In 2010 most draftniks had Tyson Alualu as a late first/early second round pick but the Jacksonville Jaguars shocked us all by taking him with the 10th selection. Who could be this year’s Tyson Alualu?
Jabaal Sheard, DE, Pittsburgh
Sheard’s career at Pitt was largely overshadowed by the more highly touted, Greg Romeus. When Romeus went down with a season ending injury in 2010, Sheard stepped up in a major way. The 6-3, 267 pound defensive end went on a tear on his way to being named Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Sheard finished with 9 sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss, and 4 forced fumbles. Sheard’s impressive combination of speed and lateral agility make him a strong candidate for a position change to standing up in the 3-4. His scheme diversity will be seen as a big selling point to NFL GM’s and may lead to his selection earlier than expected.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
Kaepernick is a physical freak at the quarterback position. At 6-5, 233 pounds and faster than a lot of NFL defensive backs, Kaepernick is sure to get a lot of looks come April 28, 2011. Kaepernick finished his career as the only player in NCAA history with more than 4,000 rushing yards and 10,000 passing yards in a career. Kaepernick is unquestionably raw as a dropback, NFL passer but his ceiling is through the roof. My prediction is that one NFL GM will take a chance on him earlier than expected with the hopes of finding the next Josh Freeman. The lack of free agency and need for quarterbacks will certainly help Kaepernick’s draft stock.
Christian Ballard, DE, Iowa
Much like Sheard, Ballard spent his career at Iowa in the shadow of Adrian Clayborn. The former tight end has prototypical size (6-4, 283) for the five-technique position in the NFL. His athleticism is rare for a man that size but some are wondering why it never translated to production on a consistent basis. In 48 games, Ballard amassed 150 tackles, 11 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, and 10 quarterback hurries. Ballard’s workouts have been solid in the pre-draft process and his scheme diversity as a three-technique in a 4-3 or five-technique in the 3-4 could lead to a team selecting Ballard in the first round of the 2011 draft.