2011 NFL Mock Draft: Tyron Smith Of USC Projected Mid First Round; Akeem Ayers Plummets; Cam Newton No. 1

For a few months, there has been much speculation about when and where several college football players would end up in next month's NFL draft. Most of that speculation was centered on game film, talking to pro scouts, and the like, but with last week's NFL combine in Indianapolis, many players have a chance in person to raise their relative standing among their peers, or see it drop like a rock. Cam Netwon wowed enough people to be projected to get picked first overall by the Carolina Panthers, in Brian Golliver's latest NFL mock draft on SB Nation. Meanwhile, Akeem Ayers of UCLA had an awful combine, and is no longer projected to go in the first round.

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USC offensive lineman Tyron Smith, who has been speculated all over the first round in the last few months, is now projected to be picked 13th, by the Detroit Lions. Says Golliver:

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Detroit has done an outstanding job of re-building its roster through the draft, but one lingering area of concern (no, it's not the only one) is the long-term outlook of Matt Stafford's blind side. Smith's tape is as good as any lineman's this year, and after weighing in over 300 in Indy, he's good value here.

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Ayers had previously been linked to the Giants at No. 19, but as Golliver noted, "The Giants could really use a linebacker, but after Akeem Ayers' hugely disappointing athletic display at the Combine, they'd do better to wait to address that position."

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For more USC and UCLA football news, be sure to read Conquest Chronicles and Bruins Nation.

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