Ranking the Pac-10's best players: No. 10

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

No. 10

Walter Thurmond III, CB, Oregon: Over the past couple of seasons, Oregon fans were divided into two camps: Jairus Byrd or Walter Thurmond III. Who was the Ducks best corner? Last year, when the Pac-10 blog went with Byrd, the Thurmond camp stormed the Pac-10 blog's castle with torches and pitchforks. Figuratively. Thurmond struggled with various injuries last year and he only managed to tie for the Pac-10 lead with five interceptions, giving him 10 over the past two seasons. The budding four-year starter also has broken up 35 passes over the past two seasons and shown a penchant for fancypants plays at big times, see his 40-yard interception return for a touchdown in the waning moments of the first half of the Civil War against Oregon State. Or his 91-yard kickoff return to start the second half of the Holiday Bowl. He had 66 tackles last year and 103 in 2007 -- eight for a loss -- which shows he can play the run as well as the pass. With Byrd opting to enter the NFL draft a year early, Thurmond, 6-foot, 180-pounds, will be the lead cover corner in the Ducks secondary this year. His combination of size and athleticism makes him a likely first-day pick in the 2010 NFL draft, and he could play himself into the first round with a big season.

11. Jake Locker, QB, Washington
12. Joe McKnight, RB, USC
13. Dexter Davis, DE, Arizona State

14. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Oregon
15. Alterraun Verner, CB, UCLA
16. Ed Dickson, TE, Oregon
Charles Brown, OT, USC
Will Tukuafu, DE, Oregon
Josh Pinkard, DB, USC
Reggie Carter, LB, UCLA
Stafon Johnson, RB, USC
James Rodgers, WR, Oregon State
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, DE, Washington
Lawrence Guy, DT, Arizona State; Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford
Tyson Alualu, DE, California
Devin Ross, CB, Arizona
Keaton Kristick, LB, Oregon State
Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona
Everson Griffen, DE, USC