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Former Mississippi defensive end Greg Hardy isn't the only once highly touted prospect to see a dip in his NFL draft stock. Here are five more prospects who have lost some shine heading into April.
1. Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State
At first, the grumbling about him amongst talent evaluators made you think about Michael Crabtree(notes) last season. But Bryant's buzz definitely seems worse in recent days. Failing to take part in the NFL scouting combine rubbed some the wrong way. And personnel departments were already touting stories about Bryant's tardiness in college when the news came out that he was staging his own "private" one-man pro day. That move wasn't exactly well-received in some league corners, and it didn't get much better when he produced a less than stellar workout, forgetting a pair of preferred cleats and clocking around 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Add in his lengthy suspension his last season at Oklahoma State for lying to the NCAA, and you have enough red flags to line the United Nations. Not to mention a perceived top 7 status that is slipping into the 20s.
2. Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
Three months ago, he looked like a surefire pick in the draft's top two rounds. With a good showing in workouts, there was a feeling he could have pushed his way into the late first round. But Spikes has had a devastating tumble since the sifting process started in February. His 5.05 second 40-yard dash time at his pro day was jaw-dropping – even for a 250-pound inside linebacker. The plus is that he's a hitter and performed very well and consistently at a high level in college. But he's not very explosive, and that will only get worse as he gets worn down in games. Any scouting report that reads "not fast" and "not explosive" is an anchor for a linebacker. Spikes is hoping to run another 40-yard dash in April, but a lot of the damage has been done. Unless he improves significantly, he's likely looking at going in the middle of the draft (as in, fourth round) at the earliest.
3. George Selvie, DE, South Florida
In 2007, he looked well on his way to becoming a top 10 pick, notching 14½ sacks and looking like he could grow into a massive end in the mold of the Houston Texans' Mario Williams(notes). But Selvie could never put on the bulk to fully fill out his tall 6-foot-5 frame. And there just aren't a lot of dominating defensive ends who are long and lean (Jason Taylor(notes) being an exception) in the NFL, because offensive tackle play has gotten so athletic at the next level. And the few "basketball-framed" defensive ends who are successful make their money by having a deep tool bag of tricks. Selvie is known for being an edge rush guy and not much else. He's not going to give you a Dwight Freeney(notes) spin or devastate a blocker with power punches or a bull rush. And that's part of the reason he managed only eight total sacks the past two years. He's got the makings of another fourth-rounder.
4. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas
He's sort of this year's Brian Brohm(notes) – the quarterback who some thought would develop into a top 10 pick, but who is destined for the second round … maybe even the third. Those who predicted big things once again ignored McCoy's size (he's 6-1) and OK but not great arm strength. He looks more like a West Coast Offense quarterback with some mobility. He'll make his living on a lot of the intermediate stuff. That and his lack of size are what have pushed him to being a complete afterthought when it comes to guys like Sam Bradford and Jimmy Clausen. Even Tim Tebow seems to have more traction as a prospect at this point. The second round wouldn't be a tremendous fall, but for those who thought he was destined for the top of the first round, it has been a slippery slope.
5. Donovan Warren, CB, Michigan
He was thought to be a first-round pick … in the 2011 draft. Then he came out a year earlier than anyone expected and ran a 4.6 40-yard dash. That projects him at safety, but he's not a guy who looks like he has the mentality or body to continuously be a major factor in run support. Basically, he had the opportunity to improve and put himself into the mix at the top of his position in another year, but he made the mistake of injecting himself into a deep class of cornerbacks and then didn't live up to his end in the workouts. Not a good combination. On the bright side, a lot of NFL coaches love players from Michigan, and many know that the school has historically produced guys who play better on a football field than they do whipping out raw workout numbers. Warren might get that break, but he still looks like a fourth-rounder.
- Dez Bryant