What if teams drafted solely on best player available and didn't consider their specific needs? What if teams didn't consider a player's injury history, off-field issues, psychological exams, intelligence tests, or workout results at the NFL Scouting Combine and pro days?
It's what I did in compiling my "Hot 100" list of prospects, all of whom will be represented at the combine this week in Indianapolis. I took out all the non-football things that go into a complete analysis of a player and listed them strictly on talent and ability. It's not a mock draft, but this should give you an idea of how they are rated by most NFL teams as players.
Note:Tiers are listed alphabetically; * denotes early entrant.
Can get after the quarterback. Had 15.5 sacks for the Tigers in 2010. Has very good speed for position.
Can play in both 3-4 and 4-3 defensive schemes. Had 4.5 sacks for Crimson Tide in 2010. Never takes a play off.
Only played two years at Auburn after spending first two years at junior college. Had 11.5 sacks for Tigers in 2010.
Two-year starter. Mobility a strength. Completed 63.4 percent of his passes in 2010. Works best out of the shotgun.
Was suspended four games in 2010 by NCAA for sale of a bowl jersey. Still finished with 57 catches and nine TDs.
Led the nation in sacks as a junior and even had 10.5 last year despite an early-season injury.
Only a one-year college player, but he passed for 30 TDs and ran for 20, with a 66.1 completion percentage.
Very good return man. Able to cover the pass and play strong against the run.
Missed the entire 2010 season after violating NCAA rules. In 2009, he had 11 sacks.
He's a natural fit at right tackle. Has long arms and is very athletic for his size.
Had four sacks and two INTs in 2010. Has speed and can blitz or play in space.
Only had 3.5 sacks last year, down from the year before. Watch the Penn State film to see him at his best.
Injured and shared time in 2010. A good inside runner, who rushed for 13 touchdowns last season.
Able to return kicks. Had 78 catches for 1,133 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
Transferred from Western Michigan, where he played TE. Seven sacks in 2010. Shined against Ohio State.
Missed some games with injuries last season. In 2009, he had 11.5 sacks.
Tall and has long arms. Has good speed. Why no interceptions in 2010?
High school tight end, who moved to OT after his freshman year at Colorado. Has great feet and long arms.
Four-year college player, two-year starter. Had five INTs in 2009, but none in 2010.
Four-year starter. Can he play left tackle in the NFL? Or is he only a right tackle?
Lacks the size (weight) as a defensive end, but he has quickness. Had 12.5 sacks in 2010.
Had 63 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2010. Was named All-Big Ten Second Team.
Very athletic with good speed. Needs to improve his accuracy.
Has a very strong arm. Threw 32 TD passes in 2010, completing 64.7 percent of his passes.
Only played six games last year. Had 28 catches and three touchdowns. Lots of upside.
Has outstanding speed. Named All-ACC First Team. Had 67 catches and 12 touchdowns in 2010.
Very good production. 70 tackles and 9.5 sacks. Lots of upside.
Has speed for his position. Seven sacks and 11 tackles for loss in 2010. All-ACC Second Team.
Had 53 catches and five touchdowns in 2010. Was named All-Big East First Team.
Can play the run or play in space. Good special teams player, too.
Played well in the Sugar Bowl. Made move inside to tackle. His father, "Ironhead" Heyward, played in the NFL.
Had a fantastic season in 2010, with 1,697 rushing yards and 20 total TDs (17 rushing, three receiving).
All-Pac 10 First Team selection. Has good range and good ball skills.
Good inside pass rusher. Had six sacks in 2010. All-Pac 10 First Team selection.
Transferred from Penn State. Needs to improve stamina. Was named All-Big 12 Second Team.
Has the height every scout looks for. No INTs last season. All-Big 12 Second Team selection.
Had 112 tackles in 2010. He's an athletic player. All-Big Ten Second Team selection.
Did not play in 2010. Has skills, but needs consistent effort. Big risk, but could be big reward.
A massive man with long arms. Needs to keep weight down. Two-time All-Mountain West First Team selection.
All-Pac 10 First Team selection. Inside player with pass rush skills.
Limited by injuries in 2010. Grading him as a safety, rather than cornerback.
A transfer from South Carolina. Has off-the-field issues. Good vs. the run.
All-SEC First Team selection. Had 10 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss. Can he play in space?
Might be the fastest player in the draft. Can return kicks. Had 84 catches and 11 total TDs in 2010.
Ineligible in 2010. Has played RB before. Had 62 catches in 2009. A strong receiver.
Two-time All-Big Ten First Team selection. Had 13 INTs the past two years. Fine athlete.
Injuries a question mark, but he has skills. Ten TDs in 2010. Had a very good 2009 season.
Brandon Burton (DB, Utah), James Carpenter (OL, Alabama), Orlando Franklin (OL, Miami), Brandon Harris (DB, Miami), Rodney Hudson (OL, Florida State), Kendall Hunter (RB, Oklahoma State), Christian Ponder (QB, Florida State), Derek Sherrod (OL, Mississippi State), Daniel Thomas (RB, Kansas State), Titus Young (WR, Boise State).
Clint Boling (OL, Georgia), Marcus Gilbert (OL, Florida), Ben Ijalana (OL, Villanova), Greg Jones (LB, Michigan State), DeMarco Murray (RB, Oklahoma), Johnny Patrick (DB, Louisville), William Rackley (OL, Lehigh), Robert Sands (DB, West Virginia), Jabaal Sheard (DL, Pittsburgh), K.J. Wright (LB, Mississippi State).
Christian Ballard (DL, Iowa), Jeremy Beal (LB, Oklahoma), Mason Foster (LB, Washington), Edmund Gates (WR, Abilene Christian), Lance Kendricks (TE, Wisconsin), Niles Paul (WR, Nebraska), Jason Pinkston (OL, Pittsburgh), Jacquizz Rodgers (RB, Oregon State), Da'Norris Searcy (DB, North Carolina), Daniel Ziemba (OL, Auburn).
Sam Acho (LB, Texas), Darvin Adams (WR, Auburn), Curtis Brown (DB, Texas), Delone Carter (RB, Syracuse), Chimdi Chekwa (DB, Ohio State), Marcus Gilchrist (DB, Clemson), Brandon Hogan (DB, West Virginia), Dontay Moch (LB, Nevada), Jonas Mouton (LB, Michigan), Brooks Reed (DL, Arizona), Jordan Todman (RB, Connecticut).