Underclassmen WRs among top 2011 NFL Draft offensive prospects
Pac-10 features two top QBs in Stanford's Andrew Luck & UW's Jake Locker
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With college football kicking off this weekend, here's a look at the top offensive prospects for the 2011 NFL Draft. For a look at the top defensive prospects, click here. (*denotes underclassman)
Andrew Luck*/Stanford: He moved into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman last season and has the attention of NFL decision-makers. He has the size, arm strength and quarterback intelligence, making him the most NFL-ready of all the draft-eligible quarterback prospects.
Jake Locker/Washington: Locker made the courageous decision of bypassing last April's draft, opting to return for his senior campaign. He's a tremendous athlete who also has the option to pursue a career in major league baseball. Locker has grown at the quarterback position and is developing into a complete passer with a total game.
Ryan Mallett*/Arkansas: He took the SEC by storm last season after transferring from Michigan. He's a statuesque pocket passer with incredible arm strength. Mallett's upside is unlimited yet the junior is far from polished. His accuracy is questionable and his penchant for throwing interceptions disconcerting.
Christian Ponder/Florida State: He lacks the great physical skills of the other top quarterback prospects but makes up for it with smart play. He was making big strides with his game before a shoulder injury sidelined him late in the year.
Jerrod Johnson/Texas A&M: His natural abilities and arm strength rank as the best in the senior class. He gets the ball into the tight spots with a flick of his wrist and can make all the passes. Johnson's throwing mechanics leave a lot to be desired as does his decision making. He can make a big leap up draft boards if he pulls it together this season, otherwise scouts will label him as a developmental prospect.
UNDERRATED -- Kelly Page*/Ball State: The Mid-American Conference has a long history of putting quality quarterbacks into the NFL and Page is next to carry that torch. He's a poised pocket passer with the arm strength necessary to lead an NFL team.
OVERRATED -- Blaine Gabbert*/Missouri: Gabbert has the size, stature and arm strength NFL scouts look for in a starter. And though the junior offers a large upside, his mechanics and accuracy need work before he will be anywhere near NFL ready.
Mark Ingram*/Alabama: The Heisman Trophy winner is not just the best player in college football but far and away the top running back. He's strong enough to carry the ball on the inside yet also possesses the speed to run around tackle. Ingram's skills catching the ball out of the backfield are also highly rated.
Ryan Williams*/Virginia Tech: He awed scouts with his play as a redshirt freshman last season and enters his sophomore campaign with high expectations. He's elusive and creates his own yardage, making defenders miss at the line of scrimmage or in the open field. Still, he must continue to develop his game.
Evan Royster/Penn State: He made the wise choice to return to Penn State for his senior season, where he'll be the focal point of the offense. He's a one-speed/one-cut runner with limited upside, but he can contribute in the NFL.
Kendall Hunter/Oklahoma State: Hunter struggled with injuries last season and didn't capitalize on his terrific 2008 campaign. His playing style is similar to Detroit Lions first-round pick Jahvid Best. Hunter is incredibly elusive and a threat catching the ball.
UNDERRATED -- Mario Fannin/Auburn: He comes off an uninspired junior season after what was a tremendous sophomore campaign. He's a big-bodied ballcarrier who runs well and has been lethal as a pass catcher at Auburn. If he improves on prior form, Fannin could be the first senior running back selected in the draft.
OVERRATED -- DeMarco Murray/Oklahoma: He was rated as the top senior running back by NFL scouting services yet he's primarily a straight line runner who has trouble staying healthy.
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