This post continues a series on our NFL Draft prospects. Today we're looking at Chris Culliver.
Measurements: 6'0 / 200
Career Summary: Culliver came to Carolina in 2007 as a highly rated prospect out of North Carolina. In 2007, he played WR and KR, doing a very good job at KR, as he would continue to do throughout his career. In 2008, he moved to FS, where he became a fixture, and in 2009 he was named second-team All-SEC at the position. In 2010, he moved to cornerback. The move didn't work out quite as well as we had hoped, and Culliver got picked on a little bit. He missed the last few games of his career with a torn pectoral muscle.
What the Pros Like: Culliver has elite speed in the 3.3 40 range and displays other impressive measurables. He also shows good instincts, ball skills, and tackling ability at FS. While his move to corner didn't exactly work out, the experience should mean that he has a better understanding of how the secondary works as a whole. Lastly, he projects to be a good pro kick returner. (As an aside, I've personally never quite understood why we stopped letting him return kicks in 2010. He was much better than Bryce Sherman.)
What the Pros Don't Like: While Culliver is pretty good at getting his hands on the ball, he's never been very good at actually pulling down an interception, with only a handful of INTs over his multiple years as a starter. He's also shown himself to be a bit penalty prone, and may warrant minor character concerns for his involvement in the investigation of early 2010.
Are the Mocks Right?: Culliver was initially projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick, but as of late his stock has been rising after impressive workouts. It seems plausible that a team will take him in the third round, but I'd say that's as high as he'll go. Culliver is an impressive athlete, but I've always felt somewhat that he's failed to live up to his potential. Pro teams will be reluctant to use a very high pick on a player who has failed to play at a first-team all-conference level throughout his career. That said, being selected in the third would likely make him the first Gamecock off the board, and it would warrant a hearty round of applause from Gamecock Nation.