Posted: 10:17 a.m. Wednesday, March 13, 2013
By Nick Chiamardas
Wednesday's pro days has some pretty good star power. Four of today's teams boast a potential first round pick. They include: Alabama, Central Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Colorado, Colorado State, Louisiana-Monroe, Marshall, Maryland, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Rutgers, and Washington.
The two-time defending national champion Crimson Tide feature some interesting prospects. The bigger names include likely top 10-pick, cornerback Dee Milliner; guard Chance Warmack; running back Eddie Lacy, and defensive tackle Jesse Williams.
Of that group, Williams is the only one that could realistically be available at 31. I provided a breakdown of Williams here.
Some the lesser-known guys (it's hard to call any of the Alabama players "lesser-known" since they've...ya know...won two straight national championships.) include center Barrett Jones, linebacker Nico Johnson, and tight end Mike Williams.
Jones is a three-time All-American and will go down as one of the most decorated offensive lineman in college football history. He started at guard in 2010 earning his first All-American selection as a sophomore. Then, as a junior, Jones switched to left tackle where he earned another All-American selection and won the Outland Trophy for the nation's best offensive lineman. In 2012, Jones again switched positions this time anchoring the line at center. Jones went on to win the Rimington Award for nation's top center and earn his third All-American selection. Jones also completely naturalized Georgia's 358-pound nose tackle John Jenkins, a likely first round selection, in the second-half of the SEC title game.
Nico Johnson projects as legitimate 3-4 middle linebacker. He's scrappy and tough enough to fit the 49ers mold. Certainly MLB isn't a primer position of need but with both backups Tavares Gooden and Larry Grant hitting free agency filling a back up role could come into play. Johnson is mid to late round pick that will likely need to contribute in special teams before seeing the field regularly.
Big tight end Mike Williams is 6-6, 270lbs and almost looks like an extra tackle when lined up on the line of scrimmage. Williams is a blocking tight end, plain and simple. He can surprise you in the red zone but with a 5.09 forty time, he's not going to be running many fly routes.
Even with the acquisition of Anquan Boldin I still think the Niners draft at least one wide receiver this year. An intriguing early to mid round pick would he Aaron Dobson from Marshall. Dobson is a big-bodied WR (6-3 210lbs) who has also; reportedly, posted a 4.33 forty is freshman season at Marshall. If Dobson can post similar numbers his stock could rise big late.
Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell has been one of my favorite prospects this season. He reminds me a little of Brandon Jacobs. Not 2012 Brandon Jacobs, more like 2008 Brandon Jacobs. Bell is a 6-2, 230lbs running back that really lays the lumber. He's tough to bring down and just posted a respectable 4.6 forty at the Combine. A repeat performance would be nice to see.
There are two Oklahoma players I'll have my eye on. Safety Tony Jefferson was considered to be one of the top safeties in the country heading into his senior year. He didn't have a bad year; other safeties just had better years or out performed him during all-star games and the Combine. He's a bit on the ‘smallish' side at only 5-11, 214lbs but he's a player. Jefferson was a four-year starter at Oklahoma.
The other Oklahoma player to watch is wide receiver Kenny Stills. Another four-year starter, Stills ran a blazing 4.38 forty at the Combine. Needs to show better route running skills during his pro day. Projected as a solid mid round pick.
Washington's Desmond Trufant was, at one time, my projected pick to the 49ers at pick 31. Since then Trufant's ascent has continued and he looks to be the third corner taken in the first round this year.