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2011 NFL Draft rumors w/ Mel Kiper and Nolan Nawrocki: Microfracture surgery for Da'Quan Bowers?

Dueling conference calls today with draft experts today. Mel Kiper's mid-morning call was closely followed by Nolan Nawrocki, he of the Cam Newton "fake smile" fame. Both men had much to say about prospects at all levels of the 2011 NFL Draft, including a couple that might be of interest to the St. Louis Rams. Let's take a look.

Kiper mentioned the Rams as a possible destination for Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams. A third-round pick, Williams was limited last year with a nagging hamstring injury. He's a good runner after contact and can catch passes. Some feel like he might be a little overrated. 

Speaking of running backs, Kiper says Taiwan Jones will probably drop the last three rounds of so of the draft, though he did note that Jones has "game breaking ability." Jones has his pro day scheduled for April 14. Some expect him to run a 4.2 forty. 

Nawrocki compared Maryland WR Torrey Smith to Tedd Ginn, not in a good way. Kiper said that the first round was too high for Smith, and has Jacksonville drafting him in the second round of his latest mock draft

Finally, both draftniks mentioned a couple of defensive ends once considered top-tier who could fall in the first round. Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers, according to Nawrocki, might need microfracture surgery. If he does, Bowers could spend the 2011 season on the injured reserve list. 

Kiper noted that had UNC DE Robert Quinn played this year, he would be a top three pick. Teams have questions about Quinn's character as well as his ability to pick up the NFL game, especially as a rookie. Combined with a year off, that could push him into the middle of the first round. 

Info from the call via the incomparable Evan Silva