Well, the pro days portion of the offseason came and went in a flash, and now we're down to the final parts of the evaluation process before the NFL draft begins April 28.
I've seen my fair share of workouts first-hand and have spoken with countless scouts and coaches before compiling this third version of the Hot 100 prospects. And in seeing so much and speaking with so many personnel folks, I have re-examined everything. I even had a great conversation with Bill Parcells about a certain player and included him (sorry, but I won't share who) after watching some tape.
When you evaluate guys this late in the process, the numbers are important in certain areas, but not everything. One that still stands out for me, though, is the 3-cone drill, which measures speed and agility. It's the key pro day component that tells me if I am correct in my evaluation or if I might need to rethink things.
A few players who have stood out during the past month are TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, USC tight end Jordan Cameron and Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi. Dalton impressed the heck out of me when I saw him at his pro day, and Cameron validated himself with a solid performance at his. Meanwhile, Stanzi, who altered his throwing motion at the NFL Scouting Combine, went back to his old way at his pro day and looked pretty darn good.
Trying to rate these kids to compile a "Hot 100" is an inexact science, but the only change in my Tier 1 is USC OT Tyron Smith moving up while Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers drops down due to looming concerns about his knee.
Note: Tiers are listed alphabetically
Marcell Dareus, DT, Alabama
Can play in both 3-4 and 4-3 defensive schemes. Had 4.5 sacks for Crimson Tide in 2010. Plays hard every play. Ran a faster first 10 yards of the 40-yard dash than Nick Fairley.
Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn, 6-5, 300
Only played two seasons at Auburn after spending first two years at junior college. Had 11.5 sacks for Tigers in 2010.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri, 6-4, 235
Two-year starter. Mobility a strength. Completed 63.4 percent of his passes in 2010. He had an outstanding workout at Missouri's pro day, taking snaps from under center and completing his first 35 throws.
A.J. Green, WR, Georgia, 6-3, 212
Was suspended four games in 2010 by NCAA for sale of a bowl jersey. Still finished with 57 catches and nine TDs. His pro day workout was impressive, running a 4.49 40-yard dash and looking good in drills.
Julio Jones, WR, Alabama, 6-4, 211
Able to return kicks. Had 78 catches for 1,133 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Had same injury as Michael Crabtree two years ago, but still went through the combine workouts and ran 4.42. Kid looks like he'll be good.
Von Miller, OLB, Texas A&M, 6-2, 240
Led the nation in sacks as a junior and even had 10.5 last year despite an early-season injury. Had a great pro day workout, running 4.47 in the 40 and posting 21 bench presses at 225 pounds.
Cam Newton, QB, Auburn, 6-5, 245
Only a one-year college player, but he passed for 30 TDs and ran for 20, with a 66.1 completion percentage. At combine, he threw the ball at 56 miles per hour. Had a good pro day on March 7, missing just six of 50 passes in very windy conditions.
Patrick Peterson, DB, LSU, 6-0, 215
Very good return man. Able to cover the pass and play strong against the run. Player with least risk in first round.
Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina, 6-5, 254
Missed the entire 2010 season after violating NCAA rules. In 2009, he had 11 sacks. Ran 4.60 and 4.65 at his pro day on March 31.
Tyron Smith, OT, USC
He's a natural fit on the right side but can play left tackle without any question. Worked out at pro day with former NFL coach Alex Gibbs, who says Smith will be a Pro Bowl tackle.
Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska, 6-1, 205
Four-year college player, two-year starter. Had five INTs in 2009, but none in 2010. He can play press or off coverage.
Anthony Castonzo, OL, Boston College, 6-7, 308
He started all four years for the Eagles. Played left guard at the Senior Bowl. He's got long arms and big hands, which should make him solid in the NFL.
Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa, 6-4, 285
Only had 3.5 sacks last year, down from the year before. Watch the Penn State film to see him at his best. Plays only on the right side. He's an outstanding person and plays hard every down.
Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama, 5-10, 215
Injured and shared time in 2010. A good inside runner, who rushed for 13 touchdowns last season. Ingram ran a 4.51 40 on his pro day and had 21 lifts. Ran a 6.74 3-cone drill, which says something about his quickness.
Cameron Jordan, DE, California, 6-4, 283
Father, Steve, played tight end for the Vikings for 13 years. Cameron had 5.5 sacks in 2010. This kid can play with his hand on the ground or drop into space.
Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue, 6-4, 263
Has outstanding quickness and plays hard every down. He had 12.5 sacks in 2010 and is known for making a lot of impact plays.
Aldon Smith, DE, Missouri, 6-5, 260
Missed some games with injuries last season. In 2009, he had 11.5 sacks. Ran a 4.75 40 and had a very good pro day March 17.
Jimmy Smith, DB, Colorado, 6-2, 205
Tall and has long arms. Has good speed. One former head coach and general manager thinks he is the best corner in the draft.
Phil Taylor, DL, Baylor, 6-4, 337
Transferred from Penn State. Needs to boost stamina. He has improved a lot with his weight loss. Had a great pro day March 3.
J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin, 6-6, 279
Transferred from Central Michigan, where he played TE. Seven sacks in 2010. Shined against Ohio State. Runs a 4.88 40.
Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA, 6-4, 249
Had four sacks and two INTs in 2010. Has speed and can blitz or play in space, which he showed with a good pro day.
Da'Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson, 6-4, 276
Can get after the quarterback. Had 15.5 sacks for the Tigers in 2010. Questions still exist about his knee after his personal pro day, which probably isn't indicative of what he is capable of doing.
Gabe Carimi, OL, Wisconsin, 6-7, 327
Four-year starter. Can he play left tackle or is he only a right tackle? Has shown his dedication by already outlining for teams how he won't miss any games during the next 15 years because of Yom Kippur.
Corey Liuget, DT, Illinois, 6-3, 300
Had 63 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2010. Was named All-Big Ten Second Team. Had a very good pro day that probably moved him up into Round 1.
Jake Locker, QB, Washington, 6-3, 230
Very athletic with good speed. Last time I said he needed to improve his accuracy. He showed that he did at his pro day.
Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas, 6-7, 238
Threw 32 TD passes in 2010, completing 64.7 percent of his passes. He did not run well at his pro day (5.37 40), but showed that he has outstanding talent. His character is the main issue.
Mike Pouncey, OL, Florida, 6-5, 315
Derek Sherrod, OL, Mississippi State, 6-5, 321
Has good length and is light on his feet. Great instincts as a run blocker. He moved up from Tier 4 because he is improved and showed it as his pro day.
Nate Solder, OL, Colorado, 6-9, 315
A high school tight end, he moved to OT after his freshman year at Colorado. Has great feet and long arms. Very athletic but needs more strength.
Danny Watkins, OL, Baylor, 6-3, 310
Older player. Works as fireman in Waco, Texas. Tough guy who gives great effort to go with his skills. He's an outstanding person.
Brandon Harris, DB, Miami, 5-9, 191
He's good in man coverage. Smart player who is tough against the run.
Cam Heyward, DT, Ohio State, 6-5, 288
Played well in the Sugar Bowl. Made move inside to tackle. His father, "Ironhead" Heyward, played in the NFL.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Illinois, 6-0, 227
Had a fantastic season in 2010, with 1,697 rushing yards and 20 total TDs (17 rushing, three receiving).
Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State, 6-1, 311
Good inside pass rusher. Had six sacks in 2010. All-Pac 10 First Team selection.
Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State, 6-2, 229
Smart and very athletic. Threw 20 TDs and eight picks in 2010. He is ready for the NFL.
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame, 6-5, 253
Only played six games last year. Had 28 catches and three touchdowns. Lots of upside.
Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland, 6-0, 202
Has outstanding speed. Named All-ACC First Team. Had 67 catches and 12 touchdowns in 2010.
Muhammad Wilkerson, DT, Temple, 6-5, 295
Very good production. 70 tackles and 9.5 sacks. Lots of upside.
Aaron Williams, DB, Texas, 6-1, 192
Has the height every scout wants. No INTs last season. All-Big 12 Second Team selection.
Martez Wilson, OLB, Illinois, 6-4, 240
Had 112 tackles in 2010. He's an athletic player. All-Big Ten Second Team selection.
Marvin Austin, DL, North Carolina, 6-2, 309
Didn't play in 2010 because of suspension. Has great skills but needs consistent effort. Character is a big question. Big reward if a team hits on him.
Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pittsburgh,6-5, 224
Had 53 catches and five touchdowns in 2010. Was named All-Big East First Team. He's a long strider who has great athletic ability.
Marcus Cannon, OL, TCU, 6-5, 358
Two-time All-Mountain West Conference selection. He needs to keep his weight down. He played tackle in college but might be best as a guard in the NFL.
Jurrell Casey, DL, USC, 6-1, 300
First team All-Pac 10. His best position might be as a nose tackle, although he does have some pass-rush skills.
Andy Dalton, QB, TCU, 6-2, 215
Started 49 games for TCU. Has great intangibles. He had a very good pro day. Raw, but he could be developed.
Ras-I Dowling, DB, Virginia, 6-2, 200
Highly rated player heading into 2010 but was limited by injuries. Had an outstanding pro day and looked every bit the part. If he can play CB, he might be taken late first or early second round.
Ben Ijalana, OL, Villanova, 6-4, 317
Had operation in late December because of a sports hernia. Held a pro day April 6 but did not lift. Has long arms and is a blue-collar player.
Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada, 6-5, 233
Very strong arm. Needs work, because he has not been under center. Good runner. Lots of upside.
Rahim Moore, DB, UCLA, 6-1, 196
All-Pac 10 First Team selection. Has good range and ball skills, but needs more strength (just 11 lifts).
Jabaal Sheard, DL, Pittsburgh, 6-3, 264
Started 38 games over past three years. Had elbow surgery and missed Pitt's bowl game. He had nine sacks in 2010 and has pass-rush ability at the next level. Character could come into question.
Allen Bailey (DL, Miami), Christian Ballard (DL, Iowa), Bruce Carter (LB, North Carolina), Randall Cobb (WR, Kentucky), Orlando Franklin (OL, Miami), Justin Houston (LB, Georgia), Brooks Reed (DL, Arizona), Ricky Stanzi (QB, Iowa), Ryan Williams (RB, Virginia Tech), Titus Young (WR, Boise State).
Sam Acho (DL, Texas), James Brewer (OL, Indiana), James Carpenter (OL, Alabama), Leonard Hankerson (WR, Miami), Lance Kendricks (TE, Wisconsin), Greg Little (WR, North Carolina), DeMarco Murray (RB, Oklahoma), Tyler Sash (DB, Iowa), Daniel Thomas (RB, Kansas State), Demarcus Van Dyke (DB, Miami).
Davon House (DB, New Mexico State), Rodney Hudson (OL, Florida State), Kendall Hunter (RB, Oklahoma State), Jarvis Jenkins (DL, Clemson), Jerrell Jernigan (WR/KR, Troy), Colin McCarthy (LB, Miami), Dontay Moch (Nevada, LB), Drake Nevis (DL, LSU), Johnny Patrick (DB, Louisville), Will Rackley (OL, Lehigh).
Curtis Brown (DB, Texas), Jordan Cameron (TE, USC), Chris Carter (LB, Fresno State), Kenrick Ellis (DT, Hampton), Edmond Gates (WR, Abilene Christian), Lawrence Guy (DL, Arizona State), Terrell McClain (DL, South Florida), Quan Sturdivant (LB, North Carolina), Cedric Thornton (DL, Southern Arkansas), K.J. Wright (LB, Mississippi State).
Clint Boling (OL, Georgia), Jalil Brown (DB, Colorado), Brandon Burton (DB, Utah), Quinton Carter (DB, Oklahoma), Chimdi Chekwa (DB, Ohio State), Chris Culliver (DB, South Carolina), Greg Jones (LB, Michigan State), Ricardo Lockette (WR, Fort Valley State), Casey Matthews (LB, Oregon), Shane Vereen (RB, California).