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Draft King Analysis

January 25, 2011
Lou Pickney,

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As I wrote yesterday, there is a certain amount of risk involved with players taking part in the Senior Bowl, particularly upper-tier prospects. Mostly the risk involves a player being exposed for being smaller or slower or fatter or weaker or less effective than previously believed. But there is also risk of injury, something that came to light today with Stephen Paea suffering a possible tear to the lateral meniscus in his right knee.

Stephen Paea
Stephen Paea was the 2010 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. (Icon SMI)
With that, Paea is out for the North team for Saturday's game. He is slated to have an MRI to determine if his meniscus is actually torn. This will hurt Paea's draft status and could end up meaning he won't be a first round pick. If you're a fan of teams drafting high in round two, there might be a value pick available in the form of Paea there, particularly if he's on schedule to be healthy going into training camp by the draft.

Up next for the site is an updated mock draft, and I'm afraid I'm going to have to give in and move Blaine Gabbert ahead of Cam Newton on the chart. I don't believe that Gabbert is a better prospect than Newton, but the mock draft isn't about my opinions on who's better. Much like my projection of the Raiders drafting Darrius Heyward-Bey at #7 overall in 2009, the mock isn't what I think should happen but instead my best analysis of what I believe *will* happen. It's a distinction that might seem subtle but which is important to keep in mind.

Texas A&M OLB Von Miller is getting rave reviews out of Mobile, and there is talk that he is seen as a likely top ten pick. Miller at this point is #11 on the 2011 mock, slated to go to Houston in part because of that team's new 3-4 defense. Going in the actual top ten absent a trade might be tough since the Cowboys (#9) have OLB Demarcus Ware and Redskins (#10) have OLB Brian Orakpo, limiting their need at the position.

But would the 49ers take a shot at him at #7? What if the Cardinals (#5) see him as a replacement for the hole left by Karlos Dansby's departure last March? It might be a stretch to think in those terms about Miller at this point, but his stock is on the rise.

Cal DE Cameron Jordan is receiving praise for how strong he has looked in practice -- ditto for Boise State WR Titus Young. They both looked good from what the NFL Network showed on its excellent Senior Bowl wrap-up show this evening.

For Noel Devine, is it better for him that the truth about him 5'6" 160 pounds came out now instead of at the NFL Combine? His stock took a hit with that. To point, Trindon Holliday weighs 166 pounds and he's 5'5". There is a place in the NFL for small-but-explosive RBs, but it puts pressure on Devine to perform at a high level in workouts.

Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick has looked great early on and may be making a move toward the front of the second tier of quarterback prospects. Some have liked what they've seen from TCU QB Andy Dalton, and he measured in at 6'2", just a quarter-inch shorter than Jake Locker. That's slightly below prototype for an NFL QB, but still within an acceptable range.


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