SEC DBs bolting to NFL

Jevan Snead made a lot of questionable decisions during his two years as Ole Miss' starting quarterback, and now he has made another one.

If Snead had taken time to notice how many of the SEC's junior defensive backs have declared for the 2010 NFL Draft, he probably wouldn't have done so himself.

Of the 15 SEC players who have opted to bypass their senior seasons and turn pro, more than half (eight) are defensive backs.

Tennessee is losing two underclassman DBs - Eric Berry and Dennis Rogan.

Berry, a three-year starter and two-time All-American, recorded 87 tackles, 7 pass breakups and 2 interceptions in 2009. He also returned four kickoffs for a 25.0-yard average.

Rogan, a two-year starter who can play any of the four secondary positions, recorded 69 tackles, 1 interception and 6 pass breakups. He returned 2 kickoffs for a 26.0 average and six punts for a 7.7-yard average.

Florida also is losing two junior DBs to the pro draft - Joe Haden and Major Wright.

Haden, a 5-11, 190-pound All-American, is regarded by many as the best cornerback in the NFL Draft. He registered 68 tackles, 10 pass breakups and 4 interceptions last fall.

Wright, a 6-0, 204-pounder, totaled 165 tackles and 8 interceptions for his career but had just 32 tackles and 3 interceptions in 2009. He is rated a late-round draft pick.

In addition to the two defensive backs, Florida is saying goodbye to junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap, junior tight end Aaron Hernandez and junior center Maurkice Pouncey.

Dunlap, a 6-6, 290-pounder, recorded 9 sacks last fall - 3 in the Sugar Bowl vs. Cincinnati - and is projected as an early first-round pick.

Hernandez, a 6-2, 250-pounder, caught 111 passes as a Gator, most by a tight end in program history. He reeled in 68 passes for 850 yards and five touchdowns as a senior and is rated a first- to second-round draft pick.

Pouncey, a 6-5, 318-pounder, won the Rimington Trophy as the NCAA's premier center. He is rated a second- to third-round pick.

Like Tennessee, Georgia is losing two players to the NFL - defensive back Reshad Jones and linebacker Rennie Curran.

Jones, a 6-2, 188-pounder, registered 206 career tackles and 11 career interceptions. He had 73 stops and 4 interceptions in 2009.

Curran, a 5-11, 225-pounder, recorded 298 tackles in three years, including an SEC-best 130 as a junior last fall. Because of his height, he is expected to fall to Round 3 or 4.

Alabama also is losing a pair of juniors to the draft - defensive back Kareem Jackson and linebacker Rolando McClain.

Jackson, a 5-11, 198-pounder, made 159 stops and 5 interceptions in his career but just 49 stops and 1 interception in '09.

McClain, an All-American, is a 6-4, 258-pounder who registered 105 stops - 14.5 of them for loss - in 2009. He is projected as an early Round-1 pick.

Two more SEC teams are losing a defensive back each - Arkansas (Jerell Norton) and LSU (Chad Jones).

Norton, a 6-0, 200-pounder, recorded just 14 tackles and 2 interceptions in 2009. He missed 2008 due to hamstring and hernia surgeries. His best year was 2007, when he intercepted 5 passes.

Jones, a 6-3, 220-pounder, had 66 stops and 3 interceptions in 2009. He finished his three-year career at Baton Rouge with 157 tackles and 5 picks.

South Carolina is saying goodbye to junior defensive end Clifton Geathers. The 6-8, 280-pounder recorded 41 stops last fall, including 8 1/2 tackles for loss and 3 1/2 sacks. He is generally regarded as a Round 4-6 draft pick.

That leaves Snead. The Rebel QB completed 56.3 percent of his passes for 2,762 yards as a sophomore, with 26 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions. He regressed as a senior, though, completing 54.4 percent for 2,632 yards with 20 TDs and 20 interceptions.

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