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Kenrick Ellis could make early impact

2/4/2011

Five players who came out of the 2010 Texas vs. Nation game -- OT Jared Veldheer, S Kendrick Lewis, CB Sam Shields, DE/OLB Arthur Moats and TE Clay Harbor -- were drafted or signed as rookie free agents and became contributors in their first year in the NFL.

Here's a look at five players taking part in the 2011 version of the game this weekend who could make similar impacts as rookies.

Hampton DE Kenrick Ellis -- The top-rated prospect in this year's game, Ellis has an elite frame for a 6-foot-4, 336-pound prospect, along with great quickness and explosive natural power in the upper body. He needs to play with better pad level but still rates as a fringe-third-round prospect.

Iowa WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos -- There are some big character issues to be addressed after Johnson-Koulianos was dismissed by the Hawkeyes following a drug arrest, but he was clearly the best receiver on the practice field in San Antonio. He is not a blazer but is a savvy route-runner with sure hands who can make big gains after the catch.

West Virginia OLB J.T. Thomas -- He lacks ideal size and sometimes struggles at the point of attack, but Thomas has good instincts, lateral quickness and range, and he could thrive on the weak side in a 4-3 defense.

Ohio State CB Devon Torrence -- Torrence had a very good week of practice, showing good movement skills and the anticipation to make good breaks on the ball. Questions about his top-end speed will keep him in the later rounds, but Torrence could be an effective sub-package defensive back early in his career.

Mississippi DT Jerrell Powe -- He got better as the week progressed, using his size to anchor well against double-teams, and while I'd like to see him play with better balance at times Powe could be an effective run-stopping reserve along the interior.