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An early look at the top prospects in the 2010 NFL Draft

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Justin Boone - TSN.ca
1/4/2010 11:51:46 AM
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With the NFL regular season coming to a close on Sunday, we now know the St. Louis Rams, fresh off a one-win season, are on the clock for the 2010 NFL Draft.

While the draft is a little over four months away, it's never too early to breakdown the names that commissioner Roger Goodell will be announcing from the podium in April. Whether it's dominant defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen, or super safety Eric Berry, fans are getting ready to welcome a new crop of young playmakers into the league.

The Detroit Lions, who had no where to go but up after their winless campaign a year ago, improved by two games this season but will still pick second overall, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will round out the top three. 

Here's are some of the top NCAA players coming to an NFL franchise near you in 2010.
 
Sam Bradford
Quarterback - Oklahoma
Had he entered the 2009 NFL Draft, Bradford may have gone ahead of Matthew Stafford. Now after a season of injuries his stock will take a hit, but in a draft class that's lacking a Peyton Manning-caliber prospect he may still be the first passer selected. 

Jimmy Clausen
Quarterback - Notre Dame
When Charlie Weis left Notre Dame, Clausen wasn't far behind. While it's unrealistic to assume the pair will teammate once again after Weis takes over offensive coordinator duties for an NFL club, Clausen did gain experience in Weis' pro-style offense, which will help his development at the next level.

C.J. Spiller
Running Back - Clemson
Although Spiller may not be as explosive as Tennessee Titans' RB Chris Johnson, he does provide the potential to score on any given play. The Clemson product doesn't project as an every down back, but his speed and catching ability will make him an asset in any team's running game.  

Jahvid Best
Running Back - California
Best is another exciting ball carrier who can take it to pay dirt at any moment. The 5'10", 195-pound product would be a nice compliment to a team's backfield, adding his blazing speed as another weapon for their rushing attack. 

Dez Bryant
Wide Receiver - Oklahoma State
Bryant is the top receiver coming out of the NCAA this season, and will become a number one target on an NFL club in the near future. He is the type of player defences will have to focus on in their gameplans, as he has a knack for creating separation, the athleticism to out-leap defenders, and catches everything thrown his way.

Jermaine Gresham
Tight End - Oklahoma
Like his teammate Sam Bradford, Gresham missed a good portion of his season due to injury. The good news for Gresham is that he was sidelined early, allowing him plenty of time to recover. More of a receiver than a tight end, Gresham is a true playmaker and will help open up the field for his new team.

Russell Okung
Offensive Tackle - Oklahoma State
Okung isn't particularly great in one area, but instead is solid in all aspects of his game. Depending what happens at the combine and pre-draft workouts, Okung should be a Top 10 pick, and the first offensive tackle chosen in April.

Trent Williams
Offensive Tackle - Oklahoma
Much like Okung, Williams is not an instant franchise tackle, however he should be a dependable bookend to any offensive line. During his time with the Sooners he played both tackle positions, and is more likely to enjoy early success as a right tackle in the NFL. 

Derrick Morgan
Defensive End - Georgia Tech
If your team is looking for a relentless workhorse at defensive end, Morgan should be their selection. The Georgia Tech pass rusher won't be confused with Dwight Freeney or Jared Allen, but he will be a productive player who, in the right system, will cause headaches for opposing quarterbacks.

Ndamukong Suh
Defensive Tackle - Nebraska
Arguably the most talented player available in this year's draft, Suh is a dangerous defender who will wreak havoc on offensive lines every time he steps on the field. Suh made headlines when he sacked Texas' QB Colt McCoy 4.5 times in the Big 12 Championship game, which led many to make a case for him as a legitimate candidate for this year's Heisman trophy.

Gerald McCoy
Defensive Tackle - Oklahoma
While every defensive tackle needy team is hoping to land Suh at the top of the draft, Oklahoma's Gerald McCoy isn't a bad consolation prize. McCoy could also go within the first five picks of the draft, and would give his new team a top notch talent to build around on their defensive line. If Suh is number one, than McCoy is 1A.

Rolando McClain
Linebacker - Alabama
McClain has been a serious impact player for the Crimson Tide defence throughout his collegiate career. Now he brings his versatile skill set to the pros, where he could play inside or outside linebacker. McClain will hope to make the same mark in his rookie season that last year's first round linebackers made (Aaron Curry, Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews).

Joe Haden
Cornerback - Florida
If he declares himself eligible, chances are Florida's Joe Haden will be best cornerback to come out of the 2010 draft class. The junior is a steady tackler in addition to being a strong cover-man and will be at the top of the depth chart on whichever team adds him to their roster.

Eric Berry
Safety - Tennessee
If Ndamukong Suh isn't the best prospect out there, then Eric Berry is. The 6'1", 203-pound junior is the premiere safety in the NCAA, with so much skill and athletic ability that he could very well play any position in the secondary, even in the NFL. You don't often see safeties taken with one of the top picks, but Berry will be gone in the Top 5, if not earlier.  

Taylor Mays
Safety - USC
Mays is another game-changing safety but plays a different style than Berry. Mays doesn't rack up the same amount of interceptions, but he is active in the run game and lethal as a tackler. At 6'3", 230-pounds, Mays hits with the ferocity of a linebacker, but has the speed to succeed in the secondary.

 

Ndamukong Suh (Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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