Clayborn, Carimi among top 2011 prospects

It's never too early to look ahead to the 2011 NFL draft and where Big Ten players project.

Scouts Inc.'s Todd McShay always has his eyes on the draft, and he recently listed his top 10 offensive prospects and top 10 defensive prospects for 2011.

Let's start on the defensive side, where Iowa end Adrian Clayborn appears as McShay's No. 1 prospect. Clayborn would have been a first-round pick had he entered the draft after the 2009 season, and his stock will go even higher with a dominant senior season.

McShay writes:

Clayborn is looking to build on the momentum from a breakout 2009 season, which included an MVP showing in the Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech. Clayborn is a massive defensive end with an unusual combination of speed and athleticism for his size. He is mature and plays the game with fire.

McShay brings up an important point about Clayborn. If you stand next to the guy, as I did recently in Iowa City, you'll notice his size, but he doesn't look like an elite athlete. Clayborn's athleticism catches you by surprise, and he showed off his speed in several games last year, most notably against Penn State and Georgia Tech.

Wisconsin left tackle Gabe Carimi makes McShay's list of top offensive prospects, coming in at No. 4. Carimi earned first-team All Big Ten honors from the media last season, and with Bryan Bulaga gone, he'll be the league's premier offensive tackle in 2010.

Carimi is a massive left tackle prospect with 36 career starts under his belt. He shows good natural mobility for his frame, but Carimi must continue to improve his lower-body strength and hand usage in order to solidify a spot in Round 1.

Other top draft prospects from the Big Ten -- seniors only -- include Ohio State defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones, Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, Penn State running back Evan Royster and Ohio State guard Justin Boren.