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Ole Miss doesn’t have any prospects projected to be selected in the first round. But, Michael Oher’s alma mater does have a deep class of potential draftees.
All 32 NFL teams were represented at Ole Miss’ pro day Tuesday, and scouts had a crop of 22 players to watch, according to NFL.com.
Defensive end Greg Hardy is one of the school’s marquee prospects. The 6-foot-4, 277 pound defensive end could have been one of the draft’s top options had he been able to stay healthy. Now, NFLDraftScout.com projects him sliding to near the back of the third round.
When healthy, Hardy’s combination of size and speed has drawn comparisons to Pro Bowlers Julius Peppers and Mario Williams. In 10 games as a sophomore, Hardy notched 64 tackles (18.5 for loss) and 10 sacks.
But Hardy didn’t start a game in 2008 due to complications following foot surgery. He aggravated that same injury in a car crash last Spring, and then broke his wrist midway through his senior season.
Hardy is still working his way back from that wrist injury, so he didn’t bench press at his pro day. He ran a 4.79 40-yard dash and posted a 35-inch vertical jump.
Here are a few more Ole Miss prospects to keep an eye on and a peek into how Golden Tate performed at Notre Dame’s Pro Day Tuesday.
Golden Tate, Notre Dame Wide Receiver; 5-11, 195 2009 Stats: 93 receptions, 1,496 yards, 15 touchdowns Plus: Tate was given the Biletnikoff Award as the most outstanding NCAA college wide receiver in 2009. He showed off his top-notch speed at the Combine with a 4.42 40-yard dash, good for fourth-best at his position. Tate showed good hands at the Combine and again at his pro day, according to NFL.com. Minus: The only real knock on Tate is his size. There were questions as to whether he was just fast on tape and at the college level and whether he would be quick enough for the NFL at his size. But Tate quelled those doubts with a good 40-time. Draft Stock: After the Combine and before the Ravens traded for Anquan Boldin and re-signed Derrick Mason, some mock drafts had Tate going to Baltimore at No. 25. In the latest version of Mock Draft Monitor, that had changed. He’s projected for the second round by NFLDraftScout.com.
Dexter McCluster, Ole Miss Running Back/Wide Receiver; 5-9, 170 2009 Stats: Rushing – 181 rushes, 1,169 yards, 8 TDs; Receiving – 44 receptions, 520 yards, 3 TDs Plus: McCluster is a matchup problem no matter where you put him on the field. Simply put, he’s really fast and elusive. McCluster carved up the SEC, which is no small feat, for more than 1,600 total yards as a senior. Minus: His size is both a blessing and a curse. He’s being projected by some as too small to take the beating of a running back, but is definitely on the shorter end for a receiver. McCluster ran a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day – an improvement from his Combine time, but not elite speed. Draft Stock: After the Senior Bowl, draft analysts across the Web were raving about what a playmaker McCluster could be. He didn’t have a great showing at the Combine, however. NFLDraftScout.com projects him in the second round.
John Jerry, Ole Miss Offensive Tackle; 6-5, 335 Plus: Jerry is Michael Oher’s former college roommate and brother of 2009 first-round pick Peria Jerry of the Atlanta Falcons. This Jerry has made a name for himself as a bulldozing run-stopper with good agility. Minus: He was a little overweight as a senior, tipping the scales in the 350-pound range, which sometimes led to fatigue late in games. But, he has since cut weight while keeping his strength. According to Pro Football Talk, Jerry didn’t score well on the Wonderlic test. Draft Stock: Jerry is seen as a second or third-round pick. The Ravens, for the moment, are pretty set at both starting tackle positions, but if they have Jerry ranked high on their board and he’s available, he could provide excellent depth and a promising future.
Shay Hodge, Ole Miss Wide Receiver; 6-1, 207 2009 Stats: 70 receptions, 1,135 yards, 8 touchdowns Plus: Hodge led the SEC in receptions and receiving yards in 2009. His 1,135 yards set a school record, which means he beat out former teammate and current Steelers wideout Mike Wallace. He has good acceleration and has been consistently productive. Minus: He had troubles with dropped passes at times and isn’t the sharpest route-runner. He didn’t post great Combine or pro day numbers, where he ran a 4.55 40-yard dash and had a 33-inch vertical jump, according to NFL.com. Draft Stock: For not being that great on paper, Hodge certainly showed he can play at the highest college football level, so he’s a bit hard to figure out. NFLDraftScout.com has him projected for the fifth round, which could make him another late-round bargain for a team like the Ravens.