These guys do.
Thousands of collegiate football players suit up every season with that goal in mind, one way or another. But the odds of getting picked in the draft are slim, and the odds of making it through a camp and onto the roster are even slimmer.
This year’s class, like each one prior, contains some of the finest athletes in the country, but which players stick out above the rest? Imagine taking the best characteristics from around the game and forming one super-player using each feature.
Here are the top 10 characteristics in this year’s draft class:
HandsCharles Brown from USC is a big boy. At 6-foot-5 and 303 pounds, he’s a mountain on the offensive line, but his greatest attributes are at the ends of his nearly 36-inch long arms. His hands check in at an outfielder’s glove-sized 11 3/8 inches. Put these mitts on anyone, and it’s like wearing octopus tentacles. Defensive linemen don’t stand a chance getting loose of these swatters.
Brandon Spikes already could be a rich man. The Florida linebacker was projected high on the 2009 draft board — and rightfully so. But the Gator opted to return to Gainesville for his senior year instead and didn’t have the greatest of seasons.
Some of Spikes’ actions may stick out in many war rooms this weekend. Against Georgia in October, he eye-gouged a Bulldog player in retaliation for an earlier eye-gouge he received himself. Although Spikes wasn’t penalized on the play, head coach Urban Meyer elected to suspend him for the first half of the next game, which was against Vanderbilt. Instead of just the half-game suspension, Spikes suspended himself for the entire game so that he wouldn’t be a distraction to his teammates.
He isn’t just some small, agile skilled player either. Pierre-Paul is a defensive end and stands in at 6-foot-5, 270 pounds.
VersatilityArmanti Edwards from Appalachian State proved to be a very productive college quarterback, but his calling in the NFL might be elsewhere. Edwards could fill in as a fine wide receiver, and with the Wildcat offense finding its way into more and more playbooks, Edwards could be a very popular option for many offenses. He threw for 3,292 yards and ran for over 600 yards as a senior. He’s only 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, so Edwards could see himself as a slot man and punt returning specialist to go with a threat on the Wildcat.
CharismaTim Tebow has had a Tebowan career (too early?) in Gainesville, Fla., and the signal-caller’s greatest attributes aren’t his ability to pick apart the defense or find ways to win. Tebow thrives where others can’t be taught, and that’s with his leadership skills. Tebow’s stronghold of the Gators’ squad was recognized during his impressive career, and the QB brought that to the combine, where he impressed each and every club that interviewed him. Heck, Bill Belichick even wanted to treat him to a North End meal. Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Vick he is not.
Big-Play ThreatJahvid Best is known to break a tackle here and there. Or everywhere. The former Cal Golden Bear running back is going to bring the big-play factor whereever he lands. In nine games in 2009, Best broke runs of 73, 93 and 61 yards and had three two-touchdown performances, one three-TD game and an incredible five-touchdown performance at Minnesota. He missed the final four contests of 2009 after sustaining an injury following a seven-yard touchdown run against Oregon State in early November, but he’s healthy now.
NFL ReadinessToss Eric Berry an NFL jersey on Thursday, and you won’t regret the decision. If there’s any defensive back in the draft that’s NFL-ready, its Tennessee’s Berry. The safety was the best DB in the country last season and has the hardware to prove it. He won the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the best defensive back in the country, and will walk into the draft with 241 tackles and 14 interceptions in his Volunteers career.
PotentialIt’s almost a curse word in the war room, but the player with the most potential to dominate in the NFL is Sam Bradford. The Oklahoma quarterback tossed 88 touchdowns — including 50 as a sophomore — and only 16 interceptions. He played on the big stage every Saturday and has a rare combination of arm strength, mobility, leadership and accuracy that few possess in this year’s draft class.
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