Pre-combine NFL draft board (cont.)
21. Demaryius Thomas*/WR/Georgia Tech: Thomas is a game-controlling wideout whose best football lies ahead. His broken left foot, which was first reported by SI.com, will deny him the opportunity to turn in the workout many expected. As a result, Thomas won't make a big move up draft boards, but he continues to project as a No. 1 receiver.
22. Brandon Graham/DE-OLB/Michigan: Scouts are struggling to figure out what position Graham will play at the next level. Displaying athleticism during combine workouts will only enhance his draft stock.
23. Jimmy Clausen*/QB/Notre Dame: Clausen is all over draft boards. Some project him as a top six selection, while others slot him in the bottom-third of Round 1. This is for sure: Teams want to find out how much upside the Irish passer possesses, as many feel Clausen won't significantly improve moving forward.
24. Jared Odrick/DT/Penn State: Odrick's versatility on the defensive line is key to his draft grade. The consensus is he'd be equally effective at tackle on a conventional four-man line or at defensive end in a three-man front.
25. Arrelious Benn*/WR/Illinois: Benn comes off a disappointing junior campaign due, in part, to injuries. He's projected as a possession receiver at the next level because of marginal speed, yet could dispel that criticism with fast 40 times in Indianapolis.
26. Carlos Dunlap*/DL/Florida: Dunlap is an imposing figure on the defensive line and a disruptive force for whom the offense must always account. Sadly, he only occasionally plays to his ability and needs to be constantly pushed.
27. Terrence Cody/DT/Alabama: Cody played well in spurts last season but, like Dunlap, his motivation toward the little things has been questioned. His physical conditioning during the Senior Bowl has been well documented. Cody is not expected to show up at the combine looking like Adonis, but he still needs to round into better shape over the next few weeks.
28. C.J. Spiller/RB/Clemson: Spiller is one of the true gamebreakers in this draft and can realistically score every time the ball hits his hands. However, scouts feel Spiller plays a soft game and question his ability to be a feature runner at the next level.
29. Kyle Wilson/CB/Boise State: Wilson capped off a good campaign in '09 with a terrific performance at the Senior Bowl. He hopes to keep the momentum going with fast 40 times at the combine.
30. Charles Brown/T/USC: Brown has soared up draft boards the past six months and can stamp himself as a first-round pick with a good combine performance. Scouts are sure Brown can handle the right tackle position in the NFL. If he shows well in the speed tests at the combine they'll be more confident he can play left tackle, which will elevate his draft stock.
31. Jerry Hughes/DE-OLB/TCU: Hughes has been a pass-rushing terror at defensive end the past two years. He'll likely workout at both defensive end and linebacker at the combine -- two positions he may play at the next level. After sitting out the Senior Bowl with an injury, Hughes must perform well in Indianapolis.
32. Golden Tate*/WR/Notre Dame: Tate was a gamebreaker at Notre Dame, but scouts have reservations about his next-level potential. Tate lacks the proto-typical wide receiver build and, despite the skills he showed on the college field, some question his pure speed.
33. Ricky Sapp/DE-OLB/Clemson: Sapp played on a knee that was less than 100 percent last season, yet still looked good and gave opponents nightmares. He's close to full health entering the combine, and will solidify himself as a first-round pick if he turns in the workout many expect.
34. Jonathan Dwyer*/RB/Georgia Tech: Dwyer is the best north/south runner of the top backs in the draft. He was out of place in Tech's option offense, and as a result, scouts are unsure how he'll produce in a pro-style offense.
35. Tyson Aluala/DL/California: He could turn into one of the real gems of the draft. He's well-regarded in the scouting community and is viewed as a defender who can line up at tackle or as a two-gap end.
36. Maurkice Pouncey*/C/Florida: He heads to the combine as the draft's top center. He has the versatility to be pushed over to offensive guard and has a legitimate chance to land in the latter part of Round 1.
37. Anthony McCoy/TE/USC: McCoy has jumped to the top of the tight end position for a variety of reasons, including his tremendous play last season. He's big, fast and is a terrific pass-catcher. Though it's not his forte', McCoy also gives effort blocking.
38. Trent Williams/OL/Oklahoma: On the heels of a disappointing senior season, Williams' draft stock has been slipping since September. He struggled at left tackle, and by season's end was shuffled inside to center.
39. Brandon LaFell/WR/LSU: LaFell is a graceful receiver with natural pass-catching skills. He won't blow anyone away with his speed, but he has the ability to develop into a productive second receiver.
40. Jahvid Best*/RB/California: The Cal junior offers the best combination of creativity, speed and pass-catching skills of any back in the draft. The concussions from last season are sure to be a topic of conversation for the medical staffs on hand at the combine.
41. Brandon Spikes/LB/Florida: Spikes will be closely monitored at the combine, as scouts feel his speed is suspect. Slowed during the second half of '09 with a leg injury, Spikes will drop down draft boards if he has a poor 40 time.
42. Ryan Mathews/RB/Fresno State: He's the biggest sleeper heading toward the draft. He has the strength to carry the ball on the inside, as well as the speed to beat defenders around the corner. He could vault up draft boards before all is said and done.
43. Perrish Cox/CB/Oklahoma State: He's a shut-down cornerback with natural cover skills. He has the potential to be a big-time player at the next level, though character flaws concern a number of teams.
44. Jermaine Gresham/TE/Oklahoma: Gresham is one of the better athletes from the tight end class, but missed the entire '09 campaign with injury. His hands are suspect, yet Gresham has good value outside the initial 30 choices.
45. Arthur Jones/DL/Syracuse: Jones struggled through an injury-plagued senior season that ended in knee surgery. He's solid in all aspects of the game and can play a variety of positions. Jones will drop due to the depth of defensive line talent in this year's draft, but could end up as one of the better bargains of Round 2.
46) Marshwan Gilyard/WR/Cincinnati: Gilyard has displayed an ever-improving game and was the playmaking force behind the Bearcats offense last season. He offers home run hitting skills as a receiver and return specialist. Scouts are not yet sold on Gilyard being a number one receiver in the NFL.
47) Daryl Washington/LB/TCU: He's another prospect on the rise and is viewed as one of the very few three down linebackers in the draft. Scouts feel Washington is close to being NFL-ready; a solid combine workout will only enhance his stock.
48) Kareem Jackson*/CB/Alabama: Jackson has tremendous physical skills, yet needs a little more work on his game. He offers starting potential at the next level, though it may take time before he's completely ready.
49) Aaron Hernandez*/TE/Florida: He ranks as one of the best pass catchers in this draft, be it tight end or receiver. The knock is he lacks the strength to be a blocker and the speed to be a consistent downfield threat.
50) Corey Wootton/DL/Northwestern: Wootton was justifiably rated as a top 15 choice entering the season, but was slow returning from the January '09 knee surgery. He showed flashes of his prior self late in the campaign. He's another defensive lineman who can be used at multiple positions up front.
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