Sunday, May 10, 2009

Undrafted Free Agent Notes

Here are some guys we could hear from soon, this year's undrafted class was very deep compared to recent years. 

Top 10

1. Gerald Cadogan, OT/Penn St/Carolina
I had him rated as a 3rd-4th rounder, very smart and talented guy that had questions about his commitment to football and mean streak. Long arms, great feet, has the frame and intelligence to potentially start at LT someday.

2. Quan Cosby, WR/Texas/Cincinnati
He likely didn't get drafted because of his height and age, but there is no shortage of ability. Cincy could use a playmaking punt returner like Cosby, he's a great guy off the field and is very mature. Quick guy who could contribute in the slot.

3. Phillip Hunt, OLB/Houston/Cleveland
College DE with a ton of natural pass rushing ability, very long arms for his height, and has excellent athleticism. If he doesn't make it in Cleveland he could still be in the league for a while, not too many weaknesses in his game.

4. Rulon Davis, DE/California/Denver
Davis ran the 3-4 in college at Cal, and the Broncos are running it as their base D for the first time this year. That will give the former marine an opportunity to show a knowledge and familiarity with the system that few players on the roster will. He's at his best against the run and can bull rush, but likely didn't get drafted because of his age and lack of explosiveness.

5. Augustus Parrish, OT/Kent St/New Orleans
Athletic swing tackle with a good punch, sometimes his technique got sloppy in college but he showed a ton of potential in the postseason. Reminds me a lot of Oniel Cousins, a guy that will need some time but has the tools to work with.

6. Roger Allen, OG/St. Louis
He's a big, strong guard from a small school. Surprisingly nimble for such a big guy, I was extremely surprised he didn't get picked up on day 2. 

7. Jamarko Simmons, WR/Green Bay
Not many receivers are Simmons' size, and he has enough speed to stretch the field. His routes need some work, but he's just a natural athlete.

8. Mitch King, DT/Tennessee
Extremely productive, not a textbook DT at all but collapses the pocket with great intensity on every play. 

9. Brannan Southerland, FB/NY Jets
A traditional lead blocking FB that showcased surprising athleticism at the combine.

10. Graham Gano, K/P/Baltimore
His versatility might warrant a roster spot over incumbent Steve Hauschka.

Honorable Mention

Keith Fitzhugh, SS/NY Jets: Active special teamer, great in run support.

Zach Potter, DE/NY Jets: Prototypical 3-4 DE, great size.

Kory Sperry, TE/San Diego: Smooth receiving TE, needs to work on blocking.

Devin Moore, RB/Seattle: Extremely quick and productive scatback; a little small.

Cecil Newton, C/Jacksonville: Athletic center from the small school level.

Louis Ellis, NT/Miami: Miami doesn't have too many solid NT's, he has the size and skill to compete.

Darry Beckwith, ILB/San Diego: Productive and instinctive ILB.

Antonio Appleby, ILB/New England: Experienced in the 3-4, great against the run.

Jamar Love, CB/New England: Could contribute immediately as a gunner; blazing speed.

Dudley Guice, WR/Tennessee: Big, fast, impressed in the postseason; has potential.

Chris Baker, DT/Denver: He might be a DE in the 3-4, quick, natural pass rusher from the inside.

Frantz Joseph, MLB/Oakland: Excellent against the run, very powerful MLB.

Tyrell Sutton, RB/Green Bay: Pass catching and blocking skills might get him a shot as a 3rd down back.

Colt Anderson, SS/Minnesota: Smallish safety with great instincts, hustle player could make his mark on special teams.

Jason Chery, WR/KR/Carolina: Carolina's need of a return man will very likely be filled by him or his fellow UDFA Larry Beavers.

Jonathan Casillas, OLB/New Orleans: Has had a major problem with injuries, but is an extremely athletic guy and productive when healthy.

Michael Ray Garvin, KR/CB/Arizona: Amazing speed and instincts running with the ball, won't be counted on as a CB.

Kory Sheets, RB/San Francisco: Very quick, has a solid chance of sticking with the team as a special teamer/developmental type player.

Darius Hill, TE/Cincinnati: He was signed after a tryout, great potential in the passing game with his length and fluidity.

Will Johnson, DT/Baltimore: Extremely strong guy, great against the run.

Jason Watkins, OT/Houston: Long and athletic, might need some time but could develop as a LT.

Bill Rentmeester, FB/San Diego: Prolific special teamer at Wisconsin, but will it be enough to earn a roster spot in the NFL?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dallas Cowboys Draft Report

3 (69) Jason Williams, ILB/Western Illinois

-Athletic player they see as a potential starter down the road at ILB. Doesn’t possess ideal instincts and is several years away from contributing on anything other than special teams.

3 (75) Robert Brewster, OT/Ball State

-He doesn’t have great potential but was solid in college, probably just a backup swing OG/OT down the road.

4 (101) Stephen McGee, QB/Texas A&M

-I really think they should’ve gone in a different direction here. Had some solid pre-draft workouts but lost his job to Jerrod Johnson last season. Rhett Bomar was still on the board here and is much more talented in my opinion.

4 (110) Victor Butler, OLB/Oregon St

-A defensive end in college, Butler is a naturally talented pass rusher and could contribute on special teams right away.

4 (120) Brandon Williams*, DE/Texas Tech

-He lacks the athleticism to be an every down OLB, even in a 3-4, but is a skilled pass rusher and playmaker in the backfield. Has the frame to bulk up and may be asked to put on 20-30 lbs and play end.

5 (143) DeAngelo Smith, CB/Cincinnati

-A CB/S ‘tweener with ball skills; has some talent but lacks the speed to keep up with most receivers.

5 (166) Michael Hamlin, S/Clemson

-This is an excellent value pick. Hamlin has the size, instincts, and playmaking ability to compete for a starting job sooner than most 5th round picks would. Lacks elite speed but not many safeties have that anyways.

5 (172) David Buehler, K/USC

-The only reasoning I can see for this would be if the Cowboys believe a kickoff specialist is worth a 5th rounder, because that’s all he could do with Nick Folk already on the roster.

6 (197) Stephen Hodge, SS/TCU

-A guy with his size, speed, and aggressiveness should be able to make plays on special teams right away. Lacks the cover skills to ever start at safety and doesn’t have the frame to be a 3-4 OLB but could be a solid backup at both positions.

6 (208) Brad Phillips, TE/Virginia

-Solid blocking TE but will never be a threat in the passing game. Might have trouble making the team and seeing the field would be an even greater challenge with Bennett & Witten ahead of him.

7 (227) Mike Mickens, CB/Cincinnati

-Has a ton of talent but has trouble staying on the field. If he can overcome his injuries he could be a solid nickel CB down the road, similar to Aaron Glenn.

7 (229) Manuel Johnson, WR/Oklahoma

-Quick receiver with soft hands; has potential in the slot but guys like him are not hard to come by. Chances of making the active roster are slim.

The Good: Butler and Hamlin were probably their best picks; Hodge adds great value in the 6th as a special teamer and versatile backup.

The Bad: Both of the 3rd rounders were reaches that probably could’ve been available later. A kicker in the 5th doesn’t make any sense to me.

Grade: 3/10 (D)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Top 256 Prospects

There are 256 picks in this year's draft; here are the players I think will be taken with those selections today and tomorrow:

1. Mark Sanchez*, USC (1)
2. Matthew Stafford*, Georgia (1)
3. Rhett Bomar, Oklahoma (2)
4. Josh Freeman*, Kansas St (1)
5. Pat White (WR), West Virginia (2)
6. Nate Davis*, Ball St (4)
7. Hunter Cantwell, Louisville (5)
8. Stephen McGee, Texas A&M (5)
9. Mike Reilly, Central Washington (6)
10. Tom Brandstater, Fresno St (6)
11. Willie Tuitama, Arizona (7)
12. Jason Boltus, Hartwick (7)
13. Curtis Painter, Purdue (5)

Running Back
1. Knowshon Moreno*, Georgia (1)
2. Chris Wells*, Ohio St (1)
3. Shonn Greene*, Iowa (2)
4. LeSean McCoy*, Pittsburgh (2)
5. Donald Brown*, Connecticut (1)
6. Andre Brown, N.C. St (3)
7. Rashad Jennings, Liberty (3)
8. Javon Ringer, Michigan St (4)
9. Bernard Scott, Abilene Christian (5)
10. James Davis, Clemson (4)
11. Cedric Peerman, Virginia (4)
12. Kory Sheets, Purdue (5)
13. Ian Johnson, Boise St (5)
14. Glen Coffee*, Alabama (6)
15. Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern (6)
16. Gartrell Johnson, Colorado St (5)
17. Javarris Williams, Tennessee St (7)
18. Mike Goodson*, Texas A&M (4)
19. P.J. Hill*, Wisconsin (5)
20. Devin Moore, Wyoming (6)
21. Marlon Lucky, Nebraska (7)

1. Tony Fiammetta, Syracuse (4)
2. Quinn Johnson, LSU (4)
3. Brannan Southerland, Georgia (6)
4. David Johnson, Arkansas St (7)
5. Jason Cook, Ole Miss (6)
6. Frank Summers, UNLV (7)

Tight Ends
1. Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma St (1)
2. James Casey*, Rice (2)
3. Shawn Nelson, Southern Miss (2)
4. Jared Cook*, South Carolina (2)
5. Travis Beckum, Wisconsin (4)
6. Cornelius Ingram, Florida (4)
7. Kory Sperry, Colorado St (5)
8. Chase Coffman, Missouri (3)
9. Cameron Morrah*, California (4)
10. Dan Gronkowski, Maryland (5)
11. Davon Drew, ECU (6)
12. Zach Miller, UN-Omaha (7)
13. Carson Butler*, Michigan (7)

Wide Receivers
1. Michael Crabtree*, Texas Tech (1)
2. Darrius Heyward-Bey*, Maryland (1)
3. Jeremy Maclin*, Missouri (1)
4. Hakeem Nicks*, North Carolina (1)
5. Percy Harvin*, Florida (1)
6. Kenny Britt*, Rutgers (2)
7. Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma (2)
8. Brian Robiskie, Ohio St (2)
9. Jarrett Dillard, Rice (4)
10. Ramses Barden, Cal-Poly (3)
11. Johnny Knox, Abilene Christian (4)
12. Patrick Turner, USC (4)
13. Brandon Gibson, Washington St (5)
14. Deon Butler, Penn St (4)
15. Mohamed Massaquoi, Georgia (3)
16. Louis Murphy, Florida (3)
17. Austin Collie*, BYU (4)
18. Derrick Williams, Penn St (3)
19. Jamarko Simmons, Western Michigan (6)
20. Brandon Tate, North Carolina (4)
21. Mike Thomas, Arizona (6)
22. Quan Cosby, Texas (7)
23. Dominique Edison, Stephen F. Austin (7)
24. Brooks Foster, North Carolina (6)
25. Andrew Means*, Indiana (7)
26. Quinten Lawrence, McNeese St (7)
27. Dudley Guice, Northwestern St (7)
28. Mike Wallace, Ole Miss (6)
29. Marko Mitchell, Nevada (5)
30. Brian Hartline*, Ohio St (5)

Offensive Tackles
1. Michael Oher, Ole Miss (1)
2. Eugene Monroe, Virginia (1)
3. Jason Smith, Baylor (1)
4. Jamon Meredith, South Carolina (2)
5. Andre Smith*, Alabama (1)
6. Eben Britton*, Arizona (2)
7. Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma (3)
8. William Beatty, Connecticut (1)
9. Sebastian Vollmer, Houston (4)
10. Lydon Murtha, Nebraska (5)
11. Augustus Parrish, Kent St (4)
12. Gerald Cadogan, Penn St (3)
13. Troy Kropog, Tulane (6)
14. Cornelius Lewis, Tennessee St (6)
15. Andrew Gardner, Georgia Tech (4)
16. T.J. Lang, Eastern Michigan (4)
17. Xavier Fulton, Illinois (5)
18. Joel Bell, Furman (7)
19. Robert Brewster, Ball St (6)

Offensive Guards
1. Duke Robinson, Oklahoma (2)
2. Louis Vasquez, Texas Tech (3)
3. Kraig Urbik, Wisconsin (3)
4. Herman Johnson, LSU (4)
5. Tyronne Greene, Auburn (5)
6. Roger Allen III,Missouri Western (4)
7. Jaimie Thomas, Maryland (5)
8. Greg Isdaner*, West Virginia (4)
9. Andy Levitre, Oregon St (3)
10. Ray Feinga, BYU (6)
11. Seth Olsen, Iowa (6)
12. Lance Louis, San Diego St (7)
13. Travis Bright, BYU (6)
14. Ryan Durand, Syracuse (7)

1. Antoine Caldwell, Alabama (2)
2. Alex Mack, California (2)
3. Eric Wood, Louisville (3)
4. Max Unger, Oregon (2)
5. Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas (5)
6. Blake Schlueter, TCU (6)
7. Cecil Newton, Tennessee St (7)

Defensive Ends
1. Everette Brown*, Florida St (1)
2. Brian Orakpo, Texas (1)
3. Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech (2)
4. Tyson Jackson, LSU (1)
5. Connor Barwin, Cincinnati (1)
6. Aaron Maybin*, Penn St (1)
7. Lawrence Sidbury, Richmond (3)
8. Robert Ayers, Tennessee (1)
9. Larry English, Northern Illinois (2)
10. Kyle Moore, USC (4)
11. Henry Melton, Texas (4)
12. David Veikune, Hawaii (5)
13. Phillip Hunt, Houston (5)
14. Zach Potter, Nebraska (4)
15. Cody Brown, Connecticut (5)
16. Brandon Long, Michigan St (6)
17. Brandon Williams*, Texas Tech (6)
18. Julius Williams, Connecticut (6)
19. Michael Bennett, Texas A&M (7)
20. Derek Walker, Illinois (7)
21. Daniel Skuta, Grand Valley St (7)
22. Rulon Davis, California (6)
23. Will Davis, Illinois (7)

Defensive Tackles
1. B.J. Raji, Boston College (1)
2. Peria Jerry, Ole Miss (1)
3. Jarron Gilbert (DE), San Jose St (2)
4. Ziggy Hood, Missouri (2)
5. Fili Moala, USC (2)
6. Ron Brace, Boston College (2)
7. Alex Magee, Purdue (3)
8. Corvey Irvin, Georgia (4)
9. Terrance Knighton, Temple (6)
10. Clinton McDonald, Memphis (5)
11. Mitch King, Iowa (6)
12. Chris Baker*, Hampton (5)
13. Terrance Taylor, Michigan (7)
14. Sammie Lee Hill, Stillman (7)
15. Vance Walker, Georgia Tech (5)
16. Everette Pedescleaux, Northern Iowa (7)
17. Ra'Shon Harris, Oregon (4)
18. Ricky Jean-Francois*, LSU (4)
19. Khalif Mitchell, ECU (5)
20. Sen'Derrick Marks*, Auburn (6)
21. Roy Miller, Texas (6)
22. Dorell Scott, Clemson (6)
23. John Gill, Northwestern (5)
24. Louis Ellis, Shaw (7)
25. Will Johnson, Michigan (7)

Inside Linebackers
1. Rey Maualuga, USC (1)
2. James Laurinaitis, Ohio St (2)
3. Gerald McRath*, Southern Miss (3)
4. Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina (3)
5. Darry Beckwith, LSU (4)
6. Scott McKillop, Pittsburgh (6)
7. Jason Phillips, TCU (5)
8. Stanley Arnoux, Wake Forest (5)
9. Dannell Ellerbe, Georgia (5)
10. Antonio Appleby, Virginia (6)
11. Frantz Joseph, FAU (7)
12. Spencer Adkins, Miami (7)

Outside Linebackers
1. Aaron Curry, Wake Forest (1)
2. Brian Cushing, USC (1)
3. Clay Matthews, USC (1)
4. Tyrone McKenzie, USF (3)
5. Clint Sintim, Virginia (2)
6. Marcus Freeman, Ohio St (2)
7. Jason Williams, Western Illinois (4)
8. Kaluka Maiava, USC (5)
9. Jonathan Casillas, Wisconsin (4)
10. Nic Harris, Oklahoma (4)
11. Moise Fokou, Maryland (6)
12. DeAndre Levy, Wisconsin (5)
13. Lee Robinson, Alcorn St (7)
14. Anthony Felder, California (6)
15. Robert Francois, Boston College (7)
16. Russell Allen, San Diego St (7)
17. Mike Rivera, Kansas (7)
18. Zack Follett, California (5)

1. Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio St (1)
2. Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest (1)
3. D.J. Moore*, Vanderbilt (3)
4. Vontae Davis*, Illinois (1)
5. Macho Harris, Virginia Tech (4)
6. Sean Smith*, Utah (2)
7. Darius Butler, Connecticut (2)
8. Sherrod Martin, Troy (3)
9. Joe Burnett, UCF (4)
10. Mike Mickens, Cincinnati (5)
11. Lardarius Webb, Nicholls St (3)
12. Bradley Fletcher, Iowa (3)
13. Coye Francies, San Jose St (4)
13. Asher Allen*, Georgia (4)
14. Domonique Johnson, Jackson St (3)
15. Kevin Barnes, Maryland (5)
16. Don Carey, Norfolk St (6)
17. Ryan Mouton, Hawaii (5)
18. Donald Washington*, Ohio St (4)
19. Chris Owens, San Jose St (5)
20. Captain Munnerlyn*, South Carolina (6)
21. Keenan Lewis, Oregon St (6)
22. Jerraud Powers*, Auburn (6)
23. Jamar Love, Arkansas (7)
24. William Middleton, Furman (6)
25. Michael Ray Garvin, Florida St (7)
26. D.J. Clark, Idaho St (7)
27. Morgan Trent, Michigan (6)
28. Gregory Toler, St. Paul's (7)

1. Louis Delmas, Western Michigan (2)
2. Patrick Chung, Oregon (2)
3. William Moore, Missouri (3)
4. Rashad Johnson, Alabama (3)
5. Darcel McBath, Texas Tech (3)
6. Michael Hamlin, Clemson (4)
7. Chip Vaughn Wake Forest (3)
8. Derek Pegues, Mississippi St (5)
9. David Bruton, Notre Dame (4)
10. Curtis Taylor, LSU (5)
11. Chris Clemons, Clemson (4)
12. Jamarca Sanford, Ole Miss (5)
13. Emanuel Cook*, South Carolina (5)
14. Michael Mitchell, Ohio (7)
15. Courtney Greene, Rutgers (5)
16. Brandon Underwood, Cincinnati (6)
17. Stephen Hodge, TCU (6)
18. Colt Anderson, Montana (7)
19. Al Afalava, Oregon St (7)
20. C.J. Spillman, Marshall (6)

1. David Buehler, USC (K)
2. Kevin Huber, Cincinnati (P)
3. Graham Gano, Florida St (P)
4. Ryan Succop, South Carolina (K)
5. Jake Richardson, Miami (OH) (P)
6. Jake Ingram, Hawaii (LS)
7. Thomas Morstead, SMU (P)

projected round is in parentheses

Players in red did not get drafted. There are 60 on my list that went undrafted, that means I got 76.6% of the players drafted right. My personal best since '02 is 79.5% and my average is right around 75. 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Final Rankings: Skill Offense

1. Mark Sanchez*, USC
2. Matthew Stafford*, Georgia
3. Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston St
4. Josh Freeman*, Kansas St
5. Pat White (WR), West Virginia
6. Nate Davis*, Ball St
7. Todd Boeckman, Ohio St
8. Hunter Cantwell, Louisville
9. Mike Reilly, Central Washington (DII)
10. Willie Tuitama, Arizona
11. Tom Brandstater, Fresno St
12. Bobby Reid, Texas Southern (FCS)
13. Stephen McGee, Texas A&M
14. Jason Boltus, Hartwick (DIII)
15. Chris Pizzotti, Harvard (FCS)
16. John Parker Wilson, Alabama
17. David Johnson, Tulsa
18. Brian Hoyer, Michigan St
19. Chase Daniel, Missouri
20. Cullen Harper, Clemson
21. Mike Teel, Rutgers
22. Brian Johnson, Utah
23. Curtis Painter, Purdue
24. Drew Willy, Buffalo
25. Brock Smith, Liberty (FCS)
26. Rudy Carpenter, Arizona St
27. Sean Glennon, Virginia Tech
28. Graham Harrell, Texas Tech
29. Keith Null, West Texas A&M (DII)
30. Nathan Brown, Central Arkansas (FCS)
31. Chase Holbrook, New Mexico St
32. Chase Patton, Missouri
33. Billy Farris, Colorado St
34. Nate Longshore, California
35. Chase Clement (ath), Rice
36. Joey Halzle, Oklahoma
37. Joe Ganz, Nebraska
38. Billy Malone, Abilene Christian (DII)
39. C.J. Bacher, Northwestern
40. Drew Weatherford, Florida St
41. Rodney Landers (ath), James Madison (FCS)
42. Cole Bergquist, Montana (FCS)
43. Chris Crane, Boston College
44. Chris Nickson (ath), Vanderbilt
45. Randall Hippeard, Virginia-Wise (NAIA)
46. Jacary Atkinson (ath), Tuskegee (DII)
47. Casey Dick, Arkansas
48. Tyler Lorenzen (ath), Connecticut
49. Michael Desormeaux (ath), La-Lafayette
50. Dustin Grutza, Cincinnati

Running Back
1. Knowshon Moreno*, Georgia
2. Chris "Beanie" Wells*, Ohio St
3. Shonn Greene*, Iowa
4. Donald Brown*, Connecticut
5. LeSean McCoy*, Pittsburgh
6. Andre Brown, N.C. St
7. Rashad Jennings, Liberty (FCS)
8. James Davis, Clemson
9. Bernard Scott, Abilene Christian (DII)
10. Javon Ringer, Michigan St
11. Cedric Peerman, Virginia
12. Jamall Lee, Bishop's (Canada)
13. Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern
14. Gartrell Johnson (FB), Colorado St
15. Kory Sheets, Purdue
16. Josh Vaughan, Richmond
17. Glen Coffee*, Alabama
18. Jeremiah Johnson, Oregon
19. Ian Johnson, Boise St
20. Javarris Williams, Tennessee St (FCS)
21. Marlon Lucky, Nebraska
22. Mike Goodson*, Texas A&M
23. P.J. Hill*, Wisconsin
24. Devin Moore, Wyoming
25. Branden Ore, West Liberty St (DII)
26. Antone Smith, Florida St
27. Aaron Brown, TCU
28. Chris Ogbonnaya, Texas
29. Marcus Thigpen, Indiana
30. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Pittsburgh
31. Julian Edelman (QB), Kent St
32. Curtis Brinkley, Syracuse
33. Rodney Ferguson, New Mexico
34. Arian Foster, Tennessee
35. Yonus Davis, San Jose St
36. Tarrion Adams, Tulsa
37. Brad Lester, Auburn
38. Anthony Kimble, Stanford
39. Tyrell Fenroy, La-Lafayette
40. Walter Mendenhall, Illinois St (FCS)
41. Markus Manson, Valdosta St (DII)
42. Shannon Woods, Texas Tech
43. Herb Donaldson, Western Illinois (FCS)
44. Wynel Seldon, Wyoming
45. Keegan Herring, Arizona St
46. Kyle Bell (FB), Colorado St
47. Jerry Seymour, Glenville St (DII)
48. Darrell Mack, Utah
49. Dennis Kennedy, Akron
50. Stanley Zwinggi, Texas St (FCS)
51. Kahlil Bell, UCLA
52. DiIvory Edgecomb, Florida Atlantic

1. Tony Fiammetta, Syracuse
2. Quinn Johnson, LSU
3. Brannan Southerland, Georgia
4. Frank Summers (RB), UNLV
5. Conredge Collins, Pittsburgh
6. David Johnson (TE), Arkansas St
7. Jason Cook, Ole Miss
8. Cedric Hill (TE), USF
9. Bill Rentmeester, Wisconsin
10. Fui Vakapuna, BYU
11. Asaph Schwapp*, Notre Dame
12. Brock Bolen, Louisville
13. Travis McCall (TE), Alabama
14. Tyler Roehl (RB), North Dakota St (FCS)
15. Chris Pressley, Wisconsin
16. Mark Hafner (TE), Houston
17. Will Ta'ufo'ou, California
18. Rich Belton, Wake Forest
19. Marcus Mailei, Weber St (FCS)
20. Courtney Tennial, Tulsa
21. Eddie Williams (TE), Idaho
22. Jorvorskie Lane (RB), Texas A&M
23. Zeek Zacharie (TE), La-Monroe
24. Brandon Simmons, ECU
25. Dane Romero (RB), Wofford (FCS)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top 50: Post-Combine

LAST UPDATED: 4/20 @ 9:15 AM
-Scouting Reports added for:
#13 Hakeem Nicks
#14 Brian Cushing
#15 Knowshon Moreno

I'm in the process of putting together write-ups on each of these players, and will be done with as many as I can by April 25 (Draft Day). For the NFL Comparisons I'm putting 2 players that they're similar to, or a "cross" between because you can't really compare 1 player to 1 other player very accurately. Please remember these rankings are not where I project these players will be picked, but it is according to how good I think they should be in the NFL.

1. Aaron Curry, LB/Wake Forest
Measurables: 6'2" 254; 4.56; 25 reps
2008 Stats: 105 tackles; 16 TFL; 3 FR

Pros: He's a great all-around linebacker, could fit any number of schemes (best as a 4-3 OLB but could also be 4-3 MLB, 3-4 OLB or 3-4 ILB) and is the safest pick in the draft in my opinion. Excellent size, speed, and strength, and it shows up on the field. Solid in coverage and very good vs. the run, would improve a defense greatly from Day 1. I've been a fan of his since his unheralded sophomore year (go to archives and look at 2007-08 players to watch) and he has proved me right consistently.

Cons: He could probably improve his quickness and might not be able to stay with some shiftier RB's in coverage, but he doesn't show a whole lot of weaknesses.

Outlook: He could go anywhere from #1 to the Lions (although this isn't very likely w/the Julian Peterson trade) to #5 to the Browns, it appears unlikely to me that he'll fall out of the top 5, and is a virtual lock to stay in the top 10.

NFL Comparison: Patrick Willis/Marcus Washington

Current Grade: 9.78

2. Michael Crabtree*, WR/ Texas Tech

Measurables: 6'1" 215
2008 Stats: 93 rec; 1,135 yards; 18 TD

Pros: He's a tremendous natural hands catcher with great body control and instincts when the ball is in the air. He gains yards after contact and can go over the middle with the best of 'em. A playmaking wideout that can get open and make plays on the ball. Possesses good natural strength and can physically overpower most DB's.

Cons: His top-end speed is questionable, and he won't be a big time deep threat at the next level. The foot injury that prevented him from running a 40 isn't doing him any favors. Will he struggle to get open in an NFL offense against quicker CB's?

Outlook: There is no way I'd pass on him if I were the Rams at #2 or the Seahawks at #4, but if he for some reason falls it shouldn't be too far as the Bengals (#6), Raiders (#7), and Jaguars (#8) all appear to be in the market for a WR.

NFL Comparison: Larry Fitzgerald/Roy E. Williams

Current Grade: 9.55

3. Everette Brown*, LB/DE/Florida St
Measurables: 6'2" 256; 4.73; 26 reps
2008 Stats: 36 tackles; 21.5 TFL; 13.5 sacks; 4 FF

Pros: He's one of the most naturally gifted and instinctive pass rushers coming out of college that I've seen in a long time. Shows great potential as a possible 3-4 OLB and has the athleticism in space that could help him dropping into coverage. He also has the frame to put on more weight if a 4-3 team would like him to stay at end. Explosive off the edge with very good technique and leverage.

Cons: He might take a little time to develop at either position, and isn't quite the physical freak that DeMarcus Ware or Shawne Merriman are. Not great vs. the run as a DE but can hold his own. If it didn't work out at LB he might be relegated to situational pass rusher duty, but that seems unlikely to me.

Outlook: He'll probably be off the board toward the end of the top 10, but most people don't have him ranked near as high as I do and he could go to a mid-to-late 1st team that runs a 3-4 (Pats @ 23?). Right now Green Bay @ #9 or San Francisco @ #10 seem like the most logical destinations.

NFL Comparison: LaMarr Woodley/Derrick Burgess

Current Grade: 9.49

4. Brian Orakpo, LB/DE/Texas

Measurables: 6'3" 263; 4.70; 31 reps
2008 Stats: 42 tackles; 19 TFL; 11.5 sacks; 4 FF

Pros: He's a physical freak of nature, and a productive pass rusher. He has Merriman-like potential as a 3-4 LB but could also be kept at DE with his strength and frame. He can dominate the point of attack and has a very powerful upper body, good closing and straight line speed. Turned heads at the combine and improved his stock greatly.

Cons: He isn't especially quick or fluid in open space, and a transition to LB could take some time that many aren't willing to give to top 10 picks. A little inconsistent over his career and can disappear at times. He reminds me of Vernon Gholston, the Jets #6 pick last year that had a very disappointing rookie season.

Outlook: He's likely to go #5 to Cleveland, but if he slips by them he shouldn't get past Green Bay @ #9. Most have him ranked higher than Everette Brown, he will probably be the 2nd defensive player off the board after an extremely strong showing at the combine.

NFL Comparison: Shawne Merriman/Vernon Gholston

Current Grade: 9.39

5. Jason Smith, OT/Baylor
Measurables: 6'5" 309; 5.22; 33 reps; 33.6" arms

Pros: Most agree he has the most potential of all the OT's in this draft, highly athletic guy with excellent feet and solid strength. Has all the tools to be a franchise LT, possesses a mean streak and finishes plays. He really passed up the other prospects at the combine.

Cons: He's not a physically dominating guy in the run game, and needs to work on using proper technique and leverage. He probably isn't the most NFL ready of the top 4 OT's and may need to sit a year or spend one at RT.

Outlook: He has a real shot of going #1 to the Lions if they pass on Stafford, if not the Rams @#2 look to be interested in an OT, as do the the Seahawks @#4, Bengals @#6, Raiders @#7, and Jaguars @#8. It is between Smith and Eugene Monroe to be the top OT taken, and both are all but locks in the Top 10.

NFL Comparison: Chris Samuels/Marvel Smith

Current Grade: 9.32

6. B.J. Raji, DT/Boston College
Measurables: 6'2" 337; 5.12; 33 reps
2008 Stats: 42 tackles; 14 TFL; 7.5 sacks

Pros: He's versatile, has the size/strength to clog up running lanes as a NT and the quickness to penetrate the backfield as a 4-3 DT. Probably helped himself more than anyone at the Senior Bowl and followed that up with a strong combine performance.

Cons: He might have to watch his weight once he's in the league, and he lacks the prototypical height and length of a DT. Won't really bat down many passes and may struggle against bigger linemen with longer arms. I'm not concerned about the rumor of the failed drug test for marijuana, even if it was true.

Outlook: The highest he'll go would probably be to the Browns @ #5 or Bengals @#6, the Jaguars may be interested @#8 and I doubt he would make it past the Broncos @#12.

NFL Comparison: Shaun Rogers/Ryan Pickett

Current Grade: 9.25

7. Darrius Heyward-Bey*, WR/Maryland
Measurables: 6'2" 210; 4.30; 16 reps
2008 Stats: 42 rec; 609 yards; 5 TD

Pros: He has prototypical size, unbelievable straight line & deep speed, long arms and soft hands. His potential is undeniable, and he has a good chance of becoming a top flight, Pro Bowl deep threat.

Cons: He wasn't as productive as his talent would suggest, but that has more to do with the Terps QB's than it does with him. Not real physical over the middle or blocking and needs to sharpen his routes.

Outlook: He helped himself with an amazing combine and could go as high as #8 to the Jaguars, the Jets may be interested @#17 and he shouldn't make it past the Ravens @#26. He may take a couple years of refinement but his potential is through the roof.

NFL Comparison: Andre Johnson/Troy Williamson

Current Grade: 9.19

8. Rey Maualuga, ILB/USC
Measurables: 6'2" 249; 4.81; 23 reps
2008 Stats: 79 tackles; 2.5 TFL; 2 INT

Pros: He is a devastating hitter and violently explodes through the ballcarrier. Would come in and help a team's run defense significantly on day 1. Great size and overall strength, plays with amazing intensity on every down.

Cons: He will never be a great guy in coverage, and may just be a 2-down MLB because he cannot stay with fast running backs. Lacks speed and isn't a great overall athlete.

Outlook: He should go to a team looking to boost their run D immediately. Cincinnati and Oakland at #6 and #7 would probably be a stretch but he would fill a need in either town, right now Denver @#12 looks like the best fit but he could slip after struggling at the combine.

NFL Comparison: E.J. Henderson/Earl Holmes

Current Grade: 9.11

9. Michael Oher, OT/Ole Miss
Measurables: 6'5" 309; 5.34; 21 reps; 33.4" arms

Pros: He's a big guy that bends well and can absolutely dominate at times. Although you may hear differently, I believe he had a very impressive Senior Bowl week and played with aggressiveness. Solid athlete on the field, can slide well and moves with fluidity at the second level.

Cons: I think the combine really hurt him, as his bench was average at best, 40 was below average, and his arms measured shorter than the other top tackles. Some have questioned his intelligence and learning curve, and he can be a little inconsistent during games. He did not play up to his talent consistently during his senior season.

Outlook: In my eyes he was a lock for the top 10 before the combine, but now it's not so certain. One thing going for him is the amount of teams in the top half of the 1st looking for a quality young LT. He might need to take some time at OG (he played there his freshman year) and develop into a starter at Left Tackle someday. As far as teams go, the Bengals and Raiders might be too high but I don't think he'll get past the Eagles @#21.

NFL Comparison: Vernon Carey/Levi Brown

Current Grade: 9.09

10. Eugene Monroe, OT/Virginia
Measurables: 6'5" 309; 5.18; 23 reps; 33.7" arms

Pros: He's a big, long LT prospect with the frame to add more weight. He's a good athlete and can block at the second level easily. One of the most NFL ready tackles in the draft, specializes in pass protection and slides very well.

Cons: He can be inconsistent at times, doesn't always show great aggressiveness and won't finish every play. His combine workout wasn't what some expected, he could improve his overall strength & run blocking.

Outlook: There is still a chance he could go to the Lions at #1, the Rams and Seahawks might be interested as well. I doubt he gets past the Jaguars @#8, most have him ranked as the 2nd best OT prospect behind Baylor's Jason Smith. Depending on which team he goes to, he could be a day 1 starter at LT.

NFL Comparison: Ryan Harris/Jammal Brown

Current Grade: 9.05

11. Jeremy Maclin*, WR/Missouri
Measurables: 6'0" 198; 4.46
2008 Stats: 102 rec; 1,260 yards; 13 TD

Pros: He's a playmaker and his acceleration is second to none. Very productive in college, both as a returner and #1 receiver. Runs with excellent vision in the open field and makes efficient cuts, has game-changing potential.

Cons: He played in a spread offense, so it will be interesting to see how his routes translate to the NFL. Not a real big guy, didn't run as well as many thought he would at the combine. Will probably have trouble going over the middle at the next level.
Outlook: The Jaguars should take a look at him @#8, he could go to the Jets @#17 and may even slip to the Ravens @#26 but a guy with his talent shouldn't slip out of the first round. I think he could contribute right away on special teams but may take a year or two before he becomes a player in the passing game.

NFL Comparison: Roddy White/Ted Ginn Jr

Current Grade: 9.03

12. Mark Sanchez*, QB/USC
Measurables: 6'3" 227; 4.92
2008 Stats: 3,207 yards; 65.8%; 34 TD 10 INT

Pros: He's a solid athlete and can throw very well on the run. His performance in the Rose Bowl against Penn State was unbelievable, really showed he has the arm to make every throw. He definitely has the potential to develop into a good starter if he's developed properly.

Cons: Inexperience is the biggest knock against him, and he doesn't have the same rocket arm that Stafford does. Isn't really a prototype pocket passer in terms of size and he may need to take some time on the bench before he's ready to start.

Outlook: The highest he could go would probably be to the Seahawks at #4, but that appears unlikely. The best fit right now looks like the 49ers @#10, and if he doesn't go there he could slip to the Jets @#17. He will probably need some time to develop and would fit best in a West-Coast scheme but has all the tools to be a productive QB somewhere down the road.

NFL Comparison: Tony Romo/Trent Edwards

Current Grade: 8.92

13. Hakeem Nicks*, WR/North Carolina
Measurables: 6'1" 212; 4.51
2008 Stats: 68 rec; 1,222 yards; 12 TD

Pros: He's a big, strong possession receiver with great hands, overall athleticism and body control. Reminds me a lot of Anquan Boldin, who has been doing very good for himself. Nicks is a playmaker that had an excellent postseason. Has the strength to physically dominate most DB's. Excellent run after the catch, very hard to bring down.

Cons: His separation speed will be tested at the next level, he didn't always appear to be running routes 100% at UNC and took a few plays off per game. Not the quickest guy around, might have some weight fluctuations.

Outlook: He could go to the Vikings, Ravens, or Titans near the end of the 1st, and wherever he goes he has the playmaking ability at WR to make an impact soon.

NFL Comparison: Chris Chambers/Anquan Boldin

Current Rating: 8.90

14. Brian Cushing, OLB/USC

Measurables: 6'3" 243; 4.74; 30 reps
2008 Stats: 73 tackles; 10.5 TFL; 3 sacks

Pros: He's a big, strong, athletic guy that plays with tenacity and toughness. A versatile player that could contribute at multiple positions in different defensive schemes, a reliable tackler and is solid in coverage.

Cons: He's had some injury problems in college and durability would be a concern. Sometimes he takes very aggressive angles to the ballcarrier and ends up missing out on the play altogether.

Outlook: He should definitely be a first round pick, and could improve a defense right away as either a 3-4 ILB or 4-3 OLB. Some teams that might be interested are the Saints @#14, Texans @#15, and I doubt he'll make it past the Falcons @#24.

NFL Comparison: Nick Barnett/Ben Leber

Current Grade: 8.83

15. Knowshon Moreno*, RB/Georgia
Measurables: 5'11" 217; 4.63; 25 reps
2008 Stats: 1,400 yards; 5.6 average; 16 TD

Pros: He's a strong back, and runs with good pad level but his biggest strengths would have to be his lateral mobility and vision. He rarely gets stopped for losses and can find holes in the defense before they're even open. Solid all around player and a hard worker, excellent overall athlete.

Cons: He ran a below average 40 time, but straight line speed was never considered a strength of his. Might not ever be a star and his breakaway speed isn't amazing but he makes plays and should be a good starter in the league.

Outlook: There are rumors about the Bengals falling in love with him but a more realistic scenario would be to the Texans, Chargers, or even Broncos. He might start out on the bench but has the talent to be a playmaker in the league.

NFL Comparison: LaDainian Tomlinson/Marshawn Lynch

Current Rating: 8.81

16. Matthew Stafford*, QB/Georgia

Measurables: 6'2" 225; 4.81
2008 Stats: 3,459 yards; 61.0%; 25 TD 10 INT

17. Michael Johnson, DE/Georgia Tech

Measurables: 6'7" 266; 4.75; 28 reps
2008 Stats: 43 tackles; 15 TFL; 7 sacks; 2 FF

18. Percy Harvin*, WR/Florida

Measurables: 5'11" 192; 4.41; 19 reps
2008 Stats: 40 rec; 644 yards; 7 TD; 660 rushing yards; 10 TD

19. Connor Barwin, DE/LB/Cincinnati

Measurables: 6'4" 256; 4.66; 21 reps
2008 Stats: 53 tackles; 16 TFL; 11 sacks

20. Malcolm Jenkins, DB/Ohio St

Measurables: 6'0" 204; 4.51; 15 reps
2008 Stats: 57 tackles; 9 PD; 3 INT; 3FF

21. Jamon Meredith, OL/South Carolina

Measurables: 6'5" 304; 5.03; 31 reps; 34.4" arms

21. Knowshon Moreno*, RB/Georgia
Measurables: 5'11" 217; 4.63; 25 reps
2008 Stats: 1,400 yards; 5.6 average; 16 TD

22. Beanie Wells*, RB/Ohio St
Measurables: 6'1" 235; 4.59; 25 reps
2008 Stats: 1,197 yards; 5.8 average; 8 TD

23. Peria Jerry, DT/Ole Miss

Measurables: 6'2" 299; 4.98; 28 reps
2008 Stats: 49 tackles; 18 TFL; 7 sacks; 2 FF

24. Aaron Maybin*, LB/DE/Penn St

Measurables: 6'4" 249; 4.78; 22 reps
2008 Stats: 49 tackles; 20 TFL; 12 sacks; 3 FF

25. Andre Smith*, OT/Alabama

Measurables: 6'4" 332; 5.28; 19 reps; 35.3" arms

26. Brandon Pettigrew, TE/Oklahoma St

27. Ron Brace, NT/Boston College

28. Lawrence Sidbury, DE/LB/Richmond

29. Eben Britton*, OT/Arizona

30. Alphonso Smith, CB/Wake Forest

31. Vontae Davis*, CB/Illinois

32. Fili Moala, DT/USC

33. Josh Freeman*, QB/Kansas St

34. Shonn Greene*, RB/Iowa

35. Antoine Caldwell, C/Alabama

36. Louis Delmas, S/Western Michigan

37. D.J. Moore*, CB/Vanderbilt

38. James Casey*, TE/Rice

39. Jarron Gilbert, DE/DT/San Jose St

40. Kenny Britt*, WR/Rutgers

41. Sean Smith*, DB/Utah

42. LeSean McCoy*, RB/Pittsburgh

43. Clay Matthews, OLB/USC

44. Ziggy Hood, DT/Missouri

45. Jared Cook*, TE/South Carolina

46. Shawn Nelson, TE/Southern Miss

47. Patrick Chung, S/Oregon

48. Robert Ayers, DE/Tennessee

49. Rhett Bomar, QB/Oklahoma

50. Brian Robiskie, WR/Ohio St

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Player Interview: Josh Vaughan

Josh Vaughan is a very productive and versatile RB from last year's FCS champions Richmond Spiders. He patiently waited behind current Arizona Cardinal Tim Hightower for 3 years and it paid off in the end. He's a similar type of player, being around the same size and running with the same hard nosed style. He has a very good chance to get picked up on day 2 of the draft.

Career Highlights:
79-yd TD reception vs. Maine (2005)
91 carries; 569 yds; 5 TD (2006)
109 carries; 723 yds; 9 TD (2007)
132 yds and 2 TD vs. William & Mary (2007)
Game-Winning TD in 5-OT game @ Delaware (2007)
354 carries; 1,884 yds; 20 TD (2008)
240 yards; 2 TD @ Hofstra (2008)
133 yards; 3 TD vs. Appalachian St in FCS Quarterfinals (2008)
162 yards; TD vs. Montana in FCS Championship (2008)
1st team All-CAA (2008)

"I’m a big back who has good speed, agility, and versatility"
              -Josh Vaughan

JP: What is your current height/weight, 40 time and 225 bench reps?

JV: 6 feet, 230 and 40 probably 4.6ish range right now. I can get 25 reps.

JP: How are you getting physically prepared for the draft?

JV: Right now I’m just training down in Florida, just getting away from all the distractions back home so I can just be focused on bettering myself for my Pro Day.

JP: Are there any players in the NFL you would compare yourself to, or model your game after?

JV: Not off the top of my head, I liked how Fred Taylor runs, and Frank Gore. They’re pretty versatile and I like their running style.

JP: What do you feel are your strengths as a player?

JV: My ability to break tackles, I’m smart, like I know what’s going on on the field, and versatility I believe, being able to run and catch and block.

JP: What area of your game do you think could use the most improvement?

JV: Pass Pro.

JP: Are you happy you waited it out at Richmond behind Tim Hightower?

JV: I believe so, everything happens for a reason. Tim helped pave the way for a guy like me, the 1-AA guys.

JP: Who is the best defensive player you’ve ever faced?

JV: Clint Sintim, he’s a first or second round pick this year in the draft.

JP: Who are some of your teammates that you think have a shot of playing at the next level?

JV: Lawrence Sidbury, Sherman Logan, hopefully all the guys that graduate this year have a shot. All of us started and contributed to our team’s success a lot, so any of us that left school this year should get a chance.

JP: What is the greatest moment of your athletic career?

JV: Probably us winning the national championship this year.

JP: What’s your favorite NFL team?

JV: The Redskins.

JP: What do you like to do in your free time?

JV: Just basically relax, I’m kind of a video game guy, so you know, play video games, and just sleep really.

JP: Why should a team take you on April 25th/26th?

JV: Because I’m a big back who has good speed, agility, and versatility. You have a person who’s going to work hard and do anything to get on the field and contribute.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Combine Review

Possible 3-4 OLB's: Brian Orakpo and Everette Brown cemented themselves in the top half of the first round, Connor Barwin may have pushed himself into the first, Clay Matthews ran very well, and although Aaron Maybin ran an average 40 time, he put up some solid numbers in other drills.

Lydon Murtha, OT/Nebraska: He was on top of the Offensive Linemen group in virtually every category in Indy, running the best official 40 time by .14 seconds and moving like a TE in drills. After his performance in the East/West Shrine Game, this could boost his stock into that first 3 round conversation.

Sherrod Martin, CB/Troy: In a very disappointing day for CB's overall, Sherrod Martin definitely impressed me the most in ball drills, was very fluid flipping his hips and ran some of the best times in quickness drills. If he checked out physically (he's had a ton of injury problems), he could be a steal for someone. 

Jared Cook, TE/South Carolina: He had freakish numbers, from his 40 time (4.5) to his vertical (41") and arm length (35 3/4"). Cook could be the 2nd tight end taken after his performance here.

Non-FBS Prospects: D-III Jason Boltus set a QB record with 26 reps of 225 lbs, Lardarius Webb and Johnny Knox ran some great 40 times, and Javarris Williams showed up in great shape and posted some of the best RB numbers across the board. Some other small school guys that boosted their stock were OT Joel Bell, DT Chris Baker, and DE/LB Lawrence Sidbury.

I don't like to focus on the negatives, so I'll just name two groups of players that disappointed overall:

Linebacker/Safety "tweeners": Kevin Ellison, Kevin Akins, and Nic Harris all ran around 4.8. I do believe Harris will be a solid LB in the NFL and Ellison could maybe make it on special teams, but they didn't do anything to help themselves this week.

Cornerbacks: The 40 times were terrible overall, with only 2 players (Lardarius Webb and Vontae Davis) breaking 4.50 and none getting into the 4.3's. The excuse of slow turf won't work either, as safeties ran relatively well and WR's ran excellent times (4 in the 4.3's and many more in the 4.4's). The whole group performed pretty poorly in ball drills and Malcolm Jenkins, thought to be the consensus #1 CB, may have ran himself into being a FS with a time in the mid-4.5's.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Player Interview: Ben Owens

Ben Owens is a productive, athletic, and versatile linebacker from Arkansas State. He was a highly sought after recruit coming out of high school as a threat on both sides of the ball (he also played RB). He could be a high riser as draft day gets closer, and expects to really impress on his pro day on March 31st.

Ben Owens' Career Highlights:
6th-best recruit in Arkansas by SuperPrep ('05)
Special Teams Standout ('05)
34 tackles; 2 sacks; 1 interception as reserve MLB ('06)
1st Career interception vs. Auburn ('06)
96 tackles; 3 TFL ('07)
Honorable Mention All-Sun Belt Conference ('07)
Named to Nagurski & Butkus Award Watch Lists ('08)
Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week ('08)
-vs. Texas A&M, 7 tackles; 1 sack; 1 int; 1 fr
87 tackles; 5 TFL; 2 sacks; 2 interceptions ('08)
2nd Team All-Sun Belt Conference ('08)

"I have tremendous upside and a great attitude"
-Ben Owens

JP: What is your current height/weight, and 40 time?

Owens: 6'2" 240, 4.5.

JP: How are you getting physically prepared for the draft?

Owens: I'm training at the All Star Sports facility in Deland, Florida. There were many players here from different parts of the south and the east coast. Some of the schools were: Miami, Florida State, Florida, UCF, UAB, Georgia, Colorado, Lehigh, Boston College, UMass, Hampton, LSU, Iowa State, Concordia, Iona, Delaware State. I'm working on my strength, my acceleration and speed, and my hip flexion. Those are some of the areas I have focused on.

JP: Who is the best RB you've ever played against?

Owens: When we played Texas in 2007, Jamaal Charles.

JP: Are there any players in the NFL you model your game after, or would compare yourself to?

Owens: Patrick Willis, his game is built around his speed and athleticism. He uses those attributes to get him to the ball quicker.

JP: What do you feel are your strengths as a player?

Owens: My intelligence, my speed and athletic ability, my versatility, my willingness to learn, and my attitude.

JP: What are some areas you think you could improve in your game?

Owens: Being more physical ALL the time, playing more consistent.

JP: What kind of experience do you have on special teams, and how do you think you could help a team in that role?

Owens: I have 4 years of experience on special teams. I started on them ever since I was a true freshman. The last two seasons I started on Punt and Kickoff. I love to play them.

JP: What is the greatest moment of your athletic career?

Owens: Winning the conference title. Coming back in the second half from 22 point deficit to beat Memphis, our rival.

JP: Why should a team take you on April 25th/26th?

Owens: Because I'm a hard worker. I take care of my business on and off the field. I feel I have tremendous upside and a great attitude. Also, I learn quickly and I love getting better.

JP: Thanks for your time

Player Interview: Antonio Appleby

Antonio Appleby is a big inside linebacker that has a nose for the ball. Part of the reason he's so appealing to NFL teams right now is the growing popularity of the 3-4 defense. He was a starting ILB for 3 years at Virginia. With him, you get a big, run stuffing ILB who also has enough speed to possibly play on the outside. I listed him as a 4-star performer in this year's Texas vs. the Nation Game and he had a key fumble recovery playing MLB in a 4-3. I expect him to be taken on the 2nd day of the draft. Talking to him you really get the feeling he's an intelligent guy who will do everything he can to reach his great potential.

"I’m a player but I know I stand for more than that"
-Antonio Appleby

Some of his career highlights:
6th-Best recruit in VA by SuperPrep & Scout ('05)
2 starts, led true freshmen in tackles ('05)
10 tackles in Music City Bowl ('05)
Started all 12 games at ILB ('06)
Second on team with 68 tackles ('06)
Started all 13 games at ILB ('07)
60 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 sacks ('07)
Started 11/12 games at ILB ('08)
Career high 72 tackles, 7.5 TFL ('08)

JP: What is your current height/weight?

AA: I’m 6’3” and 245. I should bench in the 20’s.

JP: How are you getting physically prepared for the draft?

AA: Right now I’m training in Orlando with Tom Shaw at the Wide World of Sports, just doing speed and conditioning drills.

JP: Are there any players in the NFL you would compare yourself to, or model your game after?

AA: I don’t really model my game after anyone. The person I would relate most to would be James Farrior of the Steelers. We play the same position and in the same defense. I see a lot of my game correlating to how he plays.

JP: What do you feel are your strengths as a player?

AA: Running the defense, communicating, and getting everybody on the same page. Stopping the run, doing what needs to be done as a Middle Linebacker.

JP: What area of your game do you think could use the most improvement?

AA: I’m working on just making more plays in the passing game, working on my drops, man to man coverage, anything correlating to the passing game.

JP: Would you feel comfortable as an MLB in a 4-3 defense, or would you rather stay as an ILB in a 3-4?

AA: With me I really feel comfortable in either defense. I got a little bit of experience with that at the Texas vs. Nation game in El Paso in January. I’m basically versed in the 3-4 but I feel like I could probably play MLB or WLB in a 4-3, football is football.

JP: Who is the best RB you’ve ever gone against?

AA: I get asked that question a lot, and it’s kind of hard for me to say because I’ve faced so many great running backs. If I had to pick an overall best player I’ve played against it would be Calvin Johnson. He was super gifted, made incredible plays and he was a gamer.

JP: Who are some of your teammates that you think have a shot of playing at the next level?

AA: This year we have a long list of guys. Eugene Monroe, Clint Sintim, Kevin Ogletree, John Phillips, Cedric Peerman. Athletically Chris Cook, hopefully Jameel Sewell will get a chance, Will Barker. There’s a long list and we have a pretty good amount of players.

JP: What is the greatest moment of your athletic career?

AA: My freshman year we played Florida St. We beat them and they were ranked 3 or 4 in the nation. It was a great experience I’ll never forget. The power went out for a little while; it was just a freak game.

JP: What’s your favorite NFL team?

AA: I don’t really have a favorite NFL team; I just like watching great defenses. The Ravens, the Steelers, Titans, just watching great defenses take over a quarter of a game and just dominate. I’m really more of a fan of great defenses that just dominate.

JP: What do you like to do in your free time?

AA: We as football players work so hard in my free time, I just kick back and relax, watch TV, do a little reading, video games, anything to get my mind off the grind.

JP: Why should a team take you on April 25th/26th?

AA: I feel as though I bring a certain level of professionalism to any organization that picks me up. I’m a player but I know I stand for more than that. I represent my family, the organization, the city, and myself. They know they have a man that takes his job seriously, and a person who is not looked upon as just a football player, I’m looked at as a role model and a leader in the community. It’s more than just football.

JP: Thanks for your time.

AA: Thank you

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pre-Combine Rankings: DB's

1. Malcolm Jenkins (S), Ohio St
2. D.J. Moore*, Vanderbilt
3. Vontae Davis*, Illinois
4. Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest
5. Sean Smith* (S), Utah
6. Macho Harris (S), Virginia Tech
7. Jairus Byrd*, Oregon
8. Keenan Lewis, Oregon St
9. Darius Butler, Connecticut
10. Cary Harris, USC

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Mike Mickens, Cincinnati
Asher Allen*, Georgia
Coye Francies, San Jose St
Bradley Fletcher, Iowa
Sherrod Martin (S), Troy
Captain Munnerlyn*, South Carolina
Kevin Barnes, Maryland
Domonique Johnson, Jackson St (FCS)
Ryan Mouton, Hawaii
Jerraud Powers*, Auburn
Chris Owens, San Jose St
Lardarius Webb, Nicholls St (FCS)
Mark Parson, Ohio
Lydell Sargeant, Penn St
Jahi Word-Daniels, Georgia Tech
Morgan Trent, Michigan
D.J. Clark, Idaho St (FCS)
Jamar Love, Arkansas
Joe Burnett, UCF
Ellis Lankster, West Virginia
Don Carey, Norfolk St (FCS)
Londen Fryar, Western Michigan
William Middleton, Furman (FCS)
Donald Washington*, Ohio St
DeAngelo Smith (S), Cincinnati
Wopamo Osaisai, Stanford
DeAngelo Willingham, Tennessee
Tony Carter, Florida St
Brandon Hughes, Oregon St
Jason McCourty, Rutgers
Bruce Johnson, Miami
Gregory Toler, St. Paul's (DII)
Dwain Crawford, Baylor
Jacob Lacey, Oklahoma St
Glover Quin, New Mexico
Armando Murillo, Nebraska
Danny Gorrer, Texas A&M
Jackie Bates, Hampton (FCS)
Allen Langford, Wisconsin
DeAndre Wright, New Mexico
Jeremy Gray, N.C. St 
Marquis Hundley, Arizona
Jameel Dowling, Hawaii
K.J. Gerard (S), Northern Arizona
Michael Ray Garvin (RS), Florida St

Strong Safeties
1. Patrick Chung, Oregon
2. Michael Hamlin, Clemson
3. Otis Wiley, Michigan St
4. Chip Vaughn, Wake Forest
5. Keith Fitzhugh, Mississippi St
6. Kevin Ellison (LB), USC
7. Emanuel Cook*, South Carolina
8. Trimane Goddard, North Carolina
9. Dahna Deleston (LB), Connecticut
10. Stephen Hodge (LB), TCU

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Reshard Langford, Vanderbilt
Jamarca Sanford, Ole Miss
Colt Anderson, Montana (FCS)
Al Afalava, Oregon St
Brandon Gathof, Eastern Kentucky (FCS)
Paul Anderson, Boston College
Anthony Reddick, Miami
Michael Mitchell, Ohio
Anthony Scirrotto, Penn St
De'Von Hall (LB), Utah St
Sha'reff Rashad, UCF
C.J. Byrd, Georgia

Free Safeties
1. Louis Delmas, Western Michigan
2. Derek Pegues (CB), Mississippi St
3. William Moore (LB), Missouri
4. Darcel McBath, Texas Tech
5. Lendy Holmes, Oklahoma
6. Curtis Taylor, LSU
7. Rashad Johnson, Alabama
8. Dre'Mail Hardin, Stillman (DII)
9. David Bruton, Notre Dame
10. Courtney Greene, Rutgers

Best of the Rest (Loosely Ranked)
Brandon Underwood (CB), Cincinnati
Steven Coleman, TCU
C.J. Spillman, Marshall
Kevin Patterson, Wake Forest
Troy Nolan, Arizona St
Marcus Haywood, James Madison (FCS)
Chris Clemons, Clemson
Tyrrell Hebert, Toledo
Marcus McClinton, Kentucky
Devin Gregg, Texas A&M
Adekunle Akingba, Buffalo
Javorris Jackson, Savannah St (DII)
Ryan Walters, Colorado
Daniel Charbonnet, Texas Tech
Tom Nelson, Illinois St (FCS)
Kenneth Fontenette, Houston
Corey Boudreaux (LB), San Diego St