auburn Tigers cohort Nick Fairley tumbled to the Detroit Lions at No. 13. Which means he's now paired with Ndamukong Suh, causing the Metrodome to cave in on itself all over again. The Alabama Crimson Tide sent Marcell Dareus at No. 2 (Denver), Julio Jones at No. 6 (Atlanta), James Carpenter at No. 25 (Seattle), and Mark Ingram at No. 28 (New Orleans).

The Georgia Bulldogs and LSU Tigers also boast top-five picks, with A.J. Green and Patrick Peterson coming off the board for Cincinnati and Arizona. Mississippi St. Bulldogs OT Derek Sherrod provided the round's bookend, going No. 32 to the Super Bowl champs, and Florida Gators OG Mike Pouncey went No. 15 to Miami.

Thus Newton, Jones and Ingram will remain in SEC country for their NFL careers, with Pouncey moving into contested territory.

SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with the 2011 NFL Draft: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. For more Atlanta Falcons draft discussion, join The Falcoholic.

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Julio Jones To The Atlanta Falcons In Major Trade With Cleveland, NFL Draft Results

Make no mistake: The Atlanta Falcons believe that their future is right now, moving from 27th to 6th in a trade with the Cleveland Browns to take Alabama's Julio Jones. To get the Crimson Tide wideout the Falcons gave up their 2011 first, second and fourth round picks, as well as their first and fourth picks in 2012 to add a complimentary weapon to Roddy White in Matt Ryan's arsenal.

A deal as heavy as this one changes the narrative of this story away from Jones and directly to Falcons' GM Thomas Dimitroff. With other, more assumed "apparent" needs on this team (defensive back, defensive end) Dimitroff is mortgaging the team's future to gamble on Jones. That's no knock on this raw, powerful receiver, because when five picks - two first rounders - are spent on any single player, everyone is a gamble.

UPDATED: White, the Falcons' unofficial social media publicist, has both welcomed Jones and groused that the Falcons have "given up their draft."

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft started at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th, and SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with it: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation’s NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. For more Atlanta Falcons draft discussion, join The Falcoholic.

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2011 NFL Draft: Patrick Peterson to Arizona

The Arizona Cardinals certainly know who the hell Mel Kiper is - LSU corner and return specialist Patrick Peterson, the coifed one's overall most coveted player in this draft, is off the board at #5. Peterson certainly wasn't championed by Kiper alone - his skill set as a punt and kick returner with breakaway speed, as well as his potential to become a rare lockdown corner.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft started at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th, and SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with it: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation’s NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. For more Atlanta Falcons draft discussion, join The Falcoholic.

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2011 NFL Draft: Georgia's A.J. Green a Bengal, Alabama's Marcell Dareus To Buffalo

After a hiccup in Texas A&M's Von Miller going to Denver, the SEC returned to hold serve in the NFL Draft's Top 10 picks. Naturally the Crimson Tide followed Auburn, as defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was "rewarded" for an all-conference career by being drafted to the Buffalo Bills. 

Immediately after, the Bengals sent a possible messaged to estranged starting quarterback Carson Palmer - and subsequently media mogul and sometimes wideout Chad Ochocinco - by drafting Georgia's A.J. Green. WIth Green off the board, a rumored move up by the Atlanta Falcons to take a wideout would now rely solely on the Tide's Julio Jones.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft started at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th, and SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with it: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation’s NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. For more Atlanta Falcons draft discussion, join The Falcoholic.

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2011 NFL Draft: Auburn's Cam Newton Goes First Overall To Carolina Panthers

Surprising no one, Heisman Trophy winner and BCS National Champion Cam Newton of Auburn has been taken first overall by the Carolina Panthers, who are apparently willing to risk Newton’s potential blank slate knowledge of the pro offense.

Among the many storylines around Newton, it bears noting now that being embarrassed by Jon Gruden on national television has absolutely no measurable effect on your professional career.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft started at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th, and SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with it: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation’s NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. For more Atlanta Falcons draft discussion, join The Falcoholic.

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2011 NFL Draft: Marcell Dareus To Broncos Or Bills Projection All But Universal

Marcell Dareus might be the blue chipper with the fewest lingering questions and concerns entering the 2011 NFL Draft. While he might not be projected to have the same kind of ceiling as Cam Newton or A.J. Green, he also looks like just about the safest pick on the board, provided he can prove he has a NFL work ethic.

The enormous mock draft database at DC Pro Sports Report shows a staggering 80 percent of 2011 mocks have the Alabama Crimson Tide stud going No. 2 to the Denver Broncos, making him even more of  a sure thing than Cam Newton at No. 1. Not that anything about the NFL Draft is a sure thing until it's good and over, you understand.

If he slips, he's not expected by very many people to make it past the Buffalo Bills. After a quick glance, it looks like only five mock drafts from the past month -- after his stellar NFL Combine performance -- have him going No. 4 or lower. 

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft started at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th, and SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with it: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. For more Atlanta Falcons draft discussion, join The Falcoholic.

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2011 NFL Draft: Julio Jones Predicted To Redskins, Browns Or Potential Falcons Trade

Julio Jones is projected to lose this round of his ongoing foisted rivalry with A.J. Green, as 49 percent of all 2011 NFL mock drafts compiled by the immense DC Pro Sports Report project him going No. 10 to the Washington Redskins, a couple picks after Green to either the Cincinnati Bengals or Cleveland Browns. These things always wind up way off, of course, but that's the general zeitgeist at the moment.

Dozens of mocks predict Green to the Browns if the Bengals take Green, however, so the two could end up playing each other twice a year instead of just once every couple years. They will become best friends.

 However, for the Atlanta Falcons fan: those reports of Thomas Dimitroff nosing around in the top 10 could become very relevant if Jones slips into the teens, as quite a few mocks have him doing. If the Alabama Crimson Tide star starts nearing the middle of the round, don't be surprised to see the Falcons pull the trigger.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft started at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th, and SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with it: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. For more Atlanta Falcons draft discussion, join The Falcoholic.

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2011 NFL Draft: A.J. Green To Bengals Or Browns Becoming Consensus

A.J. Green might be the most talented player in the 2011 NFL Draft, but he won't be the first pick, because the Carolina Panthers are operated from afar by a coalition of their NFC South rivals. Love u, Charlotte! Green is expected to last until the middle of the top 10, with the majority of current mock drafts sending him to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 4, according to the egregious database compiled by DC Pro Sports Report.

Fifty-seven percent of mock drafts, in fact, which is a higher percentage than even No. 3.

The second-most likely landing spot is Cincy's Battle of Ohio rival, the Cleveland Browns at No. 6. Thirty percent of mock drafts have the Georgia Bulldogs star winding up in another Dawg Pound, meaning almost 90 percent of current mocks have the UGA receiver landing in the state and being off the board by pick No. 6.

So those rumors about the Falcons trading up for Green? Looking very, very unlikely at this point.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft started at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28th, and SB Nation has everything you need to keep up with it: news, rumors, player profiles, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule, NFL mock drafts, draft projections and more. Check it all out at SB Nation's NFL Draft hub and our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft. For more Atlanta Falcons draft discussion, join The Falcoholic.

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A.J. Green's Georgia Football Career Inspires Awe — And Questions

A.J. Green can be remembered as the best receiver in UGA history, but it also feels like something was missed during his time in Athens.

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NFL Draft 2011: Cam Newton, Marcell Dareus Take Top Spots In Latest Mock

SB Nation's final weekly 2011 NFL mock draft by Brian Galliford and Dan Kadar sends Cam Newton No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers, a placement that's become the most common for the Auburn Tigers QB. The other side of the Iron Bowl takes No. 2, with Marcell Dareus of the Alabama Crimson Tide going No. 2 to the Denver Broncos. 

Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green heads to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 4, while the Dallas Cowboys trade up to No. 5 to take LSU Tigers CB Patrick Peterson. Yes! A mock draft with trades! 

North Carolina Tar Heels DE Robert Quinn is the first ACC player off the board, going No. 6 to the Cleveland Browns. Clemson Tigers DE Da'Quan Bowers, once a popular No. 1 pick, finally lands at No. 17, joining Ndamukong Suh in Detroit.

All told, the Mocking The Draft crew sends 10 SEC players into the first round, along with four from the ACC.

For more NFL Draft, join Mocking The Draft. For more SEC, join Team Speed Kills.

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2011 NFL Draft: A.J. Green Not Concerned About Draft Status

A.J. Green is almost certain to be drafted amongst the first five picks in the NFL Draft, but Green says that where he is drafted is of little concern to standout Georgia wide receiver

"It doesn't matter. I don't worry about any of that" 

Whoever drafts Green will be getting a supremely talented receiver. Despite missing the first four games of the 2010 season, Green still had 57 receptions for 848 yards and nine touchdowns. At this point, it isn't known if Carolina is actually considering Green with the No. 1 selection. While he would pair nicely with Panthers wide out Steve Smith, Carolina also has needs at the quarterback position and the defensive line. 

While the suspension has caused Green to be questioned by every NFL team, Green doesn't see himself as a player that has a lot of baggage surrounding him. 

"You can talk to anybody I've been around, I definitely don't have any character concerns."

The NFL Draft begins this Thursday and can be seen on ESPN. 

For more on Green and the Dawgs, visit Dawg Sports. For more NFL Draft, join Mocking The Draft.

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2011 NFL Draft: A.J. Green Joins Von Miller, Prince Amukamara In Opting To Attend

Though the issue of whether incoming rookies will attend the 2011 NFL Draft in New York City has been a contentious one, Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green has announced he’ll make the trip, mentioning some new suits he’s bought for the occasion [Facebook joke].

Texas A&M LB Von Miller remains one of the biggest names to declare NFL Draft attendance, along with Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara, Illinois DT Corey Liuget, Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan, and Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams. Ohio State DE Cameron Heyward, for one, declined the NFL’s invitation.

One of the most difficult — or entertaining, for rival fans — things about watching the draft is seeing one player unexpectedly drop far lower than expected. Though those players often end up with the last laugh (Aaron Rodgers!), sometimes they don’t (Brady Quinn!).

For more on Green and the Dawgs, visit Dawg Sports. For more NFL Draft, join Mocking The Draft.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: A.J. Green Gains From Da'Quan Bowers Struggles

Clemson Tigers DE Da'Quan Bowers had a disappointing pro day -- depending on who you ask, at least. In SB Nation's latest 2011 NFL mock draft, Bowers falls from the top 10 to Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green's benefit. Seems the Cleveland Browns, picking No. 6, need receivers and pass rushers, and without any spectacular DE value, they get Green this time around.

UGA's Justin Houston is again absent this week. Wonder what he did wrong

Alabama's Marcell Dareus is your new No. 2 to Denver, with Patrick Peterson going No. 5 to Arizona and Nick Fairley at No. 8 to Tennessee. The top 10 has far less SEC in it than it's had in past editions, and Bowers' tumble means no ACC at all. Boston College's Anthony Castonzo and UNC's Robert Quinn do join Bowers in the top 15, along with Bama's Julio Jones.

For more NFL draft, visit Mocking The Draft.

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A.J. Green Could Be 2011 NFL Draft No. 1 Pick, According To Team Scouts

Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green has been slipping on many 2011 NFL mock draft boards after a NFL Combine surpassed by Julio Jones’ and a largely unseen pro day. But — believe it or not! — NFL team scouts don’t really go by mock draft boards.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Green could be the “top-rated” player in the 2011 draft after speaking with “seven personnel men.”

Every year it’s interesting to see publication draft boards fluctuate like wild as nothing is actually happening on the field. The film is in the can — the only things that can really change draft stock at this point are major workout or interview surprises or owners electing to involve themselves in the process a la the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders. Sure, scouting is still ongoing, but I’m talking about things that would actually change the course of a team’s draft strategy.

Either way, it’s hard to believe there’s a player in this class more talented than Green.

For more NFL draft, visit Mocking The Draft.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft Sends A.J. Green To Redskins, Cam Newton To Bengals

SB Nation’s latest weekly 2011 NFL mock draft sees Blaine Gabbert take over the No. 1 spot that Nick Fairley had held for much of the winter, sending the Mizzou star to Charlotte instead of Cam Newton. The Panthers do appear very interested in drafting a QB, which sounds excellent to me, and Gabbert is probably the safest choice on the board at that position.

Fairley goes No. 2 to the Broncos, with teammate Newton not making it past the Bengals at No. 4, much to Daniel Snyder’s chagrin.

Georgia Bulldogs teammates A.J. Green go No. 10 to the Redskins and … out of the first round respectively. Houston had a very strong NFL Combine and an impressive pro day, but is apparently losing favor in a draft that’s lousy with pass rushers. Alabama’s Julio Jones is now only one spot behind Green, going No. 11 to Houston.

As is custom, Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers leads the ACC charge, going No. 3 to Buffalo.

For more NFL Draft, visit Mocking The Draft and your favorite team’s SB Nation community.

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NFL Draft 2011: Cam Newton's Workout Schedule Includes Panthers, Titans, Redskins

Cam Newton is beginning his barnstormin’ tour of the NFL’s worst teams, with his schedule laid out for the next several weeks. He’ll start with a home stand at Auburn, welcoming Miami, Buffalo, Minnesota, and Cincinnati before taking the show on the road.

He’s expected to work out for each of the following teams, making his only NFC South visit on April 5 and his only other appearances in Southeastern towns on April 6 and April 15. If anybody picking after Washington thinks they’re making good use of their time by working out Newton, they’re crazy. There’s no way this kid is slipping past Daniel Snyder.

Miami Dolphins: March 27 at Auburn
Buffalo Bills: March 28 at Auburn
Minnesota Vikings: March 30 at Auburn
Cincinnati Bengals: April 4 at Auburn
Carolina Panthers: April 5 in Carolina
Tennessee Titans: April 6 in Tennessee
Cincinnati Bengals: April 12 in Cincinnati
Cleveland Browns: April 13 in Cleveland
Washington Redskins: April 15 in Washington
Denver Broncos: April 18 in Denver

For more Auburn, visit Track Em Tigers. For more NFL Draft, visit Mocking The Draft.

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Georgia Football Pro Day 2011: A.J. Green Viewed From Afar, Justin Houston Wows Again

You were wondering what could possibly go wrong at Georgia football’s 2011 pro day? How about scouts being forced from the sidelines as the team’s marquee player took the field?

Due to a weird NFL lockout rule that barred team scouts from watching in person while a non-Georgia Bulldogs player participated in workouts, A.J. Green’s run-through at UGA’s 2011 pro day had to be assessed by scouts via monitor. Green looked excellent on a wide variety of pro-style routes, other than one moment when he took a spill after tripping over a sideline rope.

It was former Montana QB Justin Roper’s presence that forced scouts from the sidelines. Since Roper’s throwing services were not required for Justin Houston’s workout, team personnel was able to watch the defender work on-site.

Houston impressed again, running through both DE and LB drills and posting another great 40 time, either 4.57 or 4.7 depending on where you look. He ran a 4.68 at the NFL Combine, so showing he’s able to reliably bang out such an excellent time surely impressed many a scout.

Kris Durham also impressed, turning in a 4.43-second 40 yard dash. Durham wasn’t invited to the Combine, so this was his only chance to work out for multiple NFL teams at once.

Houston is also scheduled to show his stuff for the Atlanta Falcons this week.

For more on Georgia football, visit Dawg Sports.

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Justin Houston's NFL Draft Auditions Include Falcons Workout Before Georgia Pro Day

The pass rush is an area of concern for the Falcons, and Georgia's sack specialist could be just the man to address it.

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Florida State Pro Day: Christian Ponder, Rodney Hudson Continue to Impress

Florida State’s Pro Day is nearly a must see annual event and this year was no different but with a much smaller sample size of players. Every NFL team was represented on Wednesday in Tallahassee to take a look at former ‘Nole QB Christian Ponder, OG Rodney Hudson and a few other players who may not be drafted but will land on NFL rosters.

Ponder, who weighed in at 229lbs, threw to former St. Louis Rams great Isaac Bruce (they share the same agent in Jimmy Sexton) and looked very sharp. He chose not to run the 40 yard dash but showed his incredible agility registering the fastest 3 cone drill at 6.85 seconds and 20 yard short shuttle at 4.09.  He showed tremendous zip on his throws and clearly impressed the group of scouts.  Ponder mentioned that he would have private workouts with as many as ninie teams but did not mention them by name.

Hudson, weighing in at 299lbs which is incredible considering he played at 282 this season, participated in the bench, vertical and long jump showing better than average athleticism with a nearly 30 inch vertical jump. While he won’t win any beauty pageants, he is absolutely rock solid and some have even gone as far as saying that he could be a better Center prospect than guard. At Florida State, Hudson allowed 1.5 sacks and was called for one penalty in 34 career starts.

An intriguing prospect is DE Markus White who ran a 4.84 in the 40 yard dash and rung up a 32.5" vertical jump. White came from Butler (Kansas) Community College and had a breakout season in 2010 with 58 tackles and 8 sacks. He is another ‘Nole who absolutely packed on weight in the last 3 months as he weighed in at 266lbs. White played at around 250lbs in 2010.

The ‘Noles workout warrior definitely goes to LB Mister Alexander. He put up eye popping numbers: 4.63 in the 40 yard dash, 34" vertical jump, 10’3" in the broad jump and 4.25 in the 20 yard short shuttle. All this for Mister at 242lbs. He will be a guy who is not likely drafted but will make some GM look very smart from adding him via free agency.

For more tremendous coverage of Florida State football, basketball and baseball visit our friends at Tomahawk Nation.

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Alabama Pro Day: Mark Ingram Gets Faster

Alabama's Pro Day gave top prospect Mark Ingram one more chance to impress his future employer. With Ron Rivera (Panthers) and John Fox (Formerly Panthers, now Broncos) watching closely, Ingram confirmed his knee injury was fully healed when he ran a 4.47 40-yard dash. That was an improvement from his time of 4.62 at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Also for Alabama was defensive tackle Marcel Dareus, wide receiver Julio Jones and Wonderlic-expert quarterback Greg McElroy. Jones and McElroy are both recovering from injuries and did not work out. Dareus put to rest all doubts about his high ankle sprain he played last season with and there are some who believe he could be a better player than Nick Fairley at Auburn.

The Falcons likely have no interest in Ingram with Michael Turner and Jason Snelling rostered but with wide receiver help a top priority this offseason, Jones has the potential to be added later in the draft.

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Georgia Tech Pro Day: Joshua Nesbitt And Anthony Allen Headline, Kevin Cone Steals Show

Everyone came to see Anthony Allen, Joshua Nesbitt, Mario Butler, and Jerrard Tarrant. But the player that turned the most heads Wednesday was a little-known receiver who caught only six balls all last season: Kevin Cone.

The senior receiver turned in an unofficial 4.37 second time in the 40-yard dash, which would have ranked fourth fastest overall if it had come at the combine recently. Granted, take that with a grain of salt because it was timed by hand and not electronically, and it came on a track instead of on grass. That said however, Cone commented afterwards that he has been putting up times in the 4.4 range while training and wasn't surprised by the 4.37.

Tech's pro-day was quite unusual. Due to the heavy downpours in the Atlanta area Wednesday morning, the workout was moved to the upstairs gym at the Campus Recreation Center. The players ran the 40-yard dash on the track, and then did the position drills on the gym floor.

In attendance were about 10 scouts from a variety of NFL teams, Coach Mike Smith of the Falcons, former players including Derrick Morgan of the Tennessee Titans, and a huge gathering of friends and family.

So how did the headliners do? Anthony Allen impressed at the combine, improving his draft stock tremendously. He didn't do anything on Wednesday to put that improvement into doubt, looking fast and agile in the cone drills and made some nice catches on the short routes that were run.

Joshua Nesbitt doesn't care what position he plays at next level, as long as he gets the chance to play football. His times were on par for a running back, and are even more impressive for a quarterback. He looked good throwing the ball, had great velocity, but did miss on a handful of throws.

Simply put, Mario Butler and Jerrard Tarrant look like NFL players. I will be shocked if they are not playing on Sundays in the future.

Other players that worked out include Dominique Reese, Scott Blair, Nick Claytor, Anthony Egbuniwe, Brad Jefferson, Correy Earls, and Lucas Cox. 

Below is a video of some of the workouts, courtesy of Georgia Tech's Sports Information Department.

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Auburn Pro Day: Cam Newton, Nick Fairley Impress But Questions Still Remain

There were two takeaways from Auburn's Pro Day. One, Cam Newton redeemed himself after a disappointing performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. And two, Nick Fairley is who we thought he was.

During Tuesday's workout, Newton showcased his skills for 48 minutes in front of potential suitors including Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera who holds the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. There are still knocks on Newton's footwork though most who attended said his mechanics are improving.

Other questions surround his accuracy and unfortunate "entertainer and icon" statement prior to the combine. Those concerns aside, there's absolutely no denying his arm strength and athletic ability. He's been compared to Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick and even a combination of the two. Newton could be Bike RoethlisVicker, the ultimate NFL quarterback.

Mock drafts have Newton going anywhere in the top 12 picks though the momentum is pushing him towards the first overall. If the head coaches in attendance are any indication, Newton is likely headed to the Panthers (No. 1), Broncos (No. 2), Bengals (No. 4), Cardinals (No. 5) or Browns (No. 6). Of the teams with the top six picks, only Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey did not attend the workout personally.

Fairley, who worked out prior to Newton, maintained his lofty draft status. His impressive combine coupled with his solid Pro Day almost assuredley means he'll be one of the first two players off the board in April's draft. One caveat from Todd McShay though puts doubt on both Fairley and Newton's pro potential.

"One scout put it perfectly when he turned to me at one point and said: "You can't tell me [Newton and Fairley] aren't two of the three best players in the draft, but you also can't tell me you'd be totally comfortable taking either at No. 1 overall if your job were on the line."

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Patrick Peterson, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Chris Culliver Excel At 2011 NFL Combine Drills

LSU Tigers CB Patrick Peterson is expected to be the first defensive back off the board at the 2011 NFL Draft, and his showing today at the Combine didn’t do anything to change that notion. He turned in a blazing 4.34-second 40-yard dash despite being a bigger corner, also ranking No. 6 in the vertical jump and No. 5 in the broad jump among all DBs.

That wasn’t the fastest 40 time of the day, though, with Miami Hurricanes DB DeMarcus Van Dyke cranking out an unofficial 4.28 that’s the best of the year among all players and one of the best ever. He ran it again, producing a 4.36 despite stumbling. Elsewhere in the ACC, Virginia’s Ras-I Dowling and Clemson duo Byron Maxwell and Marcus Gilchrist turned in some impressive numbers at various events.

Chris Culliver of the South Carolina Gamecocks likely helped himself as well, running a 4.4 and finishing second in the vert.

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Justin Houston Takes Over 2011 NFL Combine Linebacker Workouts

Justin Houston of the Georgia Bulldogs had the choice of whether to sell himself to NFL teams as a defensive lineman with room to grow or a big linebacker. Linebacker it is, and based on his performance Monday at various NFL Combine drills, it looks like he made the right choice.

Houston finished second among linebackers in the bench press with 30 reps of 225 pounds, behind only Ohio State’s Ross Homan and just ahead of Boston College’s Mark Herzlich. He also tied for seventh among LBs in the 40-yard dash, running a 4.68, and finished No. 4 in the vertical jump and No. 2 in the broad jump.

Georgia’s Akeem Dent fared well in the vert, finishing No. 2 behind UConn’s Scott Lutrus.

Weighing in at 270 pounds, Houston shouldn’t be able to outrun and outjump players who weigh 20 or more pounds lighter. He was already expected to go in the first round, but today demonstrated he has the versatility to play just about anywhere a creative defensive coordinator wants to put him.

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Nick Fairley, Marvin Austin, Marcell Dareus Light Up 40-Yard Dash At NFL Combine

Well, they lit up the 2011 NFL Combine’s 40-yard dash considering they’re all right around 300 pounds. Nick Fairley, expected by many to be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, ran a 4.82 at 291 pounds, Marvin Austin topped him with a 4.8 at 309 pounds, and Marcell Dareus turned in a 4.96 at 319 pounds. Those are all unofficial times, of course, until everybody gets their runs in.

Oh, and Austin benched 225 pounds 38 times, better than any offensive lineman was able to push this year and second-best overall. Just in case you thought he was only built for speed. Looks like Austin most certainly did not spend his vacation time sitting around the apartment making Rick Ross photoshops.

Mike Mayock has called defensive line this draft class’ deepest position. Judging by some of these disgusting showings by enormous Southeastern defensive tackles, he’s probably right. He’s usually probably right anyway.

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What's The Wonderlic Test Again? Greg McElroy, NFL Combine Genius, Nearly Aces It

The NFL Combine’s famous Wonderlic Test, almost topped out by Alabama Crimson Tide QB Greg McElroy according to the Star-Telegram, is the league’s favorite method for measuring the intelligence of NFL Draft candidates. Does it work?

Measuring straight-line speed and upper-body strength: easy. While standardized tests have never done a perfect job of calculating aptitude, taking the Wonderlic with a grain of salt does produce a passable glance at who’s smart and who’s not. Vince Young reportedly scored a 6 out of 50, while Harvard punter Pat McInally scored a flawless 50, nearly matched by Rhodes Scholarship candidate McElroy. All of those results make sense.

What kind of questions are asked? This kind.

Joel Thorman writes that most teams just want to use the test to make sure players aren’t brain-dead, Mike Florio says “scoring too high” can be a problem, and Andy Hutchins shares studies that show a player’s Wonderlic score has little correlation to the quality of his career.

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VIDEO: Nick Fairley On Cam Newton's Draft Status At NFL Combine Media Interview

Nick Fairley is set to work out tomorrow at the NFL Combine with his defensive linemen brethren, though he did weigh in today at six-foot-three and 291 pounds, opting not to participate in the bench press. He spoke with media members about his reputation and whether the Carolina Panthers should pick him over Auburn teammate Cam Newton in the 2011 NFL Draft:

“Is that a trick question?”

Fairley says he looks forward to showing NFL team front office personnel what a “great person” he is off the field, which I guess means spearing otherwise-occupied general managers in the dead of the spine, then strutting about it? I’m not sure.

He’s asked whether he takes plays off — hadn’t quite heard that one. If there’s any complaint to be made about Fairley, I really don’t think it’s that he doesn’t play hard enough. Quite the contrary. He also explains why it took him some time to adjust from his JUCO career to be able to make an impact at Auburn.

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Anthony Allen Wows During 40-Yard Dash, Vertical Jump NFL Combine Drills

Anthony Allen is a terrific all-around athlete, which his 2011 NFL Combine drills are confirming. He ran a 4.54 40-yard dash, fast for a big back and faster than some wide receivers (and Cam Newton!). He also turned in the third-highest vertical jump of any player so far and the best any running back has mustered since Donald Brown in 2006.

He’s reportedly supposed to meet with the Green Bay Packers, likely among other teams.

The lingering questions about Allen don’t have anything to do with his physique. Unlike Jonathan Dwyer, Allen has taken his Combine preparation very seriously, showing up in season shape for Senior Bowl weigh-ins and ready to ball today. Running with the rock in his hand won’t change any scout’s issues with drafting him, either.

Allen is going to have to show he can quickly become a pro-quality pass-blocker and -catcher after doing very little of either at Georgia Tech. If he can do that, he could be an absolute steal for a team that needs a durable power back.

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Julio Jones Over A.J. Green In Broad Jump Drill At 2011 NFL Combine

Julio Jones has emerged as Sunday’s NFL Combine star, turning in a ridiculous 4.39-second 40-yard dash time, a decent vertical jump, and a broad jump two inches shy of the all-time record — 11 feet, three inches. His toes repeatedly landed beyond the 12-foot space on which players are jumping, but he couldn’t stick his first two jumps.

After a moment to collect himself, he landed the best jump of the day.

A.J. Green turned in a 10-foot, six-inch jump, which is more than a half-foot longer than last year’s average. It’s an elite drill showing, but it’s going to be overshadowed by yet another absurd Jones performance.

How relevant is the broad jump to football? The vertical jump and 40-yard dash both make sense for deep-threat wide receivers, but when do football players need to jump in a straight line, land on their feet, and stand up without falling over? To scouts, a drill like this demonstrates both explosiveness and body control. Having the balance and leg strength to fly 11 feet through the air and control the landing demonstrates ludicrous athleticism.

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Julio Jones Tops A.J. Green At NFL Combine Vertical Jump, Too

Julio Jones is going for the sweep over A.J. Green at the 2011 NFL Combine, having already beaten him at the 40-yard dash and on media day. After Green put in a disappointing 34’ 5" at the vertical jump, which was an inch and a half below the average turned in by last year’s wideout class, Jones beat him by four inches.

Both looked good during catching drills, though Green short-armed a couple of passes during the gauntlet drill (the one where receivers run parallel to a battery of quarterbacks, alternating between catching on the right and left). Green also made a great deep catch of a Ryan Mallett pass — not many have been able to run down Mallett’s bombs so far today.

Only Al Davis types draft based on workout numbers. Tape don’t lie. While Green is still expected to be picked ahead of Jones, the distance between the two is starting to shrink little by little.

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Cam Newton, Tyrod Taylor 40 Yard Dash Times At 2011 NFL Combine Among Best Yet

Cam Newton ran an unofficial 4.58 40-yard dash at the 2011 NFL Combine, followed by a 4.59, ranking him fourth among quarterbacks in this year’s class and one of the fastest quarterbacks ever. He looked smooth and controlled, and didn’t look like he was going all that fast until he was done.

He was followed by Virginia Tech Hokies QB Tyrod Taylor’s unofficial 4.52, which tied Jake Locker’s as the best of the Combine so far and approached fellow Hokie Marcus Vick’s second-best-ever QB Combine 40. And some hand-timing scouts are saying Taylor's time was more like a 4.46.

Just for reference, A.J. Green ran a 4.48, just a tick faster than Newton, and Green weighs 37 pounds fewer than Newton does. If you placed your best on Newton outrunning Taylor, who’s only six feet tall, you overestimated his speed — but not by much.

He’s so huge that it’s hard to process how fast he is. Noticed the same thing happened while watching him at Auburn. During that one winding highlight run against LSU, he made it look like everything was moving at half-speed, and then suddenly — why hello there, goal line.

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Cam Newton's Broad Jump At NFL Combine Workout Raises 40 Yard Dash Anticipation

The most anticipated four-ish seconds of the 2011 NFL Combine are on the way, with Cam Newton set to run the 40-yard dash soon. He did just break out a 10-foot-six-inch broad jump, better than any 2010 quarterback was able to accomplish by eight inches and an entire foot better than the NFL Combine broad jumps of Vince Young or Tim Tebow.

On Newton’s first try, he went about 11 feet but couldn’t stick the landing.

Other mobile quarterbacks who’ve showed their wheels so far: Jake Locker ran a 4.52, Colin Kaepernick a 4.53, and Blaine Gabbert a 4.63. Did you get your bets in early on whether Newton could beat Tyrod Taylor? The Virginia Tech Hokies QB is expected to challenge for Locker’s high.

Before Newton started competing in today’s drills, Mike Mayock and Marshall Faulk debated whether he should be considered one of the top-five quarterbacks in this year’s draft. The argument eventually shifted to whether Newton is a viable consideration for the Carolina Panthers at No. 1.

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Julio Jones, A.J. Green 40 Yard Dash Times At NFL Combine Keep Rivalry Alive

A.J. Green and Julio Jones have had a wide receiver rivalry foisted upon themselves based on their simultaneous hyped recruitment, the conference they play in, the proximity of their schools, and their somewhat similar play styles. The 2011 NFL Draft process has continued the rivalry that neither of them asked for, with the NFL Combine serving as a battleground.

Green impressed with an unofficial 4.48 40-yard dash time, a very decent showing for a taller wide receiver and one of the best of the Combine so far. Jones, nine pounds heavier, followed up shortly after with an unofficial 4.43 that turned out to be a 4.39. Some found Jones’ media interview session to be more impressive than Green’s as well.

4.39!

Buzz is starting to grow that Jones could supplant Green as the first wide receiver off the board, at least in mock drafts. In a made-up rivalry that neither player asked to be a part of, this round could be going to Jones.

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VIDEO: Da'Quan Bowers' NFL Combine Press Interview Reveals It's Cold In Buffalo

Potential top-five pick Da'Quan Bowers, who won't be working out at the 2011 NFL Combine due to a recent knee surgery, still met with the media on Saturday to answer questions. He lists Alabama's Andre Smith and Auburn's Lee Ziemba as the toughest competition he faced in his college career, expresses humility at the comparisons being made about his talent, and lists another longtime Carolinian as his NFL model: Julius Peppers.

He also says his torn meniscus is "100 percent" healed, and that he postponed his workout to give himself sufficient training time.

He says he's yet to meet one-on-one with any NFL teams, though he passes along a note from former teammate C.J. Spiller on the conditions surrounding the Buffalo Bills: "it's cold." Bowers could end up joining Spiller in Buffalo -- as you can see from his hat, he's already gearing up for the move north.

Bowers says he hurt his knee while making a sack against N.C. State midseason, and that it won't be a setback while prepping for the NFL Draft. He'll work out at Clemson's pro day on March 10.

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VIDEO: Ryan Mallett Drug Rumors Keep Popping Up In NFL Combine Interview

Ryan Mallett could be one of the first two quarterbacks selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, but he's going to need a solid Sunday of workouts and some excellent one-on-one team interviews to make up for an uncomfortable Saturday media session. Repeatedly asked about the multiple rumors that his heavy use of illegal drugs kept him from declaring for the 2010 draft, Mallett brushes the question away each time, which of course only makes the media want to press harder.

A sampling:

Outside of that video, he was asked at least two more times during the session about the rumors, eventually walking away from the podium as a reporter attempted to ask yet again. He apparently fared much better in individual interviews with teams, but that whole public interview is going to leave a weird impression on many.

He's also asked at one point about what it was like playing for a coach whose NFL career "didn't work out." So to speak.

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VIDEO: A.J. Green's NFL Combine Press Conference, Weigh-In Leave Some Unimpressed

A.J. Green will work out Sunday at the 2011 NFL Combine, but took the podium Saturday to answer media questions at an interview session. He comes across as calm and likable, two traits that aren't of any surprise to any Georgia Bulldogs observer. When asked why he chose to leave Georgia early, he mentions that he's close to getting his degree.

He lists his biggest strengths as his work ethic and passion for football, and mentions his experience in Georgia's pro-style offense as helping him prepare for the NFL. He also says he needs to get better at running routes and studying. 

Buffalo Rumblings latches onto one of Green's quotes, in which he says he needs to do a better job of preparing to play. They think that's a concern, and I kind of see it both ways. He's got to list something he wants to get better at, and what's he supposed to say? Catching the ball? Then we say, "Oh, he doesn't know how to catch the ball." But then again, Georgia's offensive coaching staff in recent years has not been widely heralded for helping players learn how to prepare.

He weighed in at 211 pounds, which also worries Buffalo Rumblings. As for the NFL scout they quote as saying Green looks like he hasn't spent much time in the weight room ... well, he's kind of right.

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VIDEO: Cam Newton's NFL Combine Press Conference Went Better Than His Team Interviews

Cam Newton's Saturday press conference was the biggest moment of the 2011 NFL Combine so far, likely to be eclipsed only by his Sunday workout. Here's a complete video of his beaming ascent to the podium, reading of "a special statement," and a question-and-answer session that went far longer than the "five minutes or so" the assembled media members were told they'd get with the Heisman Trophy winner:

Backpedaling from his "entertainer and icon" comments was a good idea, and he looked polished and confident while somehow refraining from referring to Cam Newton in the third person in every sentence. And he handled chunky softballs like "Do you think people mistake your confidence for cockiness?" with ease.

But later on during team interviews, things reportedly didn't go quite so well.

Newton reportedly got defensive when asked why he chose to run a quarterback sneak during the closing seconds of the BCS National Championship Game, instead of taking a knee as he'd been instructed.

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VIDEO: Marcell Dareus' NFL Combine Interview Session On NCAA Violation, Nick Saban, Warren Sapp

Scheduled to workout with his fellow defensive linemen on Monday, Marcell Dareus answered questions from the 2011 NFL Combine media on Saturday. He touts the versatility he learned in Nick Saban's defense at Alabama, saying he feels equipped to play either nose tackle or defensive tackle in the NFL. He's asked about his favorite player, and immediately cites Warren Sapp's on-field and off-field presence.

Dareus is expected to be a top-10 draft pick. Watch him light up for about half a minute when he's told Sapp called him the best three-technique tackle in this year's draft class:

There's a lot of Saban all throughout there, from hand placement technique to X's and O's. He also apologizes for his receiving of $1,800 in impermissible benefits that led to him being suspended for two games. 

And am I the only one who thinks Craig Robinson from The Office should play Marcell Dareus in the eventual story of Nick Saban's life?

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2011 NFL Combine Press Conference VIDEO: Clint Boling On Nick Fairley, A.J. Green

The 2011 NFL Combine’s first day of action is basically a lot of standing around and talking. I could try to make that sound more exciting, or I could just show you this list, from which you will learn that Chan Gailey was the entire weekend’s opening act. You have learned all you need to know about the first day of the NFL Combine.

Clint Boling, Georgia Bulldogs OL, gave one such address, listing Texas A&M Aggies LB Von Miller and detested Auburn Tigers DT Nick Fairley among the top competition he had to play last year. He was also asked why Georgia was able to send more players to the Combine than to record 2010 wins, blaming nothing in particular, though he does mention A.J. Green’s suspension as a major handicap.

Via @FalconsJAdams

Boling is expected to be a mid-round selection, and has said he prefers to play tackle over guard. He weighed in at 308. Considering his versatility, he could be a player for Atlanta Falcons fans to eye this week.

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2011 NFL Combine Player Invite List, TV Schedule, Location, And More

It's time for the 2011 NFL Combine, the football moment with the greatest disparities of interest level for fans and non-fans. What I mean by that: everybody likes the Super Bowl. Whether you love football or hate it, you watch the Super Bowl. But the NFL Combine? Most NFL fans don't watch the Combine.

Today's the day when you find out just how big of a problem you really have. The Combine runs from Feb. 23 until March 1, includes scouts from all 32 teams, and features 40-yard dashes and Wondrlics and bench presses by dozens of college stars.

TV schedule: Everything's on the NFL Network. Just tune in at any point and you'll see it. There's your TV schedule!

As far as who's arriving when, it works like this: on Wednesday, tight ends, offensive linemen, and special teamers arrive. On Thursday, quarterbacks, wide receivers, and running backs. On friday, defensive linemen and linebackers. On Saturday, defensive backs.

Location: Lovely Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The Wonderlic Test? More on that here.

Invite list: Here's a list of every player with an NFL Combine invite. An asterisk means the player is a junior. Not all of these players are guaranteed to make it, and not all will fully participate -- Blaine Gabbert and Da'Quan Bowers have already ruled out several events, for instance. 

Player Goes by School Group # Camp # CP
ALLEN, CORTEZ   CITADEL 10 DB1 DC
BUTLER, MARIO   GEORGIA TECH 10 DB10 DC
CARMICHAEL, RASHAD   VIRGINIA TECH 10 DB11 DC
CARTER, QUINTON   OKLAHOMA 10 DB12 FS
CHEKWA, CHIMDI   OHIO ST 10 DB13 DC
CONTE, CHRISTOPHER CHRIS CALIFORNIA 10 DB14 FS
CUFF, VANCE   GEORGIA 10 DB15 DC
CULLIVER, CHRIS   SOUTH CAROLINA 10 DB16 DC
DOWLING, RAS-I   VIRGINIA 10 DB17 DC
GILCHRIST, MARCUS   CLEMSON 10 DB18 DC
GOMES, DEJON   NEBRASKA 10 DB19 OB
AMUKAMARA, PRINCE   NEBRASKA 10 DB2 DC
HAGG, ERIC   NEBRASKA 10 DB20 OB
HARRIS, BRANDON*   MIAMI-FL 10 DB21 DC
HILL, WILL*   FLORIDA 10 DB22 FS
HINES, JERMALE   OHIO ST 10 DB23 SS
HOGAN, BRANDON   WEST VIRGINIA 10 DB24 DC
HOUSE, DAVON   NEW MEXICO ST 10 DB25 DC
JARRETT, JAIQUAWN   TEMPLE 10 DB26 FS
JOHNSON, JERON   BOISE ST 10 DB27 SS
KEO, SHILOH   IDAHO 10 DB28 SS
LEFEGED, JOSEPH JOE RUTGERS 11 DB29 SS
BLACK, AHMAD   FLORIDA 10 DB3 SS
LEGREE, MARK   APPALACHIAN ST 11 DB30 FS
MARSH, CURTIS   UTAH ST 11 DB31 DC
MAXWELL, BYRON   CLEMSON 11 DB32 DC
MCDANIEL, DEANDRE   CLEMSON 11 DB33 SS
MCGEE, ANDREW   OKLAHOMA ST 11 DB34 DC
MOORE, RAHIM*   UCLA 11 DB35 FS
PATRICK, JOHNNY   LOUISVILLE 11 DB36 DC
PETERSON, PATRICK*   LOUISIANA ST 11 DB37 DC
ROGERS, JUSTIN   RICHMOND 11 DB38 DC
RUCKER, CHRIS   MICHIGAN ST 11 DB39 DC
BRINKLEY, NILES   WISCONSIN 10 DB4 DC
RUTLAND, KEVIN   MISSOURI 11 DB40 DC
SANDS, ROBERT*   WEST VIRGINIA 11 DB41 FS
SASH, TYLER*   IOWA 11 DB42 SS
SEARCY, DA'NORRIS   NORTH CAROLINA 11 DB43 SS
SHERMAN, RICHARD   STANFORD 11 DB44 DC
SIMS, DAVID   IOWA ST 11 DB45 SS
SKRINE, DARRYL BUSTER TENNESSEE-CHATT 11 DB46 DC
SMITH, JAMES JIMMY COLORADO 11 DB47 DC
TARRANT, JERRARD*   GEORGIA TECH 11 DB48 FS
THOMAS, JOSHUA JOSH BUFFALO 11 DB49 DC
BROWN, CHYKIE   TEXAS 10 DB5 DC
THOMPSON, BRANDYN   BOISE ST 11 DB50 DC
TORRENCE, DEVON   OHIO ST 11 DB51 DC
VAN DYKE, DEMARCUS   MIAMI-FL 11 DB52 DC
WILLIAMS, AARON*   TEXAS 11 DB53 DC
WILLIAMS, DEUNTA   NORTH CAROLINA 11 DB54 FS
WILLIAMS, NATHAN NATE WASHINGTON 11 DB55 SS
WRIGHT, SHAREECE   SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 11 DB56 DC
BROWN, CURTIS   TEXAS 10 DB6 DC
BROWN, JALIL   COLORADO 10 DB7 DC
BURNEY, KENDRIC   NORTH CAROLINA 10 DB8 DC
BURTON, BRANDON*   UTAH 10 DB9 DC
ACHO, SAM   TEXAS 7 DL1 DE
CARTER, CHRISTOPHER CHRIS FRESNO ST 7 DL10 DE
CASEY, JURRELL*   SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 7 DL11 DT
CHINASA, UGO   OKLAHOMA ST 7 DL12 DE
CLAYBORN, ADRIAN   IOWA 7 DL13 DE
DANIELS, WAYNE   TEXAS CHRISTIAN 7 DL14 DE
DAREUS, MARCELL*   ALABAMA 7 DL15 DE
DOBBS, DEMARCUS   GEORGIA 7 DL16 DE
ELLIS, KENRICK   HAMPTON 7 DL17 DT
ELMORE, RICK RICKY ARIZONA 7 DL18 DE
FAIRLEY, NICK*   AUBURN 7 DL19 DT
AJIBOYE, OLUFEMI LADI SOUTH CAROLINA 7 DL2 DT
FUA, SIONE   STANFORD 7 DL20 NT
GRAVES, JOHN   VIRGINIA TECH 7 DL21 DT
GUY, LAWRENCE*   ARIZONA ST 7 DL22 DT
HEYWARD, CAMERON CAM OHIO ST 7 DL23 DE
JENKINS, JARVIS   CLEMSON 7 DL24 DT
JORDAN, CAMERON   CALIFORNIA 7 DL25 DE
KERRIGAN, PATRICK RYAN PURDUE 7 DL26 DE
KLUG, KARL   IOWA 7 DL27 DT
LEVINGSTON, LAZARIUS PEP LOUISIANA ST 7 DL28 DT
LIUGET, COREY*   ILLINOIS 7 DL29 DT
ALLEN, PIERRE   NEBRASKA 7 DL3 DE
LOCKETT, KENTRELL   MISSISSIPPI 8 DL30 DE
MATTHEWS, CLIFF   SOUTH CAROLINA 8 DL31 DE
MCCLAIN, TERRELL   SOUTH FLORIDA 8 DL32 DT
MCPHEE, PERNELL   MISSISSIPPI ST 8 DL33 DE
MILLER, BRUCE   CENTRAL FLORIDA 8 DL34 DE
MOCH, DONTAY   NEVADA 8 DL35 DE
NEILD, CHRISTOPHER CHRIS WEST VIRGINIA 8 DL36 NT
NEVIS, DRAKE   LOUISIANA ST 8 DL37 DT
OZOUGWU, CHETA   RICE 8 DL38 DE
PAEA, STEPHEN   OREGON ST 8 DL39 DT
AUSTIN, MARVIN*   NORTH CAROLINA 7 DL4 DT
PARKER, MARTIN   RICHMOND 8 DL40 DT
POWE, JERRELL   MISSISSIPPI 8 DL41 NT
QUINN, ROBERT*   NORTH CAROLINA 8 DL42 DE
REED, BROOKS   ARIZONA 8 DL43 DE
REED, D'AUNDRE   ARIZONA 8 DL44 DE
ROMEUS, GREGORY GREG PITTSBURGH 8 DL45 DE
SHEARD, JABAAL   PITTSBURGH 8 DL46 DE
SILIGA, TUPAIMOEFITPO* SEALVER UTAH 8 DL47 DT
SMITH, ALDON*   MISSOURI 8 DL48 DE
TAYLOR, ADRIAN   OKLAHOMA 8 DL49 DT
BAILEY, ALLEN   MIAMI-FL 7 DL5 DE
TAYLOR, PHILLIP PHIL BAYLOR 8 DL50 DT
THORNTON, CEDRIC   SOUTHERN ARKANSAS 8 DL51 DT
WATT, JUSTIN* J J WISCONSIN 8 DL52 DE
WHITE, MARKUS   FLORIDA ST 8 DL53 DE
WHITLOCK, COLBY   TEXAS TECH 8 DL54 DT
WILKERSON, MUHAMMAD*   TEMPLE 8 DL55 DT
WILLIAMS, IAN   NOTRE DAME 8 DL56 NT
WINTERSWYK, RYAN   BOISE ST 8 DL57 DE
BAIR, BRANDON   OREGON 7 DL6 DT
BALLARD, CHRISTIAN   IOWA 7 DL7 DT
BEAL, JEREMY   OKLAHOMA 7 DL8 DE
BOWERS, DA'QUAN*   CLEMSON 7 DL9 DE
AYERS, AKEEM*   UCLA 9 LB1 OB
HUNTER, JEREMIHA   IOWA 9 LB10 OB
IRVING, NATHANIEL NATE NORTH CAROLINA ST 9 LB11 OB
JONES, GREG   MICHIGAN ST 9 LB12 IB
JOSEPH, ELIJAH   TEMPLE 9 LB13 IB
LEMON, ORIE   OKLAHOMA ST 9 LB14 IB
LLOYD, GREGORY GREG CONNECTICUT 9 LB15 IB
LUTRUS, SCOTT   CONNECTICUT 9 LB16 OB
MATTHEWS, CASEY   OREGON 9 LB17 IB
MCCARTHY, COLIN   MIAMI-FL 9 LB18 IB
MILLER, VONNIE VON TEXAS A&M 9 LB19 OB
BELLORE, NICHOLAS NICK CENTRAL MICHIGAN 9 LB2 IB
MOHAMED, MICHAEL MIKE CALIFORNIA 9 LB20 IB
MOTEN, ADRIAN   MARYLAND 9 LB21 OB
MOUTON, JONAS   MICHIGAN 9 LB22 OB
ROLLE, BRIAN   OHIO ST 9 LB23 OB
SHEPPARD, KELVIN   LOUISIANA ST 9 LB24 IB
SMITH, DARRYL D J APPALACHIAN ST 9 LB25 OB
SMITH, DERRELL   SYRACUSE 9 LB26 IB
STURDIVANT, QUAN   NORTH CAROLINA 9 LB27 IB
THOMAS, JAMES J T WEST VIRGINIA 9 LB28 OB
WHITE, CHRIS   MISSISSIPPI ST 9 LB29 IB
CARTER, BRUCE   NORTH CAROLINA 9 LB3 OB
WILSON, LAWRENCE   CONNECTICUT 9 LB30 OB
WILSON, MARTEZ*   ILLINOIS 9 LB31 OB
WRIGHT, KENNETH K J MISSISSIPPI ST 9 LB32 OB
DENT, AKEEM   GEORGIA 9 LB4 IB
FOSTER, MASON   WASHINGTON 9 LB5 OB
HERZLICH, SANDON MARK BOSTON COL 9 LB6 OB
HOGUE, DOUGLAS DOUG SYRACUSE 9 LB7 OB
HOMAN, ROSS   OHIO ST 9 LB8 IB
HOUSTON, JUSTIN*   GEORGIA 9 LB9 OB
ARKIN, DAVID   MISSOURI ST 1 OL1 OT
CASTONZO, ANTHONY   BOSTON COL 1 OL10 OT
CHISOLM, GARRETT   SOUTH CAROLINA 1 OL11 OT
DAVIS, JOSHUA JOSH GEORGIA 1 OL12 OT
DOMINGUEZ, RAY   ARKANSAS 1 OL13 OT
FRANKLIN, ORLANDO   MIAMI-FL 1 OL14 OT
FUSCO, BRANDON   SLIPPERY ROCK 1 OL15 OC
GILBERT, MARCUS   FLORIDA 1 OL16 OT
GRANT, ADAM   ARIZONA 1 OL17 OT
HAIRSTON, CHRISTIAN CHRIS CLEMSON 1 OL18 OT
HENRY, RICHARD RICKY NEBRASKA 1 OL19 OG
BARKSDALE, JOSEPH JOE LOUISIANA ST 1 OL2 OT
HIX, KYLE   TEXAS 1 OL20 OT
HUDSON, RODNEY   FLORIDA ST 1 OL21 OG
HUGHES, KEVIN   SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA 1 OL22 OT
HURD, ZACHARY ZACH CONNECTICUT 1 OL23 OG
HURT, MAURICE   FLORIDA 2 OL24 OG
IJALANA, BENJAMIN BEN VILLANOVA 2 OL25 OT
JACKSON, ANDREW   FRESNO ST 2 OL26 OG
JOHNSON, CARL   FLORIDA 2 OL27 OG
KELCE, JASON   CINCINNATI 2 OL28 OC
KILGORE, DANIEL   APPALACHIAN ST 2 OL29 OT
BARTHOLOMEW, RYAN   SYRACUSE 1 OL3 OC
KING, JARRIEL   SOUTH CAROLINA 2 OL30 OT
LAPHAM, RICHARD RICH BOSTON COL 2 OL31 OT
LINNENKOHL, ALEXANDER ALEX OREGON ST 2 OL32 OC
LOVE, DEMARCUS   ARKANSAS 2 OL33 OT
MOFFITT, JOHN   WISCONSIN 2 OL34 OG
NEWTON, DEREK   ARKANSAS ST 2 OL35 OT
O'DOWD, KRISTOFER KRIS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 2 OL36 OC
PERSON, MICHAEL MIKE MONTANA ST 2 OL37 OT
PINKSTON, JASON   PITTSBURGH 2 OL38 OT
POUNCEY, JAMES MIKE FLORIDA 2 OL39 OC
BOLING, CLINT   GEORGIA 1 OL4 OT
RACKLEY, WILLIAM WILL LEHIGH 2 OL40 OT
REID, JAH   CENTRAL FLORIDA 2 OL41 OT
SCHILLING, STEVE   MICHIGAN 2 OL42 OG
SCHLAUDERAFF, CALEB   UTAH 2 OL43 OG
SHERROD, DEREK   MISSISSIPPI ST 2 OL44 OT
SMITH, TYRON*   SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 2 OL45 OT
SMITH, WILLIE   EAST CAROLINA 2 OL46 OT
SOLDER, NATHANIEL NATE COLORADO 2 OL47 OT
TAYLOR, ZANE   UTAH 2 OL48 OC
THOMPSON, ISAIAH   HOUSTON 2 OL49 OG
BOREN, JUSTIN   OHIO ST 1 OL5 OG
VANDERVELDE, JULIAN   IOWA 2 OL50 OG
WATKINS, DANIEL DANNY BAYLOR 2 OL51 OT
WILLIAMS, KEITH   NEBRASKA 2 OL52 OG
WILLIAMS, ZACHARY ZACK WASHINGTON ST 2 OL53 OC
WISNIEWSKI, STEFEN   PENN ST 2 OL54 OG
ZIEMBA, DANIEL LEE AUBURN 2 OL55 OT
BREWER, JAMES   INDIANA 1 OL6 OT
CANNON, MARCUS   TEXAS CHRISTIAN 1 OL7 OT
CARIMI, GABRIEL GABE WISCONSIN 1 OL8 OT
CARPENTER, JAMES   ALABAMA 1 OL9 OT
BAILEY, DAN   OKLAHOMA ST 1 PK1 PK
BOSHER, MATT   MIAMI-FL 1 PK2 PT
DONAHUE, RYAN   IOWA 1 PK3 PT
FORBATH, KAI   UCLA 1 PK4 PK
FORREST, REID   WASHINGTON ST 1 PK5 PT
HENERY, ALEX   NEBRASKA 1 PK6 PK
HENRY, CHARLES CHAS FLORIDA 1 PK7 PT
JASPER, JOSHUA JOSH LOUISIANA ST 1 PK8 PK
ROGERS, JACOB JAKE CINCINNATI 1 PK9 PK
COLBURN, RYAN   FRESNO ST 4 QB1 QB
MCELROY, GREGORY GREG ALABAMA 5 QB10 QB
NEWTON, CAMERON* CAM AUBURN 5 QB11 QB
PONDER, CHRISTIAN   FLORIDA ST 5 QB12 QB
PORTIS, JOSHUA JOSH CAL U-PENN 5 QB13 QB
STANZI, RICHARD RICKY IOWA 5 QB14 QB
TAYLOR, TYROD   VIRGINIA TECH 5 QB15 QB
TOLZIEN, SCOTT   WISCONSIN 5 QB16 QB
VAN CAMP, JEFF   FLORIDA ATLANTIC 5 QB17 QB
YATES, TAYLOR T J NORTH CAROLINA 5 QB18 QB
DALTON, ANDREW ANDY TEXAS CHRISTIAN 4 QB2 QB
DEVLIN, PATRICK PAT DELAWARE 4 QB3 QB
ENDERLE, NATHAN   IDAHO 4 QB4 QB
GABBERT, BLAINE*   MISSOURI 4 QB5 QB
JOHNSON, JERROD   TEXAS A&M 4 QB6 QB
KAEPERNICK, COLIN   NEVADA 4 QB7 QB
LOCKER, JACOB JAKE WASHINGTON 4 QB8 QB
MALLETT, RYAN*   ARKANSAS 4 QB9 QB
ALLEN, ANTHONY   GEORGIA TECH 6 RB1 OH
DEVINE, NOEL   WEST VIRGINIA 6 RB10 OH
DRAUGHN, SHAUN   NORTH CAROLINA 6 RB11 OH
EVANS, DARREN*   VIRGINIA TECH 6 RB12 OH
FANNIN, MARIO   AUBURN 6 RB13 OH
GREEN, ALEXANDER   HAWAII 6 RB14 OH
HARPER, JAMIE*   CLEMSON 6 RB15 OH
HAVILI, STANLEY   SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 6 RB16 FB
HELU, ROY   NEBRASKA 6 RB17 OH
HUNTER, KENDALL   OKLAHOMA ST 6 RB18 OH
HYNOSKI, HENRY*   PITTSBURGH 6 RB19 FB
ALLEN, ARMANDO   NOTRE DAME 6 RB2 OH
INGRAM, MARK*   ALABAMA 6 RB20 OH
JONES, TAIWAN*   EASTERN WASHINGTON 6 RB21 OH
LESHOURE, MIKEL*   ILLINOIS 6 RB22 OH
LEWIS, DION*   PITTSBURGH 6 RB23 OH
LOCKE, DERRICK   KENTUCKY 6 RB24 OH
MARECIC, OWEN   STANFORD 6 RB25 FB
MURRAY, DEMARCO   OKLAHOMA 6 RB26 OH
POWELL, BILAL   LOUISVILLE 6 RB27 OH
RIDLEY, STEVAN*   LOUISIANA ST 6 RB28 OH
RODGERS, JACQUIZZ*   OREGON ST 6 RB29 OH
ASIATA, MATTHEW   UTAH 6 RB3 OH
ROYSTER, EVAN   PENN ST 6 RB30 OH
SAINE, BRANDON   OHIO ST 6 RB31 OH
SCOTT, DA'REL   MARYLAND 6 RB32 OH
SHERMAN, ANTHONY   CONNECTICUT 6 RB33 FB
TAUA, VAILALA VAI NEVADA 6 RB34 OH
THOMAS, DANIEL   KANSAS ST 6 RB35 OH
TODMAN, JORDAN*   CONNECTICUT 6 RB36 OH
VEREEN, SHANE*   CALIFORNIA 6 RB37 OH
WHITE, JOHNNY   NORTH CAROLINA 6 RB38 OH
WILLIAMS, RYAN*   VIRGINIA TECH 6 RB39 OH
BERRY, DAMIEN   MIAMI-FL 6 RB4 OH
BRADFORD, ALLEN   SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 6 RB5 OH
CARTER, DELONE   SYRACUSE 6 RB6 OH
CHAPAS, SHAUN   GEORGIA 6 RB7 FB
CLAY, JOHN*   WISCONSIN 6 RB8 OH
COOPER, GRAIG   MIAMI-FL 6 RB9 OH
AIKEN, DANIEL DANNY VIRGINIA 1 ST1 LS
CAMERON, JORDAN   SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 3 TE1 TE
PIANALTO, ZACK   NORTH CAROLINA 3 TE10 TE
REISNER, ALLEN   IOWA 3 TE11 TE
RUDOLPH, KYLE*   NOTRE DAME 3 TE12 TE
SMITH, JOSEPH LEE MARSHALL 3 TE13 TE
STOCKER, LUCAS LUKE TENNESSEE 3 TE14 TE
THOMAS, JULIUS   PORTLAND ST 3 TE15 TE
WILLIAMS, DAVID D J ARKANSAS 3 TE16 TE
CLAY, CHARLES   TULSA 3 TE2 HB
GANTT, CHARLES   MICHIGAN ST 3 TE3 TE
GRAHAM, CAMERON   LOUISVILLE 3 TE4 TE
GREEN, VIRGIL   NEVADA 3 TE5 TE
HARDY, DANIEL   IDAHO 3 TE6 TE
HOUSLER, ROBERT ROB FLORIDA ATLANTIC 3 TE7 TE
KENDRICKS, LANCE   WISCONSIN 3 TE8 TE
OORDT, SCHUYLAR   NORTHERN IOWA 3 TE9 TE
ADAMS, DARVIN*   AUBURN 4 WO1 WO
GATES, EDMOND   ABILENE CHRISTIAN 4 WO10 WO
GREEN, ADRIEL* A J GEORGIA 4 WO11 WO
GURLEY, TORI*   SOUTH CAROLINA 4 WO12 WO
HAMLER, JAMEL*   FRESNO ST 4 WO13 WO
HANKERSON, LEONARD   MIAMI-FL 4 WO14 WO
HARRIS, DWAYNE   EAST CAROLINA 4 WO15 WO
HOLMES, ANDRE   HILLSDALE 4 WO16 WO
JEAN, LESTAR   FLORIDA ATLANTIC 4 WO17 WO
JERNIGAN, JERREL   TROY 4 WO18 WO
JOHNSON, RONALD   SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 4 WO19 WO
BALDWIN, JONATHAN* JON PITTSBURGH 4 WO2 WO
JONES, QUINTORRIS* JULIO ALABAMA 4 WO20 WO
KERLEY, JEREMY   TEXAS CHRISTIAN 4 WO21 WO
LITTLE, GREG*   NORTH CAROLINA 4 WO22 WO
LOCKETTE, RICARDO   FORT VALLEY ST 4 WO23 WO
MAEHL, JEFFREY JEFF OREGON 5 WO24 WO
MOORE, DENARIUS   TENNESSEE 5 WO25 WO
MORGAN, JOSEPH JOE WALSH 5 WO26 WO
MURDOCK, ORENTHAL O J FORT HAYS ST 5 WO27 WO
NEWSOME, JAMAR   CENTRAL FLORIDA 5 WO28 WO
PAUL, NILES   NEBRASKA 5 WO29 WO
BINNS, ARMON   CINCINNATI 4 WO3 WO
PETTIS, AUSTIN   BOISE ST 5 WO30 WO
PILARES, KEALOHA   HAWAII 5 WO31 WO
ROBINSON, ALDRICK AL SMU 5 WO32 WO
SALAS, GREGORY   HAWAII 5 WO33 WO
SAMPSON, DEMARCO   SAN DIEGO ST 5 WO34 WO
SANDERS, JOCKEE JOCK WEST VIRGINIA 5 WO35 WO
SANZENBACHER, DANE   OHIO ST 5 WO36 WO
SHORTS, CECIL   MT UNION 5 WO37 WO
SMITH, KEITH   PURDUE 5 WO38 WO
SMITH, JAMES* TORREY MARYLAND 5 WO39 WO
BROWN, DEANDRE*   SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI 4 WO4 WO
SPENCER, OWEN   NORTH CAROLINA ST 5 WO40 WO
TOLIVER, TERRENCE   LOUISIANA ST 5 WO41 WO
TURNER, TERRANCE   INDIANA 5 WO42 WO
WHALEN, RYAN   STANFORD 5 WO43 WO
WILLIAMS, MARSHALL   WAKE FOREST 5 WO44 WO
YOUNG, JIMMY   TEXAS CHRISTIAN 5 WO45 WO
YOUNG, TITUS   BOISE ST 5 WO46 WO
BROWN, VINCENT VINCE SAN DIEGO ST 4 WO5 WO
BURTON, STEPHEN   WEST TEXAS A&M 4 WO6 WO
COBB, RANDALL*   KENTUCKY 4 WO7 WO
DELL, MARK   MICHIGAN ST 4 WO8 WO
DOSS, TANDON*   INDIANA 4 WO9 WO

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2011 NFL Pro Day Dates For Auburn, Alabama, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Other Southeastern Schools

NFL pro days are just around the corner, rolling up on us shortly after the NFL Combine. You could look at a complete list of NFL pro day dates for schools around the nation, or you could scroll down right here for regionally oblivious coverage of SEC and ACC schools.

(There are technically many more for smaller, non-SEC or -ACC Southeastern schools, so click on that link above if you’d like to see those too.)

The Georgia Bulldogs have yet to schedule a pro day, at least according to NFL.com’s list. They’re certain to host one, considering they have two first-round picks to show off. Georgia Tech only has a few draft-eligible players to trot out for its March 9 pro day, with Anthony Allen likely to be the biggest draw.

Auburn’s is going to be a big deal. Cam Newton’s mechanics, potential No. 1 pick Nick Fairley, and whatever general madness is bound to happen any time Auburn does anything at all.

More to come once Georgia announces its pro day.

Alabama: March 9
Arkansas: March 8
Auburn: March 8
Boston College: March 23
Georgia Southern: March 21 <—- Oh you didn’t know the Eagles are in the SEC now?
Georgia Tech: March 9
Kentucky: March 10
Maryland: March 16
Mississippi: March 22
North Carolina: March 31
North Carolina State: March 23
Tennessee: March 11
Virginia: March 17
Wake Forest: March 14

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2011 NFL Draft: Joshua Nesbitt Working Out At Running Back

Georgia Tech's quarterback of the last three years is currently in Charlotte, North Carolina preparing for the draft. Instead of working on his throwing mechanisms and routes, Joshua Nesbitt is focusing on all of the skills necessary to be an NFL running back, according to Heather Dinich. 

Nesbitt was a perfect quarterback for Paul Johnson's option-based spread offense, but struggled with his accuracy, completing only 43% of his passes. He did have great success as a runner, racking up 2,806 yards on the ground. 

Many had thought that he might be able to make it to the next level on the defensive side of the ball, but it seems he has chosen a more natural route. 

He told Dinich: "I'm just working on, they listed me as a running back, so I'm trying to get better at running back drills and quarterback. I just want to play football. I feel like I have a lot to prove just by being the person that I am, just always being in the shadow of everybody."

He has a long road to make it to the next level, but after watching him play and compete for the last three years, I would not bet against him.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft: A.J. Green To Bengals, Nick Fairley No. 1, Da'Quan Bowers To Broncos

Mocking The Draft’s second official 2011 NFL mock draft is out, with a steady stream of Southeastern talent across the top of the first round. MTD has made a few changes since their last, considering the final list of underclassmen, Andrew Luck’s exclusion, and almost all draft positions being locked in.

Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green goes No. 4 to the Cincinnati Bengals, joining Jordan Shipley and Jermane Gresham on a receiving corps that will weather the aging/loss of Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco nicely. Now, as for its quarterback …

Blaine Gabbert, going No. 7 to the San Francisco 49ers, is the first non-SEC or ACC player off the board. The rest of the top seven: Auburn Tigers DT Nick Fairley No. 1 to the Carolina Panthers, followed by Clemson Tigers DE Da’Quan Bowers to the Denver Broncos, Alabama Crimson Tide DL Marcell Dareus to the Buffalo Bills, Green, LSU Tigers CB Patrick Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals, Bama WR Julio Jones to the Cleveland Browns.

Auburn QB Cam Newton goes to the Washington Redskins at No. 10, and there’s nothing at all hilarious about the most free-spending NFL team landing a player with Newton’s price tag. Dawgs DE Justin Houston ends up No. 25, going to the Seattle Seahawks, with various other ACC and SEC players elsewhere.

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2011 NFL Draft: A.J. Green, Nick Fairley Headline Complete List Of Underclassmen Declaring

Mocking The Draft has a list of all 56 juniors and redshirt sophomores who’ve elected to enter the 2011 NFL Draft, a new record by three players. We’ve tried to catalog the SEC and ACC entrants in this stream, but did miss a couple along the way, so here’s the list of players from our local conferences.

Fourteen SEC players are entering early, including two Georgia Bulldogs and six from the state of Alabama:

Dareus, Marcell DE Alabama
Ingram, Mark RB Alabama
Jones, Julio WR Álabama
Mallett, Ryan QB Arkansas
Adams, Darvin WR Auburn
Fairley, Nick DT Auburn
Newton, Cam QB Auburn
Hill, Will DB Florida
Green, A.J. WR Georgia
Houston, Justin LB Georgia
Cobb, Randall WR Kentucky
Peterson, Patrick DB Louisiana State
Ridley, Stevan RB Louisiana State
Gurley, Tori WR South Carolina

While 12 ACC players are making an early leap, with UNC unsurprisingly sending the most:

Bowers, Da’Quan DE Clemson
Harper, Jamie RB Clemson
Claytor, Nick T Georgia Tech
Tarrant, Jerrard DB Georgia Tech
Smith, Torrey WR Maryland
Harris, Brandon DB Miami
Austin, Marvin DT North Carolina
Little, Greg WR North Carolina
Quinn, Robert DE North Carolina
Parr, Zane DE Virginia
Evans, Darren RB Virginia Tech
Williams, Ryan RB Virginia Tech

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2011 NFL Draft: Justin Houston Leaving Georgia, Among Last Players To Declare

With just moments to spare before the Jan. 15 deadline, Georgia Bulldogs DE/LB Justin Houston has announced he’ll skip his senior season and enter the 2011 NFL Draft. Houston took his time with the decision, speaking frequently with head coach Mark Richt on the matter, according to reports.

Houston joins WR A.J. Green as the only state players to declare early for the draft this year.

He’s expected to be a first-round pick, but could go anywhere from the teens to the early second. His one year of experience in a pro-style, 3-4 system could make him more enticing to one of the many teams that play a similar defense. He should be able to bulk up or trim down to play any number of NFL roles.

In three years in Athens, the Statesboro native racked up 19 sacks, 110 tackles, a handful of pass deflections, and a pick six. He was nominated for the Nagurski Trophy this year, given to the nation’s best defender.

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2011 NFL Draft: Nick Fairley Taking His Shot At Being A Top Pick

Auburn Tigers DT Nick Fairley is entering the NFL Draft a year early, taking his controversial Lombardi Award-winning act to the highest level. He’ll be a top-10 pick and could go as high as No. 1 to the Carolina Panthers.

Fairley isn’t on Ndamokong Suh’s level, but nobody else in this year’s class is even close anyway. Still, Fairley is an incredible talent and was very clearly the best player on the field during Oregon’s offensive possessions in Monday night’s BCS title game.

He is, however, an often-unblockable mauler with what old-timers call a mean streak, though his astoundingly aggressive play has earned him penalties that would’ve meant major fines at the NFL level. He’ll need to find a way to play with the same intensity but greater common sense. If Roger Goodell doesn’t get him, some enterprising offensive lineman surely will.

If the Panthers take him, Fairley would catch absolute hell during his annual trip to the Georgia Dome after the ax work he put into Aaron Murray, but he really doesn’t seem concerned with what opposing fans think of him, so whatever.

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2011 NFL Draft: Cam Newton Taking His Talents To The NFL

Auburn Tigers QB Cam Newton has decided to enter the 2011 NFL Draft, a curious decision considering his lack of renown and the fact that nobody thinks he’s very good at football. The Heisman Trophy winner could be a top-10 pick or he could be drafted in the eff-it Tebow range — much will depend on what he can show NFL scouts regarding his pro adaptability.

He has the physical tools, with Ben Roethlisberger’s size but the mobility of a much smaller quarterback. He’s proven himself to be a winner and an on-field leader, though many teams will still have plenty of questions about just what transpired between the time he left Florida and arrived at Auburn, along with some of his incidents in Gainesville.

Newton was the surest bet to declare for the draft in all of college football this year. Now that he’s declared, mock drafts can start to feel a little bit more definitive.

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2011 NFL Draft: Jerrard Tarrant Leaving Georgia Tech Early

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets DB Jerrard Tarrant will skip his senior season and enter the 2011 NFL Draft, the school’s athletic department announced via Twitter. The Carrolton native has 110 career tackles, five interceptions, and two punt return touchdowns.

This decision is not quite as big a head-scratcher as was Nick Claytor’s, but it still appears ill-advised. Tarrant has been mentioned as a potential late-round pick, and his special teams skills will certainly attract a few more eyeballs, as will his experience at playing both safety and cornerback.

He’s big (six-foot-one, 205 pounds) and athletic, but he’s got his work cut out for him if he’s going to hear his name called. When asked why he’s entered the draft, Tarrant told Coley Harvey, “Sometimes it’s just time to move on.”

Last year four Jackets left school early. Three of them were very happy with their decisions, while Jonathan Dwyer saw himself tumble into the sixth round. For Tarrant, being drafted in the sixth would be a happy result. Really hope he proves me wrong here.

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2011 NFL Draft: Georgia Tech's Nick Claytor Declares For Draft

After losing four marquee players early to the NFL last season, there weren't any can't-miss prospects to leave early for the draft this year for Georgia Tech. The first declaration comes as a bit of a surprise, as offensive lineman Nick Claytor has entered his name and will be working to make it at the next level. 

Claytor started in 15 games in his time at Tech, and helped the Jackets lead the nation in rushing this season. He was one of the highest ranked offensive tackles coming out of high school, getting four stars from Scout.com and being placed as the 15th best nationally at his position. Doug Roberson points out that as of yesterday, Claytor is one of only two offensive tackles that have declared early for the draft, the other being Tyron Smith of USC.

From Coley Harvey, Claytor said on Thursday that "I've got a good shot is what I've been told, and I'm going to take it."

The decision severely hurts Tech's offensive line for next year. The Jackets already will be without Sean Bedford and Austin Barrick, and now will be missing Claytor as well. 

Claytor was a prototypical offensive lineman for a pro-style offense. He stuck through the coaching change, and continued to dedicate his efforts for the new staff. For that he should be commended. 

"I signed on to Georgia Tech. I didn't sign on to an offense. I think it shows what kind of player I am. I was willing to stay, I was willing to sacrifice and I was willing to work harder than I ever have in my life," said Claytor. 

He enters the draft needing only 10 credits to graduate from Georgia Tech with a degree in Management. He is planning to finish the few remaining classes next year to get his degree.

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2011 NFL Draft: Randall Cobb Leaving Kentucky, According To Report

Kentucky Wildcats QB/WR/RB/KR/PR Randall Cobb is reportedly leaving school early to enter the 2011 NFL Draft. Cobb has been a Swiss Army offense for the Wildcats, and will provide some NFL offensive coordinator with a chance to stay up late coming up with ways to use his new toy.

Mocking The Draft has the numbers:

Cobb was second in the nation as a junior in all-purpose yards. In 2010, he caught 84 passes for 1,017 yards and seven touchdowns. He ran the ball 55 times for 424 yards and five more scores. He completed five of 10 passes for 50 yards and three touchdowns.

On special teams, he averaged 7.8 yards per punt return and 23.7 yards per kick return.

A potential slot receiver, he sounds exactly like the kind of player the Falcons should look to pick up in later rounds. He’s expected to go in the third round or so, however, and a similar player could likely be found later on.

And an incident like his Twitter tirade against Kentucky fans would also raise the concerns of Atlanta’s very image-conscious front office, especially considering the Michael Vick middle finger incident and this city’s ever-shifting sports priorities.

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2011 NFL Draft: Patrick Peterson, Ryan Williams Join A.J. Green In Declaring Early

Days after Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green announced his intention to enter the 2011 NFL Draft, he was joined by LSU Tigers CB Patrick Peterson and Virginia Tech Hokies RB Ryan Williams. Peterson and Green could both be top-five picks, while Williams joins backfield bro Darren Evans in leaving VPI early.

In SB Nation’s latest mock draft, Peterson goes No. 2 to the Denver Broncos. Williams is not expected to be a first-round pick, though it’s not out of the question.

Peterson has been something of a one-man team for LSU, finishing 39th in the nation with four picks, including one returned for a touchdown, two punt return touchdowns, and 114 yards worth of kick returns per game.

In 2009 Williams set the ACC freshman rushing record, powering out 1,655 yards and terrifying the conference with the prospects of another two or three years until everybody realized he was a redshirt, so phew.

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2011 NFL Draft: Julio Jones Leaving Alabama Along With Mark Ingram And Marcell Dareus

It was reported yesterday by Joe Schad that Alabama Crimson Tide RB Mark Ingram and DL Marcell Dareus would announce their early NFL Draft entry today. WR Julio Jones joined the pair at today’s press conference, with all three announcing their intention to leave Bama early.

Jones and Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green have had a curious rivalry going for years, at least in the eyes of Georgia and Alabama fans. Big-time recruits from the same class with similar body types, they’ve been measured against each other their entire college careers. If Green enters the draft as expected, their eventual draft status will be another feather in the caps of those who give a crap about this kind of thing.

Jones is expected to go No. 6 to the Cleveland Browns in our latest mock draft. I do agree his time in Bama’s offense would make him a great fit and complement for an offense that has featured Peyton Hillis first, Peyton Hillis second, then Colt McCoy’s barely reined-in creativity third.

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2011 NFL Draft: A.J. Green, Da'Quan Bowers, NIck Fairley Top Three Prospects Now That Andrew Luck Is Out

With Thursday’s news that Stanford Cardinal QB Andrew Luck will be staying in school, which SEC or ACC players are most likely to take advantage of that now vacant front-runner spot? Mocking The Draft polled its community on whether Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green, Clemson Tigers DE Da’Quan Bowers, or Auburn Tigers DT Nick Fairley should go No. 1 in a Luckless world.

(They didn’t limit the poll to just SEC or ACC players. It just happens that all of their potential No. 1 choices play in our conferences.)

After over 500 votes, Green edges out Bowers, 41 percent to 32 percent. Fairley has 16 percent, with “Other” taking nine (popular Others included LSU Tigers CB Patrick Peterson, Missouri Tigers QB Blaine Gabbert, Alabama Crimson Tide DL Marcell Dareus, and so forth).

While Green hasn’t officially declared yet, Luck’s decision to stay pretty much seals the deal. Not because MTD says so, but come on. Even if Green was going to be a No. 4 pick, now he’s the No. 3. That’s just too much money to put off for another year.

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2011 NFL Draft: Ryan Mallett, Mark Ingram, Marcell Dareus, Janoris Jenkins Declare Early

While earlier this week we had a rush of ACC players declaring for the 2011 NFL Draft, Thursday night was all about the SEC, and some of its biggest names in fact. (Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green, DE Justin Houston, and CB Brandon Boykin are reportedly among those, according to a tweet that’s been flying around. More on that later.)

Arkansas Razorbacks QB Ryan Mallett officially announced his decision to enter the draft, a move that looks even smarter now that Stanford Cardinal QB Andrew Luck is out of the picture. Mallett could enter the top half of the first round now that only Cam Newton or Blane Gabbert are likely to be taken ahead of him.

Alabama’s Mark Ingram and Marcell Dareus, co-MVPs of the 2009 BCS National Championship Game, are reportedly set to announce their decision today. Both are expected to be first-rounders, with Dareus a likely top-10 pick.

And Florida Gators CB Janoris Jenkins is reportedly going to announce his early entry as well. Like the others above, he’s a likely first-round pick and could be the third or fourth cornerback taken.

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2011 NFL Draft: Darren Evans, Not Ryan Williams, Leaving Virginia Tech Early

While redshirt sophomore Virginia Tech Hokies RB Ryan Williams could still decide to declare early for the 2011 NFL Draft, it was junior backfield mate Darren Evans who announced his decision to leave early in a Thursday press conference. Williams had been reported to be making his announcement today, but Evans took his place.

Mocking The Draft projects Williams as a second-round pick, but Evans as a late-rounder. Evans rushed for 854 yards this year, including an 160-yard outburst against N.C. State.

David Wilson will likely take over feature-back duties if the Evans Williams Bourbon lineup leaves. With Tyrod Taylor’s eligibility up, don’t be surprised to see an all-new Hokies backfield next year.

Heather Dinich has a word from Evans on what Williams is going through while making his decision:

I understand what he’s going through, and as a friend I’d rather not be bugging him about it, because I know enough people are.

For more Hokies, join Gobbler Country.

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2011 NFL Draft: Da'Quan Bowers, Brandon Harris, Zane Parr Declare For Draft

A trio of ACC NFL Draft prospects have thrown their hats in the ring. The biggest name is Clemson Tigers DE Da’Quan Bowers, who’s picked an agent according to Scout.com. Bowers was up for just about every national award for which a defensive lineman can be nominated, led the nation in sack yardage, and is expected to be a top-10 pick at worst. His decision to enter the draft: a no-brainer. SB Nation’s most recent mock draft sent him to the Bengals at No. 4.

For more on Bowers, visit Shakin' The Southland.

Miami Hurricanes CB Brandon Harris announced in a statement he plans to go pro, a month after leaving the door open to return. He’s also a likely first-rounder, slated for the middle of day one and potentially the third or fourth defensive back taken.

For more on Harris, visit The 7th Floor.

Virginia Cavaliers DE Zane Parr has also declared — Parr will not be a first-round selection. He may not even be a day-two pick. He doesn’t appear on Mocking The Draft’s top 200, and MTD regulars are highly perplexed by his decision.

For more on Parr, visit Streaking The Lawn.

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2011 Mock NFL Draft: A.J. Green To Bills, Cam Newton To Vikings, Justin Houston To Packers

Mocking The Draft’s first post-week 17 2011 mock draft is up, and it’s even more Southern than their midseason effort, with 17 SEC or ACC players going in the first round.

The player of the highest local interest, Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green, has moved from No. 8 to No. 3 in MTD’s eyes, winding up on Chan Gailey’s Buffalo Bills and forming a surprisingly good wide receiver corps. The other first-round Dawg, No. 25 DE/LB Justin Houston, gives the Green Bay Packers defense a big versatility boost.

In the interest of ensuring the Minnesota Vikings always have the league’s most attention-prone quarterback, MTD gives Auburn Tigers QB Cam Newton to the Vikes at No. 12.

Other highly ranked conference players include No. 2 (Denver Broncos) LSU Tigers CB Patrick Peterson, No. 4 (Cincinnati Bengals) Clemson Tigers DE Da’Quan Bowers, No. 6 (Cleveland Browns) Alabama Crimson Tide WR Julio Jones, No. 7 (San Francisco 49ers) Auburn DT Nick Fairley, No. 8 (Tennessee Titans) Bama DT Marcell Dareus, and No. 9 (Dallas Cowboys) North Carolina Tar Heels OLB Robert Quinn.

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2011 NFL Draft: Andrew Luck May Stay At Stanford, Boosting A.J. Green's Status

Stanford Cardinal QB Andrew Luck has been the prospective No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft for several weeks now, but it’s starting to look like he might actually stick around for his senior year. If he does stay, four SEC players and one ACC player are the most likely to benefit — as much as maybe playing for the Carolina Panthers can be considered a benefit.

Teams looking for a quarterback will likely consider Auburn Tigers QB Cam Newton and Arkansas Razorbacks QB Ryan Mallett first, if our Luck has run out (nice!). But teams drafting highly often have more than just quarterback issues. Carolina’s entire offense is terrible, but is Jimmy Clausen really the weakest link? How much more effective would he be with Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green in his holster?

A pair of defenders, LSU Tigers CB Patrick Peterson and Clemson Tigers DE Da’Quan Bowers, also merit consideration. Both have ranked highly in various mock drafts, with Bowers being named a possible No. 1 by OK I CAN’T REMEMBER where I saw that. Not just being a Southern conference homer here, as those are the only names listed at the .com link, as written by a Buffalo Bills fan.

Of course, Green still has to declare for the draft himself, which is currently up in the air — though probably not as up in the air as the Dawgs fan would prefer.

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2011 NFL Draft: Georgia Tech Players? Anthony Allen? Mario Butler? Hello?

We’ve written far more about the 2011 NFL Draft prospects of Georgia Bulldogs than Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, which makes sense. It’s simply going to be a bigger year for Georgia in the NFL Draft than it will be for Georgia Tech. In recent years Georgia and Tech have been taking turns supplying the NFL with top talent — Calvin Johnson, then Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno, then Derrick Morgan and Demaryius Thomas, and now A.J. Green and Justin Houston.

But there are a handful of Tech players likely to get a chance to play on Sundays. The ever-useful Mocking The Draft lists three senior Jackets who could hear their names called during draft weekend: RB Anthony Allen, CB Mario Butler, and ILB Brad Jefferson.

Allen projects as a fourth-to-sixth rounder. He’s played in more conventional offenses, so NFL teams shouldn’t worry about his ability to adapt. At times he hasn’t been the most spirited blocker, and he has had fumbling issues. He runs with power, albeit bizarre upright power, and shouldn’t have the same conditioning issues that caused his predecessor Jonathan Dwyer’s NFL standing to plummet.

The two defenders are likely to go in late rounds. I’m interested to see where Jefferson and Georgia’s Akeem Dent wind up — the fact that they have even a little bit of 3-4 experience should boost their draft stock beyond what it would’ve been otherwise.

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2011 NFL Draft: A.J. Green, Cam Newton, Patrick Peterson Among SEC's Prospect List

Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green is a good bet to be a top-two pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, but he’s likely to be followed soon after by a deluge of SEC talent. Just as the Big 12 filled the top of the 2010 draft, the SEC could take up half or more of next year’s top ten.

Mocking The Draft’s top 200 includes 38 SEC players, with Green, LSU Tigers CB Patrick Peterson, Auburn Tigers DT Nick Fairley, Alabama Crimson Tide WR Julio Jones, Bama DL Marcell Dareus, and Auburn QB Cam Newton in the top ten. MTD also projects Florida Gators CB Janoris Jenkins, Bama RB Mark Ingram, Arkansas Razorbacks QB Ryan Mallett, Mississippi St. Bulldogs OT Derek Sherrod, Georgia LB Justin Houston, and Florida OL Mike Pouncey as first round-ish talent.

Florida and Alabama lead the way with seven each on the list. While many of these players are juniors, all are currently expected to declare for the draft.

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2011 NFL Draft: Da'Quan Bowers, Robert Quinn, Brandon Harris Lead ACC Prospects

One of the biggest debates surrounding next year’s NFL Draft will be whether the team with the No. 1 pick should take the sure thing, A.J. Green, or the potential franchise quarterback, Andrew Luck. Another guy in the mix, and just a spot behind either according to Mocking The Draft’s top-200 list, is Clemson Tigers DE Da’Quan Bowers.

Bowers led the nation in sacks, sack yards, and tackles for loss yardage on his way to winning the Bronko Nagurski Award.

Other ACC players ranked near the top: North Carolina Tar Heels DE Robert Quinn, No. 9; Miami Hurricanes CB Brandon Harris, No. 18; Canes DL Allen Bailey, No. 22; Florida St. Seminoles guard Rodney Hudson, No. 26; Boston College Eagles OT Anthony Castonzo, No. 27; N.C. State Wolfpack LB Nate Irving, No. 34, and so forth.

MTD has 35 ACC players in its top 200 — for reference, a few more than 224 players will be selected in next year’s draft. UNC and Clemson make the most appearances, with nine and seven respectively.

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2011 NFL Draft: Justin Houston, Brandon Boykin, Trinton Sturdivant Georgia's Main Non-A.J. Green Prospects

Our NFL Draft community, Mocking The Draft, has published its latest list of the top 200 2011 draft prospects, darn near an entire draft worth of college stars. Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green heads the list, of course, but three other Dawgs also make appearances — all of them juniors.

LB Justin Houston shows up at No. 33, a borderline first-rounder. Houston has sent his name in to the NFL’s advisory board, seeking a second opinion on whether he should go pro.

CB/KR Brandon Boykin ranks No. 93. His NFL Combine performance is going to bowl some scouts over. He had a 39-inch vertical in high school, winning slam dunk contests left and right, and has been saying he’s gotten better throughout college.

And OL Trinton Sturdivant is down at No. 177. Though he has more than sufficient size, injury concerns are going to affect his draft status should he decide to leave Athens.

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2011 NFL Draft: A.J. Green The Nation's Top Prospect, Says Mocking The Draft

Could Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green be drafted ahead of Stanford Cardinal QB Andrew Luck? Hard to say what the Carolina Panthers (presumably) will do with their first pick, but Mocking The Draft thinks Green will be the draft’s best player if/when he decides to enter.

Green will wait to announce his decision until after the Liberty Bowl, but there’s no reason to think he’ll pass up on millions of dollars. Not that we’d begrudge him sticking around — the thought of a sophomore Aaron Murray getting a senior A.J. Green for an entire season boggles the Dawg fan’s mind.

Franchise quarterback types get drafted ahead of consensus best players from time to time. Happened to Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson just a few years ago, when the Oakland Raiders took JaMarcus Russell first, and then again last year when the Lions were gifted Ndamukong Suh, though Sam Bradford is turning out to be the right pick for the St. Louis Rams.

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2011 NFL Draft: Will Hill Leaves Florida Gators Early, Via Facebook?

 

Junior Florida Gators safety Will Hill appears to have declared his intention to leave early for the 2011 NFL Draft, writing "farewell uf" on his Facebook wall Monday morning. While he could also only be stepping out for the morning, meaning we'll see a "hello again uf" message later tonight, Hill is now the second SEC entity this week to make a major announcement via Facebook. So far he's gotten a better response than Vanderbilt did when announcing its head coach, though.

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Mocking The Draft, our NFL Draft community, has previously said Hill would be wise to stick around for a senior season. Word on the street is Hill doesn't expect to get along with new coach Will Muschamp, but are NFL coaches really known for being more lovable than COACH BOOM?

Clicking around the internet, it looks like most are expecting Hill to be something like a third- or possibly second-round pick.

Hill is a tremendous athlete, but has rough decision-making skills both on and off the field. He was suspended for two games this season, and isn't always in position during plays. In unrelated matters, you may remember him as the guy who ran over the man in the wheelchair:

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2011 NFL Draft: Justin Houston Requests Advisory Committee Advice

Junior Georgia Bulldogs LB Justin Houston has sent his name into the NFL’s draft advisory committee, according to Seth Emerson. Houston has been projected to be picked as high as the late first round, but he’d like a free opinion from NFL scouts on the matter before he makes the decision to go pro. (HINT: He’s probably going pro.)

He says he’ll wait until after the Liberty Bowl to make a decision. WR A.J Green and OL Trinton Sturdivant are among other Dawgs seeking advice on whether to make the jump or not. (HINT: A.J. Green would be a maniac to leave that type of paper on the table.)

Blue-chip pass rushers are always risky bets for NFL teams, but the position is so important that teams will always be willing to take a shot. He has the frame to bulk up and play defensive end, or he could stay quick and line up as a 3-4 edge rusher.

Houston has been named second-team AP All America, first-team All-SEC, and a Bronko Nagurski Award finalist.

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2011 NFL Draft Prospects: A.J. Green Should Leave Georgia, But Trinton Sturdivant Shouldn't

WR A.J. Green and OL Trinton Sturdivant were among the several Georgia Bulldogs players who met with Atlanta Falcons president Rich McKay to discuss their 2010 NFL Draft status. No word on what advice McKay, a former general manager, offered each player, but SB Nation’s draft community Mocking The Draft has some for Sturdivant: enjoy Athens.

The six-foot-five junior tackle only played a handful of snaps in 2008 and 2009 due to left knee injuries, meaning NFL scouts don’t have very much to go by on him. They’d also be highly worried about his injury-proneness, and giving them a healthy season to look at would ease at least some of those concerns.

He definitely has NFL size, and played decently for most of the year, but sticking around for his senior year is more likely to pay off in the long run. He’s projected as a sixth- or seventh-round pick at the moment.

Green, of course, should go. If he likes money, that is. It would be a shocker if he wasn’t a top-ten pick.

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NFL Mock Draft 2011: Where Will A.J. Green, Cam Newton, And Other SEC Or ACC Players End Up?

As noted yesterday in our Atlanta Falcons NFL Draft story, it's not too early to talk 2011 draft. Mocking The Draft, our NFL Draft community, has released its first mock draft for next year. The southeast dominates, with 16 of 32 picks coming from the SEC or ACC. Here's a rundown:

No. 2, Buffalo Bills: Alabama Crimson Tide DT Marcel Dareus. Chan Gailey's biggest mistake as Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets coach, even worse than sticking with Reggie Ball, was failing to recruit enough linemen. Bills GM Buddy Nix picked six linemen with his ten picks last year, and it would be nice to see that continue.

No. 3, Detroit Lions: LSU Tigers CB Patrick Peterson. Adding LSU's best defender, top special teamer, and sometimes even highest scorer would bring us right back to that thing we say about the Lions every year: with all that talent, how can they not win?

No. 5, Cincinnati Bengals: Clemson Tigers DE Da'Quan Bowers. An orange tiger stays so, joining former Dawg Geno Atkins and former Jacket Michael Johnson in the Bengals' neverending quest to fix a pass rush that should work but doesn't.

No. 6, San Francisco 49ers: Auburn Tigers DT Nick Fairley. Oh please oh please oh please put Mike Singletary in charge of Fairley. Coach would either have Fairley showing up 15 minutes early and putting the toilet seat down out of respect for mothers everywhere, a la his work with Vernon Davis, or he'd drive him even deeper into quarterback-snapping insanity. Kind of both, you'd think.

No. 7, Minnesota Vikings: North Carolina Tar Heels DE Robert Quinn. The one-time best defensive line in football is ahead of only three teams in sacks. Though they might go quarterback, D line depth wins Super Bowls.

No. 8, Arizona Cardinals: Georgia Bulldogs WR A.J. Green. The best college receiver joins quite possibly the best pro receiver, but can anybody get them the ball?

No. 10, Cleveland Browns: Alabama WR Julio Jones. Ten minutes later, the Green-Jones debate is forever settled. No, it will go on forever, especially if furious rivals Arizona and Cleveland ever play each other.

No. 12, Washington Redskins: Miami Hurricanes DT Allen Bailey. Turning a 4-3 tackle into a nose tackle hasn't worked out all that well for Washington so far.

No. 14, Houston Texans: Miami CB Brandon Harris. With one of the league's worst secondaries, which we were told would improve once Dunta Robinson left for the Falcons, this is the obvious choice for Houston.

No. 17, Tennessee Titans: Florida Gators CB Janoris Jenkins. So many cornerbacks. I do not have something to say about each of these cornerbacks.

No. 18, Miami Dolphins: Auburn QB Cam Newton. So perfect that there's no way it'll happen, because the NFL is like that. He'll end up being a Cardinals backup or something really NFLy. The Dolphins could finally run the offense that they've always dreamed of, with the Wildcat boasting an actual triple threat quarterback on the edge or in motion. If there's a football god ...

No. 19, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Virginia Cavaliers CB Ras-I Dowling. Feel like I've written about 13 cornerbacks by now, but it's pretty much only two.

No. 24, Pittsburgh Steelers: Florida OL Mike Pouncey. Same story as Newton. Reuniting the Pouncey Bros would be a great story and likely good for their development, so this Pouncey will assuredly go to Denver.

No. 25, New York Giants: Georgia DE Justin Houston. Love this. When you're good at something, keep pressing the advantage. The Giants have had one of the league's best pass rushes for years now, with their backup defensive ends often being worth playing in IDP fantasy leagues. No reason to stop now.

No. 29, New Orleans Saints: Alabama RB Mark Ingram. I don't really want to talk about this.

No. 31, Atlanta Falcons: North Carolina LB Bruce Carter. See here -- thinking the team goes offensive line.

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