Miller Highlights

It’s NFL draft time! The sleeper picks are moving to the top, the first-round blue chippers are showing off their chops, and the analysts are running their mouths.

It’s NFL draft time! The sleeper picks are moving to the top, the first-round blue chippers are showing off their chops, and the analysts are running their mouths. There are many exciting prospects to look for on the gridiron next year. Here is a breakdown of the top-five superstar prospects from the draft that you can expect to light up the NFL in the coming years.

1. Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech (6-5, 239): The wide receiver sensation has been blowing the minds of scouts and GMs in recent weeks. Johnson runs a 40-yard dash at around 4.35 seconds, recorded a 42 1/2-inch vertical jump, and dove for an 11-foot 7-inch-long jump. A wide receiver that can run and jump to these marks at his size is something extremely rare in football. At Georgia Tech, he started every game for three years (38) and caught 28 touchdowns on 178 passes for 2,927 yards. This guy is the “dog and pony” show. Any GM who passes on him should be sent to a mental institution.

Player most like: A stronger, rangier Randy Moss (Oakland Raiders).

Who will draft him: I think that he might go to Cleveland at the third slot but won’t drop further than Tampa Bay at the number-four slot.

2. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson (6-5, 258): The powerful defensive lineman out of Clemson has a lot of upside before he even gets to the NFL. He runs a 4.67 in the 40-yard dash and benched 225 pounds 21 times. The most impressive statistic about Adams was his track record during college. As a junior he had 9 1/2 sacks, 45 tackles, 15 for a loss, three forced fumbles and 29 quarterback pressures. Then in his senior season, the D-lineman accumulated 12 1/2 sacks, 62 tackles, 17 1/2 stops for losses and 26 pressures. He forced two fumbles, but recovered three, including one for a touchdown. This earned him the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a very impressive resume heading into the NFL.

Who will draft him: Could go as high as number two to Detroit, but I expect he will drop to number six and the Washington Redskins.

3. Joe Thomas, LT, Wisconsin (6-7, 311): Thomas is a road grading left tackle who will be a franchise addition to any NFL team. He has the size and technique that you want to see in a college offensive lineman trying to make the jump to the pros. The piece that makes scouts rave about him is his intelligence and his quickness (he ran a 4.95 in the 40-yard dash). Teams will plug him into their system and not worry about that position for 10 years.

Player most like: Looks to me like a smaller and quicker Tarik Glenn (Indianapolis Colts).

Who will draft him: A big toss-up between any of the top-five teams. I say Cleveland and Arizona swap their third and fifth picks and Arizona takes him number three overall.

4. Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma (6-1, 217): Peterson has been projected to be a top-five NFL draft pick in every year he has played football for the Sooners. He has been slowed down by injuries, which makes him a scary pick for teams, and could make him drop a few spots. But Peterson’s positive aspects still make him a very desirable player to any GM. He rushed for 1,925 yards, scoring 15 touchdowns on 339 carries in his freshman year alone. Last year as a junior he managed 1,012 yards and 12 touchdowns on 188 carries after a broken collarbone forced him to miss seven games. Healed now, he ran a 4.4 in the 40 and has an upright, downhill running style reminiscent of Eric Dickerson.

Player most like: Eric Dickerson (retired).

Who will draft him: I don’t want to jinx him, but he has a bad track record of injuries so he might fall into the early teens on draft boards. However, I see him having too much superstar quality, so I say that the running back will go to Cleveland at the number-five slot, after the trade with Arizona.

5. LaRon Landry, DB, LSU (6-0, 213): The Tigers’ safety absolutely dominated people in the secondary last year. Landry’s speed and incredible hitting ability make him an absolute rock star in the draft. In the 40-yard dash he ran an impressive 4.35. He recorded a 37 1/2 -inch vertical jump and 10-foot-3-inch long jump. He could start and go to the Pro Bowl as a rookie.

Player most like: A quicker Roy Williams (Dallas Cowboys) or a rangier Lawyer Milloy (Atlanta Falcons).

Who will draft him: I think new Falcon head Rick Pitino will want him, and after the Matt Shaub trade to Houston swapping the eighth and 10th picks, Atlanta may scoop him up.