ESPN analyst Todd McShay has an early look at his Top 20 prospects for the 2011 NFL draft, and all five of the SEC players on his list are underclassmen.
The top SEC player on McShay's board was Georgia receiver A.J. Green at No. 4. Right behind Green was Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus at No. 5. Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins was No. 10, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett No. 12 and Alabama running back Mark Ingram No. 19.
McShay's No. 1 prospect was Washington quarterback Jake Locker.
The one SEC player not in McShay's Top 20 that I absolutely expected to see was LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson. I had a top NFL personnel guy tell me recently that the two best defensive prospects in the SEC this season were Dareus and Peterson.
If Alabama linebacker Dont'a Hightower's knee holds up and he returns to form, I also think he will be a first-round draft choice, assuming he chooses to come out.