Sunday, January 28, 2007

Senior Bowl

After watching the whole Senior Bowl 2 times, I came up with this list of the most impressive players:

1. Patrick Willis, LB/Ole Miss (6-1 240)-He was all over the place all night. Showed top-notch instincts and athletic ability. The knock on him has been his coverage, but he looked very fluid in that area. Came up with 11 tackles and a FF.

2. Levi Brown, OT/Penn St (6-5 323)-Has been projected to the right side in the NFL, but showed the quick feet and technique needed to stay at LT. Didn't take any plays off (like he has been known to do in the past), and looked great in both run and pass blocking.

3. Amobi Okoye, DT/Louisville (6-2 287)-Only 19 years old, so he definitely has amazing potential. Very active on the inside, solid pass rusher. Nice combination of brute strength and athleticism.

4. Adam Carriker, DE/Nebraska (6-6 292)-Looks like a future 3-4 DE, has excellent size and good athleticism. He even beat his man on 2 outside speed rushes. Excels vs. the run, but can get to the passer as well.

5. Drew Stanton, QB/Michigan St (6-3 226)-Showed an excellent arm, made good decisions, and moved well in the pocket. Has all the tools of a 1st rounder, but inconsistency and INT's have plagued him over his career.

6. David Harris, LB/Michigan (6-2 239)-Very good instincts, may not be a top athlete, but reads and reacts as well as anyone in this class. Solid vs. the run, rarely lets OLmen get to him. Moves well thru traffic, also performed well on Special Teams.

7. Brian Leonard, RB/Rutgers (6-1 224)-It's no secret that Leonard wants to be an full-time RB in the NFL, and he just came closer to accomplishing that goal. Ran very hard, caught the ball well, and showed solid athleticism. His versatility should get his name called somewhere on the 1st day.

8. Tony Hunt, RB/Penn St (6-2 239)-Offensive MVP, a North-South kind of runner. Doesn't waste a whole lot of time dancing in the backfield, makes one cut and goes. Runs thru arm tackles well, looked very big and powerful.

9. Brandon Meriweather, DB/Miami (5-11 192)-To improve his stock, Meriweather needed to show he was capable of playing CB, and that's just what he did. If he didn't have any off-field issues or character questions, he'd be a late first rounder. Unfortunately, that's not the case, so he'll probably slip to the 3rd.

10. Kareem Brown, DT/Miami (6-4 303)-Brown has been known to play lazy and get out of shape, but he sure looked like a player in this game. Fired out and got excellent penetration. Great size, is hard to move, stout vs. the run.

Honorable Mention

Manuel Ramirez, OG/Texas Tech (6-3 335)-Wasn't even pushed back by Antonio Johnson, one of the strongest players in the whole game. Excellent run blocker, has a lot of experience pass blocking, but isn't a top athlete. He is expected to post one of the highest bench numbers at the combine, though.

Michael Griffin, S/Texas (6-0 195)-On the opening kickoff, he beat every other player down the field by at least 10-15 yards. If he doesn't run under a 4.4, I'll be very surprised. Looked solid in coverage and vs. the run, but has to control his habit of gambling for the big play, only to get beat deep.

Jason Hill, WR/Washington St (6-1 204)-He showed excellent burst and acceleration (2 of the biggest knocks on him) on the 35-yard reverse in the 1st half, and great concentration on his tipped TD catch, but did have a pretty bad drop later in the game.

Le'Ron McClain, FB/Alabama (6-0 265)-A mammoth lead blocker, has soft hands for a guy his size. Just punishes smaller LB's and creates huge holes for RB's.

Aundrae Allison, WR/ECU (6-0 197)-Showed the ability to get separation, which was a bit of a concern for him, and also had a couple very nice catches. Not the biggest or strongest guy, but he can make plays.

Samson Satele, OG/C/Hawaii (6-2 294)-Versatile technician, solid overall strength and athleticism. Holds his own against huge NT's as well as quick DT's.

Jonathan Wade, CB/Tennessee (5-10 192)-Former trackstar, excellent speed and acceleration. Showed fluidity and cover skills, very rarely beaten. Also made some plays on special teams.

Jay Moore, DE/Nebraska (6-5 276)-Defensive Player of the Game, but 2 of his 3 sacks came when he was unblocked. Not a flashy guy, doesn't do anything great, but does everything solid.

Kevin Payne, S/La-Monroe (6-0 215)-Nobody was talking about him coming into the game, but he definitely showed he could play with the big boys. Sure tackler, good size/strength. Has solid speed, but nothing special.

Kenny Irons, RB/Auburn (5-11 198)-Showed good quickness and surprising power for his size. Should be a nice change-of-pace guy, but his slight build and injury problems have me questioning his ability to carry the load.

*Dwayne Bowe, WR/LSU (6-2 222)-He probably had the best practices of the week, but he didn't even register a stat in the game.

For Complete Senior Bowl Measurements, go here:
North Team:
South Team:

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

East-West Shrine Game

Here are the players that impressed me the most during Saturday's East-West Shrine Game:

1. Daniel Bazuin, DE/Central Michigan (6-3 265)-Showed an excellent motor and quickness. Got 1 sack on a bull-rush and another on an outside speed rush. A little short for a DE, but doesn't lack any in effort or toughness.

2. David Ball, WR/New Hampshire (6-1 195) Far and away the best hands in the draft. Caught everything near him in this game, including an acrobatic reach-over-the-db down the sideline. Lacks elite speed and athleticism, but he's the most productive WR in college history.

3. Jeff Rowe, QB/Nevada (6-5 225)-He has the size, arm, and smarts to be a QB in the NFL. Threw some amazing passes, showed excellent touch on deep balls. Appeared very slow when forced out of the pocket, though.

4. Zak DeOssie, LB/Brown (6-4 240)-Played great on special teams, he even long snapped. Very tough, rugged, old-school kind of LB. Not a top athlete, could do a little better in coverage, but not bad. Made plays all over the field, excellent hustle.

5. Paul Williams, WR/Fresno State (6-2 200)-When you watch him, you wonder why he only had 229yds receiving his entire senior year. Has legit 4.4 speed, but it'll be hard for him to shake that underachiever label. Received an invite to this week's Senior Bowl.

6. Travarous Bain, CB/Hampton (6-0 180)-He can run with the best of em, shows some very good cover skills and instincts. Former Miami trackstar/backup CB. Needs to bulk up and add strength, won't help out much vs. the run right away.

7. Brian Robison, DE/Texas (6-3 265)-From what I heard, he had excellent practices all week. If this list was of "who helped themselves the most over the whole week", he'd probably be #1. Call me crazy, but I'd probably take him over Tim Crowder. Great strength and athleticism, works hard and plays to the whistle. He was a half second away from a sack about 5 times.

8. Mario Henderson, OT/Florida State (6-7 310)-Has everything the NFL looks for in OT's. Long arms, big frame, and quick feet, but never really played up to his potential in college. Really impressed me vs. UCLA in the bowl game, could rocket up draft boards with good workouts.

9. Ben Patrick, TE/Delaware (6-4 270)-Very athletic for a 270lb TE. Soft hands, catches the ball away from his body, although he never really got his chances during the game. Solid as a blocker, held his own against some of the top DE's in the nation.

10. T.J. Downing, OG/Ohio State (6-4 305)-Showed excellent technique and stuffed Paul Soliai nearly every play. Not a great athlete, but a technician and a smart player who should find his way onto a roster somehow.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

IntaJuice North-South All Star Game

I just now got the chance to watch last Saturday's IntaJuice Game. Here's who impressed me the most and why:

1. Stephen Nicholas, OLB/South Florida (6-3 225) His instincts and read-react skills are one of the best in this year's class. Lacks size and speed, but works through traffic well and sheds blocks. Looks fluid in coverage, but needs to add a little weight.

2. Matt Trannon, WR/Michigan St (6-6 230) Former Michigan State basketball player, and you can tell by the way he boxes out and goes up for the ball. Won some jump balls in this one. Lacks ideal quickness, is a long strider.

3. Chase Johnson, OT/Wyoming (6-8 325) Powerful, engulfs smaller defenders. Has the ideal frame to be a RT in the NFL. Can be beat by speed rushers, isn't a top athlete.

4. Jeff Smith, QB/Georgetown College (6-6 240) Prototype pocket passing QB, ideal size and arm strength. Looked impressive in this game, threw the deep ball with touch. Needs to make better decisions.

5. Cory Anderson, FB/Tennessee (6-3 275) He has ideal size and athleticism for the fullback position. Fullbacks are not needed in the NFL as much these days, but he is very talented and should get a look later in the draft.

Top 25

Here are my top 25 prospects for the 2007 NFL Draft. All 40 times are estimated.

1. Calvin Johnson*, WR/Georgia Tech (6-5 230 4.50)
Positives: His physical talent is second to none. Makes some of the most amazing catches I’ve ever seen. Wins a ton of jump balls, excellent size and leaping ability. Great run-after-catch.
Negatives: Makes amazing catches, but occasionally drops easy ones. Disappeared in some big games this year (Georgia, Wake Forest), but that was mainly because of Reggie Ball’s erratic play.
NFL Comparison: Larry Fitzgerald

2. Adrian Peterson*, RB/Oklahoma (6-2 215 4.40)
Positives: Runs so hard and so fast, no one wants to get in his way. Has an excellent combination of size/speed/power. He was very productive at the college level. More of a North-South runner but shows great moves when he has to.
Negatives: Has had some pretty big injury problems. Only played one full, healthy season in college. May have to change up his running style to stay healthy in the NFL, and there’s no telling how that may impact his career.
NFL Comparison: The old Fred Taylor

3. Gaines Adams, DE/Clemson (6-5 260 4.70)
Positives: Very talented pass rusher, excellent quickness/explosiveness. Great athlete for his size, and has the frame to add weight. Fluid in space, solid cover skills make a move to OLB possible.
Negatives: Doesn’t hold up very well when ran at. Needs to add weight to play DE in the NFL. Should get in the weight room and add overall strength. Sometimes plays too high.
NFL Comparison: Jevon Kearse

4. Joe Thomas, OT/Wisconsin (6-8 315 4.90)
Positives: He has excellent feet and blocks downfield like a TE. (He is a former TE) Very polished pass blocker, prototype LT in the NFL. Has a big frame with room to grow and long arms.
Negatives: Some say he lacks a mean streak, but I think he’ll be fine. Had a major knee injury in ’05, but appears to be over it. Not a great drive blocker in the running game, average overall strength.
NFL Comparison: John Tait

5. Brady Quinn, QB/Notre Dame (6-4 230 4.70)
Positives: He’s the prototype pocket passer. Has great size and overall athleticism. Productive in college, has the arm to make all the throws. Improved tremendously when Charlie Weis came in with the pro-style offense.
Negatives: Wasn’t a very clutch player over his career. Accuracy comes and goes, a little inconsistent. Had a bit of a disappointing senior season.
NFL Comparison: David Carr at Fresno State

6. JaMarcus Russell*, QB/LSU (6-6 260 4.85)
Positives: Huge, has a huge arm (can throw it around 80 yards), and had a very good junior year. Has as much potential as anyone in this class, surprising athletic ability for someone his size.
Negatives: Decision-making is questionable at times and his accuracy is spotty. He’s a little bit of a streaky player, which is definitely not what you want in a QB. Leadership ability, intelligence have been scrutinized.
NFL Comparison: Daunte Culpepper

7. Marshawn Lynch*, RB/California (5-11 215 4.45)
Positives: Great moves, balance. Very rarely brought down by one guy. Runs low to the ground, has a good size/speed combination. Has been very productive, a playmaker.
Negatives: He’s somewhat inconsistent. Sometimes tries to do too much and ends up losing yardage while looking for the big play. Not a great pass blocker.
NFL Comparison: Clinton Portis

8. Dwayne Jarrett*, WR/USC (6-5 215 4.55)
Positives: He’s a tall, lanky red-zone threat and knows how to shield defenders with his body. Wins a ton of jump balls, has a knack for making spectacular plays in big games.
Negatives: Had some injury problems this past year, needs to add a little strength. Not real quick off the ball, and has some questions about his attitude and work ethic.
NFL Comparison: Plaxico Burress

9. Alan Branch*, DT/Michigan (6-6 330 5.30)
Positives: Commands double teams regularly, extremely hard to move. Surprising athleticism for someone his size, was an RB in high school. Prototype NFL nose tackle, takes up a ton of space.
Negatives: Not the quickest guy, average as a pass rusher. Sometimes gets worn down and plays lazy later in games. Technique could improve.
NFL Comparison: Albert Haynesworth

10. Ted Ginn Jr*, WR/KR/Ohio St (6-0 180 4.30)
Positives: Big time playmaking ability. Amazing speed, might even run under a 4.3. Excellent return man, still raw as a receiver but is improving.
Negatives: Has solid, but not great hands. Lacks overall size and strength and can be bumped at the line. Raw route runner, but his quickness often makes up for that.
NFL Comparison: Santana Moss

11. Patrick Willis, MLB/Ole Miss (6-2 235 4.65)
Positives: Very productive over his career. He’s probably the toughest player in college football. Has unbelievable instincts, surprising strength for his size, and very good athleticism.
Negatives: Might need to get a little bigger. Not real fluid in coverage, could improve in that area. Has had some injuries in college, but played through most of them.
NFL Comparison: The old Takeo Spikes

12. Jamaal Anderson*, DE/Arkansas (6-6 275 4.85)
Positives: He possesses ideal size, strength, and athleticism for the DE position. Productive pass rusher this past season, has excellent potential.
Negatives: He doesn’t play with great leverage or technique, inconsistent. Still raw, can be overpowered occasionally.
NFL Comparison: Poor man’s Mario Williams

13. Amobi Okoye, DT/Louisville (6-1 315 5.10)
Positives: Has amazing strength in the weight room. He’s very hard to move, stout vs. the run. Gets a good push into the pocket. Will be a 20-year-old rookie, so his potential is limitless.
Negatives: Lacks ideal height, stamina. Still a little rough around the edges, technique could improve. Inconsistent, sometimes wears down late in games.
NFL Comparison: Pat Williams

14. LaRon Landry, S/LSU (6-2 205 4.50)
Positives: A playmaker with very good size and instincts. A smart player and a 4-year starter. Big hitter, can cover most wide receivers.
Negatives: Not real fluid hips, lacks elite timed speed. Will miss some tackles while going for the big hit.
NFL Comparison: Greg Wesley

15. LaMarr Woodley, DE/LB/Michigan (6-2 270 4.70)
Positives: Good overall athleticism, very powerful for his size. He’s a tough team leader, and a talented pass rusher with good moves.
Negatives: Lacks ideal height and timed speed, not that freakish athlete that most teams look for in a 3-4 ‘backer. He’s not real fluid in coverage, a ‘tweener.
NFL Comparison: Adalius Thomas

16. Reggie Nelson*, S/Florida (6-0 195 4.45)
Positives: A playmaker with great range and closing speed. Good ball skills, a big hitter. His cover skills are so good, he might even make the move to CB.
Negatives: Occasionally misses tackles while going for the big hit. Looks very skinny for an NFL SS will probably need to put on some weight to play his style in the pros.
NFL Comparison: Mike Minter

17. Darrelle Revis*, CB/Pittsburgh (6-0 205 4.45)
Positives: Prototype size/speed combination. Could make an impact as a return man. Good ball skills, solid in run support. Great potential as shutdown corner.
Negatives: Still a little bit raw, technique needs improvement. Gets by on physical talent too often, but won’t be able to in the pros.
NFL Comparison: Nate Clements

18. Sidney Rice*, WR/South Carolina (6-4 190 4.55)
Positives: Excellent hands, long arms, great on jump balls. Knows how to shield defenders with his body, goes up and gets it well in traffic.
Negatives: He lacks ideal quickness. Timed speed is average at best. Needs to add strength to beat the jam in the pros.
NFL Comparison: Michael Clayton

19. Paul Posluszny, OLB/Penn State (6-2 230 4.65)
Positives: Very good college player, excellent instincts. He’s a tough and has all the intangibles. A team leader, he plays with aggression.
Negatives: Not a big time athlete, he lacks elite quickness. Cover skills could improve, struggles shedding blockers. Had a major knee injury in ’05.
NFL Comparison: Lance Briggs

20. Leon Hall, CB/Michigan (5-11 195 4.50)
Positives: Solid in run support and coverage. Very experienced, a smart player and team leader. Good instincts, awareness, and technique.
Negatives: Doesn’t have ideal speed, was burned repeatedly by Ginn and Jarrett this year, and may not be able to keep up with big time NFL WR’s. Cover 2?
NFL Comparison: Ronde Barber

21. Rufus Alexander, OLB/Oklahoma (6-1 230 4.60)
Positives: A playmaker, always around the ball. He’s great athlete with a powerful upper body, big hitter. Plays big in big games, fluid in coverage.
Negatives: Smallish for a LB, can be overpowered by bigger linemen. Struggles when locked on to.
NFL Comparison: Pisa Tinoisamoa

22. Robert Meachem*, WR/Tennessee (6-3 215 4.45)
Positives: An outstanding athlete, great combo of size/speed. Had a breakout junior year, can run after the catch. If he tests at the combine as expected, he could go even higher.
Negatives: Was a major disappointment until this year. Doesn't have real natural hands and occasionally drops passes. Could improve his routes.
NFL Comparison: Javon Walker

23. Lawrence Timmons*, OLB/Florida St (6-3 230 4.65)
Positives: Amazing athlete, will probably go even higher if he works out like expected. Has a good combination of aggression and instincts. Has a lot of potential.
Negatives: Needs to add weight, can be overpowered by bigger linemen. At times he plays out of control and overaggressive.
NFL Comparison: Marcus Washington

24. Zach Miller*, TE/Arizona St (6-5 260 4.70)
Positives: Big, soft hands, very rarely drops anything. Gives his all as a blocker, good size. He’s a pretty good athlete for a TE.
Negatives: Not the Vernon Davis/Kellen Winslow Jr-type of freak athlete that everyone wants, so he may not get a look until later in round 1. Has no shortage of talent, though.
NFL Comparison: Todd Heap

25. Michael Griffin, S/Texas (6-0 205 4.45)
Positives: Excellent speed, always around the ball. Great in run support, plays aggressive. Good closing speed, very productive over his career.
Negatives: Sometimes plays a little too aggressive. Gets burned often and can't be counted on in man coverage. Doesn't have ideal instincts, can be fooled easily.
NFL Comparison: Terrence Kiel

The Next 30
Troy Smith, QB/Ohio St
Drew Stanton, QB/Michigan St
Kenny Irons, RB/Auburn
Michael Bush, RB/Louisville
Brian Leonard, FB/Rutgers
Dwayne Bowe, WR/LSU
Anthony Gonzalez, WR/Ohio St
Greg Olsen, TE/Miami
Levi Brown, OT/Penn St
Joe Staley, OT/Central Michigan
Tony Ugoh, OT/Arkansas
Ryan Harris, OT/Notre Dame
Justin Blalock, OG/Texas
Arron Sears, OG/Tennessee
Ben Grubbs, OG/Auburn
Ryan Kalil, C/USC
Adam Carriker, DE/Nebraska
Quentin Moses, DE/Georgia
Victor Abiamiri, DE/Notre Dame
Charles Johnson, DE/Georgia
Jarvis Moss, DE/Florida
Ryan McBean, DT/Oklahoma St
Quinn Pitcock, DT/Ohio St
Jon Beason, OLB/Miami
H.B. Blades, MLB/Pitt
Buster Davis, MLB/Florida St
Marcus McCauley, CB/Fresno St
Chris Houston, CB/Arkansas
Daymeion Hughes, CB/Cal
Eric Weddle, S/Utah

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hula Bowl

Here's a look at the five players that impressed me the most in last night's Hula Bowl:

1. Yamon Figurs, WR/KR/Kansas St (5-11 175) Showed amazing return ability, excellent speed. Small for a WR, but is worth a draft pick for his return skills alone.

2. Ramzee Robinson, CB/Alabama (5-9 190) For someone his size, he's a pretty big hitter. More quick than fast. Could be used as a punt returner, nickelback.

3. Justise Hairston, RB/Central Conn St (6-1 210) He has ideal size and speed, had a great season at the D2 level. Runs with power, shakes off arm tackles well.

4. Chad Nkang, LB/SS/Elon U (6-0 215) His ball skills need to improve, but showed the cover skills needed to make the move to safety. Very good athleticism, big hitter.

5. Jay Richardson, DE/Ohio St (6-6 275) Good pass rusher, uses his size/athleticism combination very well. Solid vs. the run, but could improve.

Declared Underclassmen

The following players have reportedly declared themselves eligible for the 2007 NFL Draft. This list will be updated regularly:

Dwayne Wright, RB/Fresno State (6-1 220) He had major knee surgery in '04, but appears to be fully healed. He has the tools to be a running back in the NFL, solid combination of size and speed. Was very productive this year, one of the few bright spots for an underachieving Fresno State team. Medical exams at the combine will be extremely important for him.
This year's stats: 1,462yds 11TDs 5.6ypc
Projected Round: 3-4

Rory Johnson, LB/Ole Miss (6-1 235) Was overshadowed by fellow LB, All-Everything Patrick Willis, but he does have some talent. Played well in JuCo, only spent one year at Ole Miss. Good speed, probably will get drafted with good workouts, but another year in school would have helped.
This year's stats: 94tkls 2FR 3FF
Projected Round: 5-6

Chris Henry, RB/Arizona (6-0 230) He's an amazing athlete. Had a disappointing year, though, with only 3.5ypc. Will probably post a very good 40 time and bench a lot, but I don't really know if he can be an NFL RB. People who like him say his poor production is because of a poor OL. That's part of it, but he's not that quick, doesn't run with great vision. Someone will probably take him late if he works out like expected.
This year's stats: 581yds 7TDs
Projected Round: 6-7

Stanley Doughty, DT/South Carolina (6-1 330) He's definitely a wide body and has potential if he can ever get his priorities straight. Extremely strong, hard to move, could be a project at NT. GM's will probably shy away from him after talking to Steve Spurrier, who had him in his doghouse because of weight problems and laziness.
This year's stats: 17tkls
Probable Round: 7-FA

Gary Russell, RB/Minnesota (5-11 215) Didn't play at Minnesota this year, due to academic problems. Had a huge year in '05, looked like a future star and 1st rounder while backing up Laurence Maroney. He has good speed, size and runs with surprising power. Good decision taking advantage of a weak senior class. Needs to look good in workouts after taking a year off.
2005 stats: 1,130yds 18TDs 6.1ypc
Projected Round: 3-4

Eric Wright, CB/UNLV (5-11 190) Former USC starter, only spent one season at UNLV. He's very quick and can also return kicks. Didn't produce great stats this year, because teams rarely threw to his side of the field. Not very big, doesn't help out vs. the run. Has had problems with the law, pretty big character concerns. Has the tools to be a shutdown corner, but it might take some time and coaching.
This year's stats: 29tkls 1int 1FF
Projected Round: 4-5

Lawrence Timmons, LB/Florida St (6-3 230) He's a great athlete, will probably test very well at the combine. Rugged player that combines athleticism with toughness. Still a little raw and might want to add some weight.
This year's stats: 74tkls 18TFL 5sacks 1int 2TDs
Projected Round: 1-2

Greg Olsen, TE/Miami (6-5 250) Talented receiver, good athlete with soft hands. Coaches at Miami think he has a chance to be the best Miami TE ever, which is saying a lot when you think of Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow. Really needed to improve his blocking, but failed to this year. Didn't put up impressive numbers, but a lot of that was because of inconsistent QB play.
This year's stats: 40rec 489yds 1TD
Projected Round: 1-2

Charles Johnson, DE/Georgia (6-2 275) He doesn't have the ideal height of a DE, but he's definitely not small. Solid overall athlete with good pass rush skills and surprising power for his size. Outplayed preseason All-American Quentin Moses at times this year. He doesn't have the prototypical measurables that most first round DE's carry, but he is a very good player.
This year's stats: 40tkls 7.5sacks 16TFL
Projected Round: 1-2

Danny Ware, RB/Georgia (6-1 220) He looked very good early in his career, and was the first freshman to start on opening day at RB since Charles Smith in 1943. (He had 135yds 3TDs). Lost a lot of PT to Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin, but wasn't very impressive when he did get the chance to play. He does have the size and athleticism to be an NFL back, but appeared to regress over his career at Georgia.
This year's stats: 302yds 3TDs 4.0ypc
Projected Round: 7-FA

Marshawn Lynch, RB/California (5-11 215) It was a foregone conclusion that he would enter the draft. Had a great year, was Pac-10 Offensive POY. He has great moves, good speed, and can run through arm tackles. He's in my top 10 right now.
This year's stats: 1,356yds 11TDs 6.1ypc
Projected Round: Early 1st

Robert Meachem, WR/Tennessee (6-3 215) He's as physically impressive as any WR in the senior class, with an excellent combination of size and speed. Some might think he's a risk in the first round, considering he only has one good season in college under his belt. He could improve his routes.
This year's stats: 71rec 1,298yds 11TD's
Projected Round: 1-2

JaMarcus Russell, QB/LSU (6-6 260) A beast. He'd be the biggest quarterback in the NFL right away, but he can still move around well. Rumored to throw around 80 yards, and had an excellent junior season. His decision making is sometimes questionable, but his potential is so high, he should go top 10, maybe top 5.
This year's stats: 3,129yds 28TD's 8Int's
Projected Round: Early 1st

Jamaal Anderson, DE/Arkansas (6-6 280) Had a breakout junior season. Prototypical size/athleticism combination, could be a Richard Seymour type in the NFL. With good workouts, he could be top 15. Lacks elite quickness and explosiveness.
This year's stats: 65tkls 19.5TFL 13.5sacks
Projected Round: 1

Antwan Applewhite, DE/San Diego St (6-4 245) Pretty good athlete, will probably be a 3-4 OLB. Solid size/speed combo, productive pass rusher at SDSU. A 'tweener, probably won't be drafted without excellent workouts.
This year's stats: 52tkls 6sacks
Projected Round: 7-FA

Jon Beason, OLB/Miami (6-0 230) He really impressed me this year. Very good speed, explosiveness. Excellent tackler, solid in coverage. Plays very aggressive, sometimes a little overaggressive. Can be overpowered by OLmen, lacks ideal size.
This year's stats: 66tkls 8TFL 1FF 1FR
Projected Round: 2

Alan Branch, DT/Michigan (6-6 330) A probable top 10 pick, possibly the first Defensive Player taken. Huge and athletic, former HS running back. Takes up a ton of space and is very hard to move. Nose Tackle?
This year's stats: 25tkls 6TFL 2sacks 2FF 3FR
Projected Round: Top 10

C.J. Gaddis, CB/Clemson (6-0 205) Lacks ideal instincts, gets by with his athleticism and size. Could make a move to Safety in the NFL. Helps vs. the run, but gets burned too often, especially vs. smaller, quicker WR's.
This year's stats: 27tkls 7.5TFL 2INT
Projected Round: 4-5

Anthony Gonzalez, WR/Ohio St (5-11 195) Very quick, was timed faster in the 40 than Ted Ginn Jr at Ohio State. Underappreciated, very hard worker with good hands. Doesn't possess ideal size or strength but could be an excellent slot receiver in the pros.
This year's stats: 51rec 734yds 8TDs
Projected Round: 2

Chris Houston, CB/Arkansas (5-11 190) Good quickness and athleticism, very fluid in coverage. Lacks elite size and speed, can be owned occasionally by bigger wideouts.
This year's stats: 45tkls 3INT
Projected Round: 2-3

Dwayne Jarrett, WR/USC (6-5 215) Coming off a career performance in the Rose Bowl, has excellent size and hands. Knows how to use his body to shield defenders, makes some amazing catches. Some question his character and work ethic.
This year's stats: 70rec 1015yds 12TDs
Projected Round: Top 15

Calvin Johnson, WR/Georgia Tech (6-5 230) The best WR prospect I've ever seen, amazing talent. I think he's the #1 overall player in this draft. Excellent size/speed/strength/hands. No uncorrectable weaknesses.
This year's stats: 76rec 1,202yds 15TDs
Projected Round: Top 5

Zach Miller, TE/Arizona St (6-5 255) Very good receiver, reminds some of Todd Heap. Consistent hands, solid blocker, but isn't a freak athlete, so may slip to 2nd round.
This year's stats: 50rec 484yds 4TDs
Projected Round: 1-2

Adrian Peterson, RB/Oklahoma (6-2 215) Excellent size and speed, runs extremely hard. If he can stay healthy, should be an elite NFL back. Has only played one full season in college, but was still very productive.
This year's stats: 1,012yds 12TDs 5.4ypc (Only 6 games)
Projected Round: Top 10

Darrelle Revis, CB/Pittsburgh (6-0 200) Has the potential to be the top CB selected this year. Top notch athlete, prototype size/speed for a corner. Is also a top return man. Doesn't have great instincts and hasn't lived up to his talent yet.
This year's stats: 39tkls 2INT 1TD
Projected Round: 1

Sidney Rice, WR/South Carolina (6-4 190) He's probably right below that top group of WR's (Calvin, Jarrett, Ginn). He isn't that fast or strong, but has excellent hands and wins a ton of jump balls.
This year's stats: 72rec 1,090yds 10TDs
Projected Round: 1

Ramonce Taylor, RB/Texas (5-11 190) Has had some major problems, both academically and with the law. Didn't play this past year, but still has amazing speed. Could be a kick returner at the next level.
2005 stats: 513yds 12TDs 6.8ypc
Projected Round: 6-7

Darius Walker, RB/Notre Dame (5-10 210) Coming off a big time performance against LSU, figured his stock wouldn't get any higher with one more year. Lacks ideal size/strength/speed, probably won't be a starter in the NFL.
This year's stats: 1,267yds 7TDs 5.0ypc
Projected Round: 4-5

Ryan Smith, CB/Florida (5-10 170) Has excellent speed and quickness. Very small and can easily be overpowered. Probably lacks size/strength to be a starter, but could be a very solid nickelback. Great ball skills, hands.
This year's stats: 54tkls 8INTs
Projected Round: 3-4

Jarvis Moss, DE/Florida (6-6 250) Amazing athlete, top pass rusher. He has the talent to be a star, if he can add weight and maintain his explosiveness/quickness. Can be overpowered, struggles when ran at.
This year's stats: 56tkls 11TFL 7.5sacks 4FF 2blkd kicks
Projected Round: 1-2

Reggie Nelson, S/Florida (6-0 195) Has an amazing combo of speed and playmaking ability. Has a nose for the ball and good ball skills. Can deliver the big hit and support vs. the run, but may have to add size/strength to play as physical as he does in the NFL.
This year's stats: 51tkls 6INTs
Projected Round: 1

Jon Abbate, MLB/Wake Forest (5-11 245) Reminds some of Zach Thomas. Very undersized for an ILB, not anything special in terms of athleticism. Plays with aggressiveness and intelligence, excellent open field tackler. Physical, not afraid to take on bigger players. Don't doubt him.
This year's stats: 120tkls 3sacks 1int 1FF 1FR
Projected Round: 3-4

Brandon Siler, MLB/Florida (6-2 235) Excellent combination of size/strength/speed. Didn't have as good of a junior year as expected, but is extremely talented. Could improve in coverage, isn't really fluid in that area.
This year's stats: 77tkls 10TFL 1FF 1FR
Projected round: 2

Ted Ginn Jr, WR/Ohio St (6-0 180) Amazing speed, a gamebreaker. Threat to go the distance every time. Still a little raw as a receiver, not very strong, but has solid hands. Needs to add weight to become a full time WR, but could be a difference maker right away in the return game.
This year's stats: 59rec 781yds 9TDs
Projected round: Top 15

Antonio Pittman, RB/Ohio St (5-11 195) Solid RB, but doesn't do anything great. Doesn't have elite top end speed, is a little small. Had a very good year, shows good quickness and burst, with surprising power for his size.
This year's stats: 1,233yds 14TDs 5.1ypc
Projected round: 2-3

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB/Marshall (5-10 195)

Jason Jack, DE/Texas A&M (6-4 275)

Maurice Price, WR/Charleston Southern (6-1 190)

Keenan Carter, DT/Virginia (6-1 310)

Brandon Jackson, RB/Nebraska (5-11 210)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Players to Watch: 2007-08

Here are some underclassmen that I expect to breakout next year. Don't forget any of these names, as all will be possible high picks:

1. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR/Maryland (6-3 195) Excellent size and speed combination. Is a primetime player, he had his best games of the year against Miami, Florida St, Georgia Tech, and Purdue. Will be a draft-eligible sophomore next season.
2006 stats (rFr): 46rec 694yds 5TDs

2. Craig Steltz, SS/LSU (6-2 205) As a backup on LSU last year, he posted 42 tackles and 4 interceptions. Imagine what kind of numbers he’ll put up as a starter. Doesn’t have great speed, but is solid in coverage and an excellent open field tackler.
2006 stats (Jr): 42tkls 4ints

3. King Dunlap, OT/Auburn (6-8 320) He’s a mauler, but is surprisingly quick. Long arms, hasn’t even tapped the surface of his potential. Will be a prototype RT prospect with his excellent size and run blocking ability.
2006: (rJr)

4. Vernon Gholston, DE/Ohio St (6-4 260) One of the strongest players on Ohio St, great vs. the run. He’s hard to move, an excellent bull-rusher. Not the quickest guy, will probably end up being a 3-4 DE.
2006 stats (rSo): 49tkls 15TFL 8.5sacks

5. Duane Brown, OT/Virginia Tech (6-5 290) Amazingly athletic for his size, former TE. He’s only played one season at OT. With another year and improved knowledge of the game, he has nowhere to go but up.
2006: (rJr)

6. Matt Flynn, QB/LSU (6-3 225) Started in the Tiger’s 2005 40-3 victory over Miami in the Peach Bowl, and looked very impressive. He has all the intangibles to be a top quarterback.
2006 stats (rJr): 133yds 60%cmp 2TDs 1int

7. Martail Burnett, DE/LB/Utah (6-3 245) Former safety, excellent athlete (40+” vert, reported 4.7 speed) Plays DE for the Utes, but will likely be a 3-4 OLB in the pros. Looks fluid in space and is a good pass rusher.
2006 stats (rJr): 42tkls 10.5TFL 5.5sacks 2FF

8. Jamal Lewis, FS/Georgia Tech (6-0 190) Shows good recovery speed, excellent cover skills for a safety. Lacks ideal size/strength, but is a sure tackler and isn’t afraid to help out vs. the run. Former CB, great special teams player.
2006 stats (Jr): 72tkls 3ints 1FF 1FR

9. Shawn Crable, OLB/Michigan (6-5 245) A playmaker, good pass rusher and solid in coverage. Excellent size, but could add some weight. With so many Michigan Defensive players leaving (Woodley, Branch, Hall), he should step up and lead them in '07.
2006 stats (rJr): 37tkls 10.5TFL 4.5sacks 2FF 1FR

10. Aaron Curry, OLB/Wake Forest (6-3 240) Very big for an LB, powerful tackler. Makes up for his lack of ideal speed with his strength and physical play. Still raw, but has excellent potential. Could move to MLB.
2006 stats (rSo): 83tkls 8.5TFL 2FF 1int

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

2007 Draft Order

It's better late than never, so here's the 2007 draft order. I felt it wasn't necessary to include playoff teams, because the order will definitely change anyways, but I will update it whenever things are official.

1 Oakland Raiders
2 Detroit Lions
3 Cleveland Browns#
4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers#
5 Arizona Cardinals
6 Washington Redskins
7 Minnesota Vikings
8 Houston Texans
9 Miami Dolphins
10 Atlanta Falcons
11 San Francisco 49ers
12 Buffalo Bills
13 St. Louis Rams
14 Carolina Panthers
15 Pittsburgh Steelers
16 Green Bay Packers
17 Jacksonville Jaguars
18 Cincinnati Bengals
19 Tennessee Titans
20 New York Giants
21 Denver Broncos
22 Dallas Cowboys
23 Kansas City Chiefs
24 New England Patriots (from Seattle)
25 New York Jets
26 Philadelphia Eagles
27 New Orleans Saints
28 New England Patriots
29 Baltimore Ravens
30 San Diego Chargers

# - Subject to coin flip

Top 10

Here's my updated top 10. I'll update it again after the National Championship. On January 16th (the day after all underclassmen declare), I'll make a top 25 complete with scouting reports.

1. Calvin Johnson**, WR/Georgia Tech
Positives: He has all the tools necessary to succeed at WR in the NFL. I haven't seen anyone quite like him. He has big, soft hands and a knack for making spectacular catches. He can turn screen passes into 60 yard TD's, thanks to his excellent combination of strength and speed (reportedly 4.50). He's also a great person and works to be the best player he can be.
Negatives: While he does make some amazing catches, he also gets lazy and drops some easy ones. He disappeared in some big games this year (vs. in-state rival Georgia and the ACC Championship vs. Wake Forest), but that was largely due to Reggie Ball's terrible play.
NFL Comparison: Bigger Larry Fitzgerald

2. Adrian Peterson**, RB/Oklahoma
Positives: He runs so hard and so fast that nobody ever wants to get in his way. Very big and fast, prototypical measurables (6'2" 215, reported 4.40). He was very productive when he was on the field, made some unbelievable runs. Even though he's mainly a North-South kind of guy, he shows great quickness and finesse when he has to.
Negatives: There have been some major durability concerns, as the only full season he played was his freshman one. If he would've finished up his junior year healthy, I think you'd see him at the top of this list right now. He may have to change up his running style to stay on the field, and nobody knows how that might affect him as a runner.
NFL Comparison: Smaller, faster Steven Jackson

3. Brady Quinn, QB/Notre Dame
Positives: He's the prototype QB. Excellent size, arm strength, and pocket presence. He can make all the throws and is a very good leader. Was very productive in college and improved tremendously in his 2 years in the pro-style offense of Charlie Weis. He's surprisingly athletic and is poised in the pocket.
Negatives: His senior year was a bit of a disappointment, as many people claim he "underperformed" but he still put up great numbers and did nothing to damage his draft stock. His accuracy is somewhat inconsistent, and he has definitely not been a clutch player so far in his career.
NFL Comparison: More athletic, less accurate Carson Palmer

4. Joe Thomas, OT/Wisconsin
Positives: He's probably the most athletic 6'8" OT in the country. The way he runs downfield and takes on LB's or even DB's is really what sets him apart. Prototype LT, excellent pass protector, which is really becoming important in the NFL these days.
Negatives: Some say he lacks a mean streak, but I think he'll be just fine. He does need to put on some weight and get stronger, though. He had a major knee injury last year, but it appears that he is completely over it.
NFL Comparison: Chris Samuels, Redskins

5. Gaines Adams, DE/Clemson
Positives: He's an excellent athlete and pass rusher with very long arms. Only tapped the surface of his potential in college. He has the frame to add weight and play DE in the NFL, but if for some reason he can't, he also has the cover skills and fluidity to be a 3-4 'backer.
Negatives: As of right now, he could be considered a 'tweener, but I think that will change over time. He struggles when teams run at him, and can occasionally be overpowered. He's still raw and needs some technique work. He also needs to hit the weight room.
NFL Comparison: Jevon Kearse, Eagles

6. Alan Branch**, DT/Michigan
Positives: He's a massive, but athletic player. Commands double teams regularly. He played some DE earlier in his career, and even played RB in high school. Great strength and size combination. Really had a breakout junior year, should declare early.
Negatives: He's still relatively new to the DT position, so he's somewhat raw in technique, but that also means he has potential. Doesn't have great stats, but that's because he's double teamed so often. He doesn't have very many uncorrectable weaknesses.
NFL Comparison: John Henderson, Jaguars

7. Dwayne Jarrett**, WR/USC
Positives: He's a tall, lanky red-zone threat with great hands. Productive in college, he can make some amazing catches. Was simply bigger than the CB's that cover him and could outjump and outrun most of them.
Negatives: His effort has been questioned, needs to add strength. He's been compared to former Trojan Mike Williams, which is definitely not a good thing. He doesn't have a great burst off the line, lacks quickness.
NFL Comparison: Plaxico Burress, Giants

8. Marshawn Lynch*, RB/California
Positives: He makes some pretty eye-opening cutbacks. Runs with excellent vision and sees holes before they open. Very quick, fast player who could possibly be used as a kick returner like Laurence Maroney this year. Great acceleration.
Negatives: He's somewhat inconsistent. Sometimes he goes for the big play when it's not there and ends up losing yardage. He needs to learn that it's okay to go down for 4 yards rather than take a 5 yard loss while looking for a big play.
NFL Comparison: Clinton Portis, Redskins

9. Ted Ginn Jr**, WR/Ohio St
Positives: He truly is a burner. It is possible that he runs a sub-4.3 40 at the combine or his pro day. Excellent kick returner, a big play waiting to happen. Solid hands, doesn't drop many catchable passes. Has great quickness and can stop on a dime.
Negatives: He's still very skinny and sometimes struggles to get off the line against bigger, stronger CB's. His hands are not as good as some of the other top WR's in this class, but he makes up for it with his playmaking ability.
NFL Comparison: More talented Santana Moss

10. Patrick Willis, LB/Ole Miss
Positives: He's been very productive over his career. Probably the toughest guy in college football. As a junior, played through a broken arm and had 128tkls. Great athlete, very powerful for his size and plays with anger. Unbelievable instincts.
Negatives: He's had quite a few injuries over his career, but he's played through most of them. His coverage leaves a little bit to be desired, and he's not really fluid in that area. He's a top ten talent, but probably won't go that high because teams normally wait to draft ILB's.
NFL Comparison: The old Takeo Spikes

*=Declared Underclassmen
**=Undeclared Underclassmen

Tuesday, January 2, 2007


Last night's Fiesta Bowl was the most exciting football game I've seen since V.Y. vs. USC. It was very important for the college game and really showed the need for a playoff system. Here are some of my observations from last night's game:

1. Who wouldn't love to see Boise State vs. Ohio State?

2. Boise State's Chris Petersen is a great coach. That was the gutsiest play calling I've ever seen, and in the end, he gave all the credit to the backup QB's.

3. How about Dan Hawkins. Everyone thought that Boise might struggle without him, but they end up undefeated and in the Fiesta Bowl, and Hawkins goes 2-9 with Colorado.

4. Jared Zabransky really impressed me. He's a great team leader, he's athletic, and he's mentally tough. After that INT that would have cost them the game, he drives them down the field to a game tying score with no time left. He's a lot like Jeff Garcia, a guy that won't wow anybody with his size or arm, but he's a winner and gets the job done. Could be a steal on the 2nd day.

5. College overtime is great.

6. Adrian Peterson looked healthy to me, but his O-Line couldn’t give him any room to run. He finished with some pretty good stats (77yds 2TDs) and should be at least a top 10 pick, possibly top 5.

7. Rufus Alexander had yet another great game, making plays all over the field. In my opinion, he can now be mentioned with Patrick Willis and Paul Posluszny in that top group of LB's. He is a little small (6-1 230), but he makes up for it with his athleticism and playmaking.

Miami Hurricanes: Bright Future

Even after a down year (7-6), the infamous fight with Florida International, and the firing of Larry Coker, Miami’s future still looks pretty bright. Their impact on the draft has been on the decline recently (see below), but with so many talented underclassmen, they could get back to being a national powerhouse as soon as next season. Here’s a look at some of their top returning players:

Calais Campbell, DE (6-8 265 Jr) He’s a possible top ten pick if he keeps on playing like he did during the second half of the season. Needs to put on some weight and get stronger vs. the run, but is already an excellent pass rusher. (All of his 10 sacks came during their last 7 games)

Kenny Phillips, S (6-2 205 Jr) Probably the most talented DB prospect since Sean Taylor. He can cover, hit, has good ball skills, and great measurables. Would be a possible top 15 pick if he was eligible this year.

Javarris James, RB (6-0 205 Soph) He was a true frosh, so can’t enter the draft for another 2 years. Had the most rushing yards for a freshman since Clinton Portis. Shows good vision and keeps his legs moving in traffic. Doesn’t have elite breakaway speed, but if he keeps improving he could be a first rounder someday.

Sam Shields, WR (6-0 180 Soph) Excellent speed (Reported 4.4), a playmaker and deep threat. Still raw, but has a lot of potential. Had a 78-yard catch and run TD in the MPC Computers Bowl.

Chavez Grant, CB (5-11 175 Soph) He made an amazing, game sealing INT against Nevada. I don’t know much about him, but he had four starts this year as a true freshman, and DE Calais Campbell said, “He’ll be an All-American next year, you watch.”

Jon Beason, OLB (6-0 230 Sr) Led the team in tackles this year. Said he’d enter this year’s draft if he’s given a first round grade, but I think he’s more of a second rounder. Surprising power for his size, good athlete, with a big senior year he could move into the first round.

Reggie Youngblood, OT (6-5 310 Jr) He was a top recruit coming out of high school, but struggled at times this year. Has the size and athleticism to be a high pick, but is still raw.

Kyle Wright or Kirby Freeman, QB-It’s going to come down to two things next year. QB play and coaching. Both were pretty big recruits and have potential. Miami has the athletes to win a lot next season, and Randy Shannon impresses me as a coach, but QB play is going to be the difference between another bowl game against Nevada or one against USC.

*All classes (Fr, Soph, Jr, Sr) listed are for next year

Miami’s 1st Rounders
’01-’04: 4.8 per year
’05-’06: 1.0 per year