Jacoby Ford was the fastest prospect in the 2010 NFL draft class, but the Clemson receiver's name hardly flew off the draft board.

Despite running a blazing 40-yard dash time of 4.28 seconds at the NFL combine, Ford slid to the fourth round on Saturday. The Oakland Raiders traded up to select the Clemson product with the 108th overall pick.

Last season, Ford caught 59 passes for 779 yards and six touchdowns, including the game-winning overtime touchdown catch at Miami. But Ford slipped to the draft's third day due to question marks, including concerns about his 5-9 frame.

"There are concerns about his size, his route running and his hands, which is why he wasn't selected until the third day of the draft," said Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith. "But there are no concerns about his speed ... That's what (Raiders owner Al) Davis likes about him, and in the fourth round, Ford may turn out to provide good value to the Raiders."

Ford was not the only Palmetto-based prospect to be disappointed by a slide into the draft's third day.

South Carolina linebacker Eric Norwood was expected to be taken sometime Friday evening, but fell to the fourth round. Norwood joins former Gamecocks teammate Captain Munnerlyn as the Carolina Panthers took Norwood with the 124th pick of the draft.

ESPN analyst Todd McShay said he expects Norwood to play immediately, and perhaps even start for Carolina at its strong side linebacker spot.

"I've been waiting for him to come off the board," McShay said, just after Norwood was selected Saturday afternoon. "I just love the way he plays the game. He knows what he wants to do, where he wants to go. This guy's always in your backfield, always messing things up for you."

Norwood set South Carolina's all-time marks for sacks (29) and tackles for a loss (54 1/2).

The Atlanta native dropped out of the second and third rounds because scouts weren't sure Norwood's size (6-0, 245) translated well to the NFL. Scouts thought he was too small to compete against pro linemen and tight ends and too slow to cover NFL running backs out of the backfield.

As a result, Norwood slid past several prospects that were rated lower than him.

Like Norwood, Clemson defensive end/outside linebacker Ricky Sapp was also expected to be selected earlier, falling to the draft's third day after an uneven performance as a senior. Sapp was picked 134th overall (fifth round) by Philadelphia.

Despite his athletic gifts, Sapp was limited to five sacks as a senior. Sports Illustrated said Sapp might be a better "athlete than football player" perhaps causing his slide, however it was also Sapp's first year back from major knee surgery.

Clemson cornerback Crezdon Butler was selected later in the fifth (164th overall) by the Steelers.

South Carolina's lone early departure, defensive end Clifton Geathers, went in the sixth round to the Cleveland Browns.

Geathers was hopeful that his stock was rising after a decent showing in the combine and the school's pro day. However, the 6-7, 300-pound Geathers, whose family is intertwined with the NFL, went about where he was projected all along.

Clemson linebacker Kavell Conner was the final Tigers or Gamecocks player to be selected on Saturday, picked in the seventh round (240th overall) by Indianapolis.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.