Wednesday, January 3, 2007

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


Robert Bryant said...

Nice Bog, what about JaMarcus Russell?

JP said...

I haven't updated this in a long time, but once all the underclassmen declare, you can definitely expect to see JaMarcus in the top 10.

radr4lf said...

What about Brennan, if he declares?

radr4lf said...

What about Colt Brennan if he declares?

JP said...

Brennan entered the draft today, but he still has the option to back out in the next 3 days, if he doesn't hire an agent. Right now I'd put him around #20-30, which is a lot higher than many "experts" have him. The NFL Draft Advisory Panel recently gave him a 2nd round grade.

Here's my December article on him