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View Full Version : RavenOfProphecy's Final Positional Rankings!


Matthew Jones
04-08-2008, 02:42 PM
Well, here they are, my final draft rankings! Let me know what you think!

I also will be adding in a big board very soon so be sure to check back for that! I might make a few minor tweaks up until the draft just to make sure they're how I want them for draft day, especially after Malcolm Kelly and Reggie Smith work out.

The rounds in parenthesis next to the players are where I would feel comfortable taking them on average (obviously, system/needs skewer them a bit), not where I think they will actually be chosen, and the same goes with the actual order of the prospects.

One thing I really put a premium on in my revisions was the round projections I gave players. I had to adjust things just a little bit in order to get the number of draftable prospects as close to 252 as possible and get the actual number of draftable prospects per round as close to the actual number of picks in that round.

For example, there are 31 picks in the first round this year, so I have 31 players graded as first round picks, 32 in the second, 35 in the third, and 36 in the fourth. For the seventh round, I just ranked players as seventh round or undrafted, and I might revisit that and change my rankings a bit there, but it just depends on whether or not it's that big of a deal to you guys.

Feel free to ask me to clarify if you have any questions on why someone is ranked ahead of someone else or if you want more information on a prospect!

RavenOfProphecy's 2008 NFL Draft Positional Rankings (April 2008)

Quarterback:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/qb/mattryan.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/qb/chadhenne.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/qb/brianbrohm.jpg

1. Matt Ryan, Boston College (1)
2. Chad Henne, Michigan (2)
3. Brian Brohm, Louisville
4. Joe Flacco, Delaware
5. Andre' Woodson, Kentucky (3)
6. Josh Johnson, San Diego
7. John David Booty, Southern Cal (4)
8. Colt Brennan, Hawaii (5)
9. Dennis Dixon, Oregon
10. Kevin O'Connell, San Diego St. (6)
11. Alex Brink, Washington St. (7/UDFA)
12. Matt Flynn, Louisiana St.
13. Erik Ainge, Tennessee
14. Kyle Wright, Miami (FL)
15. Paul Smith, Tulsa
16. Nick Hill, Southern Illinois
17. Ricky Santos, New Hampshire
18. Bernard Morris, Marshall
19. T.C. Ostrander, Stanford
20. Tyler Donovan, Wisconsin

Position Analysis:

Most people would agree that Matt Ryan's the top quarterback in the draft and a top-ten talent. He reminds me a bit of former Eagle Matt Hasselbeck. He's got everything you look for...I like Chad Henne a little more than Brian Brohm. His arm strength translates into being a better fit for more offenses and he's got that toughness and leadership I don't see from Brohm all the time. Flacco/Woodson/Johnson are closer than people think, at least to me. Flacco's got size and arm strength, but he seems to lack awareness and confidence sometimes. Woodson elevated his team, but he's been dropping like a rock this offseason. Johnson had just ridiculous numbers last year and is a much better quarterback than people give him credit for being in terms of mechanics and such. John David Booty could be the next Matt Schaub, someone who plays sparingly as a backup and then fetches some serious value. Colt Brennan's injury doesn't affect him as much as some people think; he was going to take a long time to get ready anyways. His delivery is weird, but it's quick and he's accurate. Dixon made some big strides this year, and I think Kevin O'Connell has some pretty interesting physical skills to work with. Brink goes ahead of Ainge because of toughness, both physical and mental. He's been a bit more consistent as well. Don't sleep on Matt Flynn, though, he made the most of his chances this year. Wright and Smith are draftable. Wright could be a surprise because I think he has a lot of flaws, but most of them are fixable. The rest of the guys are kind of interesting, but I wouldn't draft them.

Running Back:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/rb/darrenmcfadden.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/rb/jonathanstewart.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/rb/rashardmendenhall.jpg

1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas (1)
2. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon
3. Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois
4. Felix Jones, Arkansas
5. Ray Rice, Rutgers (2)
6. Chris Johnson, East Carolina
7. Matt Forte, Tulane
8. Jamaal Charles, Texas
9. Kevin Smith, Central Florida (3)
10. Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech
11. Thomas Brown, Georgia (4)
12. Mike Hart, Michigan
13. Steve Slaton, West Virginia (5)
14. Chad Simpson, Morgan St.
15. Justin Forsett, California
16. Chauncey Washington, Southern Cal
17. Cory Boyd, South Carolina (6)
18. Allen Patrick, Oklahoma
19. Jalen Parmele, Toledo
20. Dantrell Savage, Oklahoma St.
21. Xavier Omon, NW Missouri St.
22. Calvin Dawson, Louisiana-Monroe (7/UDFA)
23. Tim Hightower, Richmond
24. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Mississippi
25. Marcus Thomas, U.T.E.P.
26. Ryan Torian, Arizona St.
27. Yvenson Bernard, Oregon St.
28. Tony Temple, Missouri
29. Rodney Kinlaw, Penn St.
30. Rafael Little, Kentucky

Position Analysis:

McFadden gets the nod here because he's the most versatile big play threat in the draft offensively. Stewart is a little better than Mendenhall, in my opinion. The toe thing doesn't bug me; you don't draft players for one season. It's close, though. Jones can contribute in a ton of ways, so that's why he's a little better than Rice. Johnson has amazing speed and could even be a pretty good receiver, but he's probably not an every-down back ever. Forte could be that, but probably won't break open a game like Johnson or Charles can. Smith and Choice are both pretty nice bruisers and I think both can develop into starters or good complimentary backs. The RB depth is pretty good, with 10 potential starters as I see it. The rest of the guys in the draft are a bunch of #2 and 3 running backs, in my opinion. For the most part, it just depends on what you want. There's some intriguing late-round power back this year, like Xavier Omon and Chauncey Washington. My sleeper might be Rodney Kinlaw. I doubt he gets a chance in the NFL, but he deserves one. He does everything well.

Fullback:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/fb/jacobhester.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/fb/peytonhillis.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/fb/owenschmitt.jpg

1. Jacob Hester, Louisiana St. (4)
2. Peyton Hillis, Arkansas (6)
3. Owen Schmitt, West Virginia
4. Lex Hilliard, Montana (7/UDFA)
5. Jehuu Caulcrick, Michigan St.
6. Carl Stewart, Auburn
7. Jerome Felton, Furman
8. Mike Cox, Georgia Tech
9. Kregg Lumpkin, Georgia
10. Rolly Lumbala, Idaho

Wide Receiver:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/wr/limassweed.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/wr/devinthomas.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/wr/earlydoucet.jpg

1. Limas Sweed, Texas (1)
2. Devin Thomas, Michigan St.
3. DeSean Jackson, California
4. Early Doucet, Louisiana St. (2)
5. Jordy Nelson, Kansas St.
6. James Hardy, Indiana
7. Andre Caldwell, Florida
8. Donnie Avery, Houston
9. Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt
10. Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma (3)
11. Mario Manningham, Michigan
12. Jerome Simpson, Coastal Carolina
13. Lavelle Hawkins, California
14. Anthony Aldridge, Houston (4)
15. Eddie Royal, Virginia Tech
16. Adarius Bowman, Oklahoma St.
17. Dexter Jackson, Appalachian St.
18. Marcus Smith, New Mexico
19. Will Franklin, Missouri (5)
20. Keenan Burton, Kentucky
21. Harry Douglas, Louisville
22. Paul Hubbard, Wisconsin (6)
23. Darius Reynaud, West Virginia
24. D.J. Hall, Alabama
25. Danny Amendola, Texas Tech
26. Dorien Bryant, Purdue
27. Steve Johnson, Kentucky (7/UDFA)
28. Pierre Garcon, Mount Union
29. Travis Brown, New Mexico
30. Josh Morgan, Virginia Tech
31. Todd Blythe, Iowa St.
32. Adrian Arrington, Michigan
33. Jabari Arthur, Akron
34. Ed Williams, Lane
35. Ryan Grice-Mullen, Hawaii
36. Marcus Henry, Kansas
37. Kevin Robinson, Utah St.
38. Davone Bess, Hawaii
39. Marcus Monk, Arkansas
40. Jason Rivers, Hawaii
41. Kenneth Moore, Wake Forest
42. Arman Shields, Richmond
43. Lance Leggett, Miami (FL)
44. Jaymar Johnson, Jackson St.
45. Darnell Jenkins, Miami (FL)
46. Mario Urrutia, Louisville
47. Lorne Sam, U.T.E.P.
48. Evan Moore, Stanford
49. Shaheer McBride, Delaware St.
50. John Dunlap, North Carolina St.

Position Analysis:

Wasn't particularly impressed with the wide receivers this year. Some decent #1 options that would be pretty good #2s, but no elite, top-10/15 wideout this year. Limas Sweed is probably the closest, because he's got the size and playmaking ability. He's a hard worker too, which is refreshing. Devin Thomas has obvious tools but also a pretty high bust rate. He reminds me of Troy Williamson coming out. Doucet is really polished and didn't produce much but has all the tools you look for. Jackson and Kelly have their fair share of questions as well. For Jackson, it's just overall polish, and for Kelly, obviously the knees have to check out, and if they did, I'd probably move him up a bit. Hardy and Manningham is just personal preference, size vs. speed. Hardy can do a bit more though, in my opinion. Caldwell is dangerous with the ball, and I really love Nelson's polish and character. Bennett, Simpson, Hawkins, Avery round out the people I wouldn't be surprised at all to see as starters. The rest are kind of iffy. Bennett is another really polished possession guy. Simpson and Avery have excellent tools. Hawkins did a really nice job at the Senior Bowl. Keep an eye out for Arman Shields as a really deep sleeper. He has ridiculous acceleration and change of direction ability.

Tight End:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/te/dustinkeller.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/te/johncarlson.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/te/freddavis.jpg

1. Dustin Keller, Purdue (2)
2. John Carlson, Notre Dame (3)
3. Fred Davis, Southern Cal
4. Jermichael Finley, Texas
5. Martellus Bennett, Texas A&M
6. Craig Stevens, California (4)
7. Martin Rucker, Missouri
8. Jacob Tamme, Kentucky
9. Brad Cottam, Tennessee
10. Kellen Davis, Michigan St. (5)
11. Gary Barnridge, Louisville
12. Tom Santi, Virginia
13. Joe Jon Finley, Oklahoma (6)
14. Derek Fine, Kansas
15. Joey Haynos, Maryland
16. Marcus Stone, North Carolina St. (7/UDFA)
17. Andrew Atchison, William & Mary
18. Adam Bishop, Nevada
19. Jonathan Stupar, Virginia
20. Cole Bennett, Auburn

Position Analysis:

Keller established himself as the consensus #1 guy at the combine by running well and catching the ball well. He's the most dangerous one in the open field. The NFL is about creating mismatches nowadays and he's by far the best at doing that his with his separation speed. His rise is similar to that of Greg Olsen last year. Carlson has some great fundamentals and should be a starter for a long time. Davis has some really good hands and he's another extremely well-rounded guy. Finley and Bennett are both upside guys, Finley more as a weapon and Bennett as a well-rounded, blocking/size guy. The fourth round guys are a bunch of guys whose games need to become more well-rounded. Martin Rucker isn't a good blocker, Brad Cottam didn't catch much in college and doesn't block to his size, for example. I really like Tom Santi, he's like a poor-man's Heath Miller. He could be a really solid #2 tight end for someone someday. Derek Fine's another good sleeper at tight end.

Offensive Tackle:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/ot/jakelong.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/ot/chriswilliams.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/ot/ryanclady.jpg

1. Jake Long, Michigan (1)
2. Chris Williams, Vanderbilt
3. Ryan Clady, Boise St.
4. Jeff Otah, Pittsburgh
5. Gosder Cherilus, Boston College
6. Sam Baker, Southern Cal (2)
7. Duane Brown, Virginia Tech
8. Anthony Collins, Kansas (3)
9. Carl Nicks, Nebraska
10. Tony Hills, Texas (4)
11. John Greco, Toledo
12. King Dunlap, Auburn (5)
13. Geoff Schwartz, Oregon
14. Barry Richardson, Clemson (6)
15. Brandon Keith, Northern Iowa
16. Mike Gibson, California (7/UDFA)
17. Tyler Polumbus, Colorado
18. Breno Giacomini, Louisville
19. Shawn McMackin, Hofstra
20. Will Robinson, San Diego St.

Position Analysis:

I was disappointed with the lack of depth at tackle this year, really. Jake Long's a total stud, and I think he'll be an All-Pro for ten years. Reminds me of Joe Thomas from last year. Chris Williams just edges out Ryan Clady based on intelligence, footwork, and the level of competition he faced playing in the SEC. Otah is a very intriguing guy but I don't think he's there yet developmentally and to take him in the top ten is a bit of a reach (just as it is with Williams, Clady, but to a greater extent with Otah.) Baker and Cherilus are two intriguing guys, one a left tackle who gave up one career sack in college, and the other someone who might be able to play both but is a really nice fit at right tackle, clearing running lanes in a man blocking scheme. Carl Nicks has a ton of potential but just needs to be more mature and work on technique stuff. Collins and Brown are both pretty inconsistent and have some questions but can potentially play left tackle, which is why they're so high up there. Hills and Greco probably signify the end of the guys who have a good chance to start in the league. Dunlap and Schwartz are intriguing. The latter reminds me of Ryan O'Callaghan coming out and gets a similar grade.

Offensive Guard:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/og/brandenalbert.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/og/chilorachal.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/ot/onielcousins.jpg

1. Branden Albert, Virginia (1)
2. Chilo Rachal, Southern Cal (2)
3. Oniel Cousins, U.T.E.P. (3)
4. Roy Schuening, Oregon St.
5. Drew Radovich, Southern Cal (4)
6. Jeremy Zuttah, Rutgers
7. Robert Felton, Arkansas
8. Mike McGlynn, Pittsburgh
9. Kirk Barton, Ohio St. (5)
10. Eric Young, Tennessee
11. Mackenzy Bernadeau, Bentley
12. Donald Thomas, Connecticut
13. Pedro Sosa, Rutgers (6)
14. Kerry Brown, Appalachian St.
15. Chad Rinehart, Northern Iowa
16. Shawn Murphy, Utah St. (7/UDFA)
17. Franklin Dunbar, Middle Tennessee
18. Fernando Velasco, Georgia
19. Andrew Crummey, Maryland
20. John Booker, San Jose St.

Position Analysis:

There are some guards I really like in this class. Branden Albert is going to be a total stud if you ask me, whether that's at left guard or left tackle. I actually think left tackle might be a better fit but it's a bit of a projection. It's just that his footwork is so good and he's such an excellent pass blocker. Rachal/Cousins are both really nice players as well, albeit in different ways. Rachal is a better guard but Cousins has some potential to play left tackle, which gives him a nice edge over the third round prospects. Schuening and Radovich could both be really solid starters, though. I would be more surprised if they never cracked a starting lineup than if they did. Other than that, after Zuttah you get a bunch of mauler-types or athletic-types, but there aren't really that many nice combinations of both for the rest of the draft. Teams are just going to have to pick and choose based on what they want their guards to do in the NFL.

Center:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/c/mikepollak.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/c/stevejustice.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/c/johnsullivan.jpg

1. Mike Pollak, Arizona St. (3)
2. Steve Justice, Wake Forest (5)
3. John Sullivan, Notre Dame
4. Kory Lichtensteiger, Bowling Green (6)
5. Cody Wallace, Texas A&M (7/UDFA)
6. Jamey Richard, Buffalo
7. Kevin Tuminello, Georgia Tech
8. Matt Spanos, Southern Cal
9. Eric Tunney, Central Michigan
10. Drew Miller, Florida

Position Analysis:

Not too much to say here. Mike Pollak is clearly the top talent at center this year, and that was cemented with a fantastic combine workout this offseason. Justice is probably the most balanced after him. Sullivan's a smart, powerful guy, but he has some deficiencies athletically. Kory L. has to recover from injury but can develop into a nice player as well. I really like Wallace and Richard just in terms of their demeanors, intelligence, and work ethic. After that, there's a pretty big drop off. There are still a few solid backups to find later on though, especially some guys like Spanos that can bring a lot of versatility to an offensive line.

Defensive End:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/de/chrislong.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/de/vernongholston.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/de/derrickharvey.jpg

1. Chris Long, Virginia (1)
2. Vernon Gholston, Ohio St.
3. Derrick Harvey, Florida
4. Phillip Merling, Clemson
5. Lawrence Jackson, Southern Cal (2)
6. Calais Campbell, Miami (FL)
7. Jason Jones, Eastern Michigan (3)
8. Kendall Langford, Hampton
9. Jeremy Thompson, Wake Forest
10. Kenny Iwebema, Iowa (4)
11. Chris Ellis, Virginia Tech
12. Brian Johnston, Gardner-Webb (5)
13. Chris Harrington, Texas A&M (6)
14. Wallace Gilberry, Alabama
15. Louis Holmes, Arizona
16. Bryan Mattison, Iowa
17. Chase Ortiz, Texas Christian (7/UDFA)
18. Tommy Blake, Texas Christian
19. Rudolph Hardy, Howard
20. Trevor Scott, Buffalo

Position Analysis:

Chris Long and Vernon Gholston are obviously the cream of the crop here; both are clear-cut top-10 talents and it wouldn’t be too surprising if either went #1 overall. I tend to lean to Chris because of his non-stop motor and ability to defend the run a bit better than Gholston. Harvey and Merling are both first-round talents as well; Harvey’s got a knack for rushing the passer and Merling is stout against the run, so teams will be able to have their choice of skill sets. Jackson is another good run defender, as is Campbell, but their lack of superior pass-rush skills and impressive workouts puts them in the second. Jones and Thompson are solid DE/OLB hybrids, and Langford is excellent against the run. There is surprising value to be found in the sixth round this year; Harrington has a top-notch motor, Gilberry was very productive in the SEC, and Holmes was regarded as a top recruit a few years ago. Tommy Blake is the sleeper here, someone who could be a force in the NFL or be gone before he ever cracks a starting lineup.

Defensive Tackle:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/dt/glenndorsey.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/dt/sedrickellis.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/dt/kentwanbalmer.jpg

1. Glenn Dorsey, Louisiana St. (1)
2. Sedrick Ellis, Southern Cal
3. Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina (2)
4. Trevor Laws, Notre Dame
5. Marcus Harrison, Arkansas (3)
6. Pat Sims, Auburn
7. Dre' Moore, Maryland
8. Frank Okam, Texas
9. Ahtyba Rubin, Iowa St. (4)
10. Red Bryant, Texas A&M
11. Andre Fluellen, Florida St.
12. DeMario Pressley, North Carolina St. (5)
13. Letroy Guion, Florida St.
14. Nick Hayden, Wisconsin (6)
15. Jason Shirley, Fresno St. (7/UDFA)
16. Derek Lokey, Texas
17. Victor Filipe, Western Oregon
18. Maurice Murray, New Mexico St.
19. Carlton Powell, Virginia Tech
20. Eric Foster, Rutgers

Position Analysis:

Dorsey and Ellis are two elite defensive tackle prospects; it’s rare that you find two top-10 picks at defensive tackle in the same draft. Dorsey does everything well, except he has some injury concerns which might lead to a slight drop in the draft. Ellis could play nose tackle in either a 4-3 or 3-4, and was a bit more productive. Some teams will likely have him as the top talent here. Despite almost equal grades, Laws and Balmer are very different prospects. Some like Laws because he was far more productive in college despite playing out of position and seems to have more of the intangibles; he’s a bit safer. I prefer Balmer because he reminds me of Richard Seymour and really put himself on the map this year. The third round is filled with prospects that have some concerns with character or consistency. All could become starters or flop, but I like all of them well enough. Rubin is a top nose tackle for a 3-4 but doesn’t offer much in the way of pass rushing. Three guys I really like late are Nick Hayden (once described as looking like he had ADD on the field due to his non-stop motor), Jason Shirley (who manhandled one on one opponents in post-season practices) and Derek Lokey from Texas (who has excellent strength and a terrific football mentality.)

Outside Linebacker:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/olb/keithrivers.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/de/quentingroves.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/olb/cliffavril.jpg

1. Keith Rivers, Southern Cal (1)
2. Quentin Groves, Auburn
3. Cliff Avril, Purdue (2)
4. Erin Henderson, Maryland
5. Shawn Crable, Michigan (3)
6. Jordon Dizon, Colorado
7. Xavier Adibi, Virginia Tech
8. Darrell Robertson, Georgia Tech
9. Geno Hayes, Florida St.
10. Ali Highsmith, Louisiana St. (4)
11. Marcus Howard, Georgia
12. Stanford Keglar, Purdue
13. Bryan Kehl, Brigham Young (5)
14. Bryan Smith, McNeese St.
15. Wesley Woodyard, Kentucky
16. Curtis Johnson, Clark Atlanta (6)
17. Vince Redd, Liberty
18. Lamar Myles, Louisville
19. Curtis Gatewood, Vanderbilt
20. Bruce Davis, UCLA
21. Robert James, Arizona St.
22. David Vobora, Idaho (7/UDFA)
23. Larry Grant, Ohio St.
24. Kroy Biermann, Montana
25. Mike Humpal, Iowa

Position Analysis:

Pretty interesting outside linebacker crop this year; there are a lot of appealing players to be found from the third round to the end of the draft whether teams are running the simple “attack” defense used by the Eagles, Colts, and Bears or a form of the 3-4 defense like the Patriots, Chargers, and Ravens do. Keith Rivers is unquestionably the best linebacker in the draft this year. He can do a bit of everything and doesn’t really seem to have any holes in his game, but at the same time doesn’t really strike anyone as an elite linebacker. Still, he could be a top-ten pick and a rookie of the year candidate who racks up a ton of tackles. Groves and Avril are 3-4 tweeners who look so natural at outside linebacker that I decided to rank them here instead of at defensive end. Henderson is reminiscent of his brother, former second-round pick E.J. Henderson, and he’ll likely get a similar draft spot. Crable and Robertson are two more 3-4 tweeners who would probably be best suited to playing in a 3-4 rather than in a 4-3; Crable also played outside linebacker last year. Dizon, Adibi, Hayes, and Highsmith are ideal weak side linebackers for the aforementioned “attack” defenses. Late in the draft, I really like Curtis Johnson as a 3-4 rush specialist, and Lamar Myles for a more simplified defense.

Inside Linebacker:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/ilb/curtislofton.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/ilb/jerodmayo.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/ilb/danconnor.jpg

1. Jerod Mayo, Tennessee (1)
2. Curtis Lofton, Oklahoma
3. Dan Connor, Penn St.
4. Jonathan Goff, Vanderbilt (3)
5. Tavares Gooden, Miami (FL)
6. Philip Wheeler, Georgia Tech
7. Beau Bell, UNLV (4)
8. Jolonn Dunbar, Boston College (6)
9. Vince Hall, Virginia Tech
10. Jeremy Leman, Illinois
11. Gary Guyton, Georgia Tech
12. Ezra Butler, Nevada (7/UDFA)
13. Jameel McClain, Syracuse
14. Rodrick Johnson, Oklahoma St.
15. Spencer Larsen, Arizona
16. Thomas Williams, Southern Cal
17. Ben Moffitt, South Florida
18. Marc Magro, West Virginia
19. Darren Mustin, Alabama
20. Red Keith, Central Michigan

Position Analysis:

Ah, my favorite position to evaluate, the inside linebackers. Curtis Lofton is probably the best inside linebacker in the class; he’s got all of the intangibles you want, plus he has nice bulk and really delivers some big hits. Dan Connor is close behind and it wouldn’t surprise me very much if he ended up going late in round one. He reminds everyone of Paul Posluszny and we all know how well Posluszny played up until his injury last year. Rumors currently point to Jerod Mayo going anywhere from mid-first to mid-second, but I think the latter is a better judgment on his talent, as his speed is more of the straight-line variety and that’s the reason he’s considered a first-rounder in the first place. I like Goff, Gooden, and Wheeler almost equally. Goff is a good fit in a 3-4 defense and I think he played well in the Shrine game. Gooden is more of an athlete but has a ton of potential, and I like Wheeler rushing the passer. After that, you can find some nice value. Almost all of the guys I ranked from Dunbar to Magro have great motors and character. If you can, do some research on guys like Thomas Williams and Magro, there are some really inspiring stories. They all have some sizable athletic limitations though, except in the case of Guyton, who’s raw, and Butler, who apparently isn’t coming off well in interviews. Still, some of those late-round linebackers could prove very hard to cut if they get shots in the league.

Cornerback:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/cb/leodismckelvin.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/cb/dominiquerodgerscromartie.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/cb/antoinecason.jpg

1. Leodis McKelvin, Troy (1)
2. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee St.
3. Antoine Cason, Arizona
4. Aqib Talib, Kansas
5. Brandon Flowers, Virginia Tech
6. Justin King, Penn St. (2)
7. Patrick Lee, Auburn
8. Mike Jenkins, South Florida
9. Tyvon Branch, Connecticut
10. Charles Godfrey, Iowa
11. Chevis Jackson, Louisiana St. (3)
12. Tracy Porter, Indiana
13. Terrell Thomas, Southern Cal
14. Trae Williams, South Florida (4)
15. Antwaun Molden, Eastern Kentucky
16. Terrence Wheatley, Colorado
17. Jack Williams, Kent St.
18. Michael Grant, Arkansas
19. Orlando Scandrick, Boise St.
20. Zackary Bowman, Nebraska (5)
21. Jack Ikegwuonu, Wisconsin
22. Dwight Lowery, San Jose St. (6)
23. DeJuan Tribble, Boston College
24. Justin Tryon, Arizona St.
25. Marcus Walker, Oklahoma
26. Darnell Terrell, Missouri (7/UDFA)
27. Reggie Corner, Akron
28. Jonathan Wilhite, Auburn
29. Justin McKinney, Kansas St.
30. Trey Brown, UCLA
31. Brian Witherspoon, Stillman
32. Brandon Sumrall, Southern Mississippi
33. Glenn Sharpe, Miami (FL)
34. DeMichael Dizer, Grambling St.
35. Wilrey Fontenot, Arizona

Position Analysis:

This year’s class has two prospects who I feel stand out more than the others, small school prospects Leodis McKelvin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. McKelvin is one of the most well-rounded cornerback prospects to come out in recent memory and can cover in both man and zone schemes with extra value as a standout return man. Cromartie, on the other hand, is a strictly man corner who has excellent measurables. Talib, Cason, and Flowers are all nice zone corners, and in the second teams will have their choice of man (Justin King, Mike Jenkins) or zone (Tyvon Branch, Charles Godfrey) cornerbacks. The third offers zone corners Chevis Jackson and Terrell Thomas and man corner Tracy Porter. There are a lot of really nice sleeper picks this year as well for teams looking to add a cornerback late. I like Zack Bowman and Jack Ikegwuonu as two players who, if they can stay healthy, could be very good starters in the league and if not for injury concerns would be first or second round picks. In the sixth and seventh rounds, there should be some players who have some interesting physical tools to work with, such as Darnell Terrell and Brian Witherspoon, but just haven’t put it all together yet.

Free Safety:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/s/reggiesmith.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/s/dajuanmorgan.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/s/thomasdecoud.jpg

1. Reggie Smith, Oklahoma (2)
2. DaJuan Morgan, North Carolina St.
3. Thomas DeCoud, California (3)
4. Quintin Demps, U.T.E.P. (4)
5. Simeon Castille, Alabama (6)
6. Jonathan Hefney, Tennessee (7/UDFA)
7. David Roach, Texas Christian
8. Corey Lynch, Appalachian St.
9. Kennard Cox, Pittsburgh
10. D.J. Parker, Virginia Tech

Position Analysis:

This is an extremely weak year for free safeties – only the top four players I evaluated had a decent shot of being starters in the NFL. Reggie Smith and DaJuan Morgan are both excellent safeties but neither one is a lock to go in the first round. Smith gets the nod over Morgan because he’s played corner, safety, and returned. Morgan is excellent at what he does but doesn’t have the versatility of Smith. He’s still an excellent second rounder, though, and could possibly sneak into the late first. DeCoud has some work to do but is good enough in coverage and against the run to develop into a starter. Demps has interesting triangle numbers but does need to work on his run support. Castille was a great college player but lacks ideal measurables, and Hefney is a tiny player as well who will likely need to get by on special teams. The rest of the prospects aren’t anything exciting.

Strong Safety:

http://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/s/kennyphillips.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/s/tyrelljohnson.jpghttp://www.nfldraftcountdown.com/playerphotos/s/joshbarrett.jpg

1. Kenny Phillips, Miami (FL) (1)
2. Tyrell Johnson, Arkansas St. (2)
3. Josh Barrett, Arizona St.
4. Tom Zbikowski, Notre Dame (4)
5. Craig Steltz, Louisiana St.
6. Jamar Adams, Michigan (5)
7. Jamie Silva, Boston College
8. Caleb Campbell, Army (6)
9. Dominique Barber, Minnesota (7/UDFA)
10. Marcus Griffin, Texas
11. D.J. Wolfe, Oklahoma
12. Kareem Moore, Nicholls St.
13. Cornelius "Pig" Brown, Missouri
14. Nate Lyles, Virginia
15. Nehemiah Warrick, Michigan St.

Position Analysis:

I really like this year’s crop of strong safeties. Obviously, the top safety overall this year is Kenny Phillips from Miami. I don’t think he’s quite on the level of most of the famed Miami safeties but he does have most everything you look for and could be a starter from day one. He’s listed as a strong safety but could play free safety and maybe even cornerback. Tyrell Johnson is almost as good as DaJuan Morgan and is a bit raw in coverage but has some easily correctable problems and legitimate starting potential. Barrett is extremely talented but was benched his senior year and needs to show more desire. Tom Zbikowski and Craig Steltz were both extremely productive college players, but Zbikowski has some coverage deficiencies and Steltz doesn’t have the greatest speed. Either could end up starting in the NFL but they’re not elite physical specimens. Jamie Silva has top-notch intangibles and an elite motor and could overcome his physical shortcomings in the NFL. The most interesting sleeper this year is Pig Brown, who would probably go a lot higher if he had not suffered a serious injury. Still, if he can recover, he’ll be a steal for someone late in the draft.

lordquas
04-08-2008, 03:21 PM
a couple of thinks erk me..

marcus harrison over dre moore?
darrell robertson over ali highsmith?

everythin else is solid

bitonti
04-08-2008, 03:51 PM
these are really high quality rankings

vidae
04-08-2008, 03:55 PM
You must have put an insane amount of work in on this. Great job.

foozball
04-08-2008, 04:04 PM
you really believe mike jenkins goes in the 2nd? and cliff avril in the 1st? as well as early doucet in the 1st?

Matthew Jones
04-08-2008, 04:09 PM
you really believe mike jenkins goes in the 2nd? and cliff avril in the 1st? as well as early doucet in the 1st?

That's just where I would take them. I am not a big Jenkins fan at all. Avril has a legit shot to go in the first, and Doucet will probably be a second rounder but I'd take him in the first.

Matthew Jones
04-09-2008, 12:11 PM
Well, Reggie Smith and Malcolm Kelly just severely disappointed and now I am going to drop both in my rankings a bit, most likely.

jnew76
04-09-2008, 12:35 PM
As usual Raven, these rankings are outstanding. there is one thing that struck me as odd and that was Wesley Woodyard's #15 ranking for OLB's. With his speed and versatility, not to mention productivity, I think that he should be ranked higher. Just wanted to get your thoughts and reasoning for the ranking at #15.

+Rep

Matthew Jones
04-09-2008, 01:33 PM
As usual Raven, these rankings are outstanding. there is one thing that struck me as odd and that was Wesley Woodyard's #15 ranking for OLB's. With his speed and versatility, not to mention productivity, I think that he should be ranked higher. Just wanted to get your thoughts and reasoning for the ranking at #15.

+Rep

Thank you for the kind words! Wesley could be a pretty nice player in an attack defense, but the reason I had him ranked so low is because he isn't a very good cover-man, which limits his ability to play safety and complex linebacker coverage schemes.

Matthew Jones
04-11-2008, 07:36 AM
Alright, I have officially given Reggie Smith a new second-round grade and dropped Malcolm Kelly to the third-round following their disappointing Pro Days!

Matthew Jones
04-26-2008, 07:47 AM
Alright, my final update on this is now complete!

Iamcanadian
04-26-2008, 11:24 AM
Quarterback:



1. Matt Ryan, Boston College (1)
2. Chad Henne, Michigan (2)
3. Brian Brohm, Louisville
4. Joe Flacco, Delaware
5. Andre' Woodson, Kentucky (3)
6. Josh Johnson, San Diego
7. John David Booty, Southern Cal (4)
8. Colt Brennan, Hawaii (5)
9. Dennis Dixon, Oregon
10. Kevin O'Connell, San Diego St. (6)
11. Alex Brink, Washington St. (7/UDFA)
12. Matt Flynn, Louisiana St.
13. Erik Ainge, Tennessee
14. Kyle Wright, Miami (FL)
15. Paul Smith, Tulsa
16. Nick Hill, Southern Illinois
17. Ricky Santos, New Hampshire
18. Bernard Morris, Marshall
19. T.C. Ostrander, Stanford
20. Tyler Donovan, Wisconsin

----I would still rate Ainge at no worse than #11 and maybe as high as #9. I believe Johnson is a bit overhyped but you could be right there.



Position Analysis:

Most people would agree that Matt Ryan's the top quarterback in the draft and a top-ten talent. He reminds me a bit of former Eagle Matt Hasselbeck. He's got everything you look for...I like Chad Henne a little more than Brian Brohm. His arm strength translates into being a better fit for more offenses and he's got that toughness and leadership I don't see from Brohm all the time. Flacco/Woodson/Johnson are closer than people think, at least to me. Flacco's got size and arm strength, but he seems to lack awareness and confidence sometimes. Woodson elevated his team, but he's been dropping like a rock this offseason. Johnson had just ridiculous numbers last year and is a much better quarterback than people give him credit for being in terms of mechanics and such. John David Booty could be the next Matt Schaub, someone who plays sparingly as a backup and then fetches some serious value. Colt Brennan's injury doesn't affect him as much as some people think; he was going to take a long time to get ready anyways. His delivery is weird, but it's quick and he's accurate. Dixon made some big strides this year, and I think Kevin O'Connell has some pretty interesting physical skills to work with. Brink goes ahead of Ainge because of toughness, both physical and mental. He's been a bit more consistent as well. Don't sleep on Matt Flynn, though, he made the most of his chances this year. Wright and Smith are draftable. Wright could be a surprise because I think he has a lot of flaws, but most of them are fixable. The rest of the guys are kind of interesting, but I wouldn't draft them.

----I would still rate Ainge at no worse than #11 and maybe as high as #9. I believe Johnson is a bit overhyped but you could be right there.

Running Back:



1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas (1)
2. Jonathan Stewart, Oregon
3. Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois
4. Felix Jones, Arkansas
5. Ray Rice, Rutgers (2)
6. Chris Johnson, East Carolina
7. Matt Forte, Tulane
8. Jamaal Charles, Texas
9. Kevin Smith, Central Florida (3)
10. Tashard Choice, Georgia Tech
11. Thomas Brown, Georgia (4)
12. Mike Hart, Michigan
13. Steve Slaton, West Virginia (5)
14. Chad Simpson, Morgan St.
15. Justin Forsett, California
16. Chauncey Washington, Southern Cal
17. Cory Boyd, South Carolina (6)
18. Allen Patrick, Oklahoma
19. Jalen Parmele, Toledo
20. Dantrell Savage, Oklahoma St.
21. Xavier Omon, NW Missouri St.
22. Calvin Dawson, Louisiana-Monroe (7/UDFA)
23. Tim Hightower, Richmond
24. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Mississippi
25. Marcus Thomas, U.T.E.P.
26. Ryan Torian, Arizona St.
27. Yvenson Bernard, Oregon St.
28. Tony Temple, Missouri
29. Rodney Kinlaw, Penn St.
30. Rafael Little, Kentucky

----Chauncey Washington should be ranked no worse than #11 and could actually be a huge surprise on draft day and get drafted in round 3 ahead of some better known names. He's big and ran a sub 4.50 40 and he kept a ton of high school All Americans riding the bench for USC. If he hadn't been plagued by injuries, he might well have been a 1st rounder.
I wouldn't give you 2 cents for Brown, Hart and Forsett, they'll all be lucky to be drafted very late in the draft.

Position Analysis:

McFadden gets the nod here because he's the most versatile big play threat in the draft offensively. Stewart is a little better than Mendenhall, in my opinion. The toe thing doesn't bug me; you don't draft players for one season. It's close, though. Jones can contribute in a ton of ways, so that's why he's a little better than Rice. Johnson has amazing speed and could even be a pretty good receiver, but he's probably not an every-down back ever. Forte could be that, but probably won't break open a game like Johnson or Charles can. Smith and Choice are both pretty nice bruisers and I think both can develop into starters or good complimentary backs. The RB depth is pretty good, with 10 potential starters as I see it. The rest of the guys in the draft are a bunch of #2 and 3 running backs, in my opinion. For the most part, it just depends on what you want. There's some intriguing late-round power back this year, like Xavier Omon and Chauncey Washington. My sleeper might be Rodney Kinlaw. I doubt he gets a chance in the NFL, but he deserves one. He does everything well.

Fullback:



1. Jacob Hester, Louisiana St. (4)
2. Peyton Hillis, Arkansas (6)
3. Owen Schmitt, West Virginia
4. Lex Hilliard, Montana (7/UDFA)
5. Jehuu Caulcrick, Michigan St.
6. Carl Stewart, Auburn
7. Jerome Felton, Furman
8. Mike Cox, Georgia Tech
9. Kregg Lumpkin, Georgia
10. Rolly Lumbala, Idaho

Wide Receiver:



1. Limas Sweed, Texas (1)
2. Devin Thomas, Michigan St.
3. DeSean Jackson, California
4. Early Doucet, Louisiana St. (2)
5. Jordy Nelson, Kansas St.
6. James Hardy, Indiana
7. Andre Caldwell, Florida
8. Donnie Avery, Houston
9. Earl Bennett, Vanderbilt
10. Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma (3)
11. Mario Manningham, Michigan
12. Jerome Simpson, Coastal Carolina
13. Lavelle Hawkins, California
14. Anthony Aldridge, Houston (4)
15. Eddie Royal, Virginia Tech
16. Adarius Bowman, Oklahoma St.
17. Dexter Jackson, Appalachian St.
18. Marcus Smith, New Mexico
19. Will Franklin, Missouri (5)
20. Keenan Burton, Kentucky
21. Harry Douglas, Louisville
22. Paul Hubbard, Wisconsin (6)
23. Darius Reynaud, West Virginia
24. D.J. Hall, Alabama
25. Danny Amendola, Texas Tech
26. Dorien Bryant, Purdue
27. Steve Johnson, Kentucky (7/UDFA)
28. Pierre Garcon, Mount Union
29. Travis Brown, New Mexico
30. Josh Morgan, Virginia Tech
31. Todd Blythe, Iowa St.
32. Adrian Arrington, Michigan
33. Jabari Arthur, Akron
34. Ed Williams, Lane
35. Ryan Grice-Mullen, Hawaii
36. Marcus Henry, Kansas
37. Kevin Robinson, Utah St.
38. Davone Bess, Hawaii
39. Marcus Monk, Arkansas
40. Jason Rivers, Hawaii
41. Kenneth Moore, Wake Forest
42. Arman Shields, Richmond
43. Lance Leggett, Miami (FL)
44. Jaymar Johnson, Jackson St.
45. Darnell Jenkins, Miami (FL)
46. Mario Urrutia, Louisville
47. Lorne Sam, U.T.E.P.
48. Evan Moore, Stanford
49. Shaheer McBride, Delaware St.
50. John Dunlap, North Carolina St.

----I finally convinced Scott that Jackson isn't a 1st rounder and I would exchange Hardy for his spot with Jackson at # 5 or 6. I'd have Avery as high as #5 with Thomas clearly #1. I could easily see Manningham, Dexter Jackson and certainly Eddie Royal all ahead of Kelly. Harry Douglas is no worse than than #13

Position Analysis:

Wasn't particularly impressed with the wide receivers this year. Some decent #1 options that would be pretty good #2s, but no elite, top-10/15 wideout this year. Limas Sweed is probably the closest, because he's got the size and playmaking ability. He's a hard worker too, which is refreshing. Devin Thomas has obvious tools but also a pretty high bust rate. He reminds me of Troy Williamson coming out. Doucet is really polished and didn't produce much but has all the tools you look for. Jackson and Kelly have their fair share of questions as well. For Jackson, it's just overall polish, and for Kelly, obviously the knees have to check out, and if they did, I'd probably move him up a bit. Hardy and Manningham is just personal preference, size vs. speed. Hardy can do a bit more though, in my opinion. Caldwell is dangerous with the ball, and I really love Nelson's polish and character. Bennett, Simpson, Hawkins, Avery round out the people I wouldn't be surprised at all to see as starters. The rest are kind of iffy. Bennett is another really polished possession guy. Simpson and Avery have excellent tools. Hawkins did a really nice job at the Senior Bowl. Keep an eye out for Arman Shields as a really deep sleeper. He has ridiculous acceleration and change of direction ability.

Tight End:



1. Dustin Keller, Purdue (2)
2. John Carlson, Notre Dame (3)
3. Fred Davis, Southern Cal
4. Jermichael Finley, Texas
5. Martellus Bennett, Texas A&M
6. Craig Stevens, California (4)
7. Martin Rucker, Missouri
8. Jacob Tamme, Kentucky
9. Brad Cottam, Tennessee
10. Kellen Davis, Michigan St. (5)
11. Gary Barnridge, Louisville
12. Tom Santi, Virginia
13. Joe Jon Finley, Oklahoma (6)
14. Derek Fine, Kansas
15. Joey Haynos, Maryland
16. Marcus Stone, North Carolina St. (7/UDFA)
17. Andrew Atchison, William & Mary
18. Adam Bishop, Nevada
19. Jonathan Stupar, Virginia
20. Cole Bennett, Auburn

----I guess I like Brad Cottam better than you do, He'd be ahead of Finley for me.

Position Analysis:

Keller established himself as the consensus #1 guy at the combine by running well and catching the ball well. He's the most dangerous one in the open field. The NFL is about creating mismatches nowadays and he's by far the best at doing that his with his separation speed. His rise is similar to that of Greg Olsen last year. Carlson has some great fundamentals and should be a starter for a long time. Davis has some really good hands and he's another extremely well-rounded guy. Finley and Bennett are both upside guys, Finley more as a weapon and Bennett as a well-rounded, blocking/size guy. The fourth round guys are a bunch of guys whose games need to become more well-rounded. Martin Rucker isn't a good blocker, Brad Cottam didn't catch much in college and doesn't block to his size, for example. I really like Tom Santi, he's like a poor-man's Heath Miller. He could be a really solid #2 tight end for someone someday. Derek Fine's another good sleeper at tight end.

Offensive Tackle:


1. Jake Long, Michigan (1)
2. Chris Williams, Vanderbilt
3. Ryan Clady, Boise St.
4. Jeff Otah, Pittsburgh
5. Gosder Cherilus, Boston College
6. Sam Baker, Southern Cal (2)
7. Duane Brown, Virginia Tech
8. Anthony Collins, Kansas (3)
9. Carl Nicks, Nebraska
10. Tony Hills, Texas (4)
11. John Greco, Toledo
12. King Dunlap, Auburn (5)
13. Geoff Schwartz, Oregon
14. Barry Richardson, Clemson (6)
15. Brandon Keith, Northern Iowa
16. Mike Gibson, California (7/UDFA)
17. Tyler Polumbus, Colorado
18. Breno Giacomini, Louisville
19. Shawn McMackin, Hofstra
20. Will Robinson, San Diego St.

----I'm not a fan of Williams, he's just not very physical although I think he suits Denver to a tee. Albert should be ranked either #2 or #3 on your list. He'll be drafted as a LT prospecvt and won't see OG. Duane brown and maybe both Collins and Nicks will be drafted ahead of Baker. Basker can only play OG at the next level with his short arms and slow 40 time. Greco and probably Richardson will be drafted to plaqy OG IMO.

Position Analysis:

I was disappointed with the lack of depth at tackle this year, really. Jake Long's a total stud, and I think he'll be an All-Pro for ten years. Reminds me of Joe Thomas from last year. Chris Williams just edges out Ryan Clady based on intelligence, footwork, and the level of competition he faced playing in the SEC. Otah is a very intriguing guy but I don't think he's there yet developmentally and to take him in the top ten is a bit of a reach (just as it is with Williams, Clady, but to a greater extent with Otah.) Baker and Cherilus are two intriguing guys, one a left tackle who gave up one career sack in college, and the other someone who might be able to play both but is a really nice fit at right tackle, clearing running lanes in a man blocking scheme. Carl Nicks has a ton of potential but just needs to be more mature and work on technique stuff. Collins and Brown are both pretty inconsistent and have some questions but can potentially play left tackle, which is why they're so high up there. Hills and Greco probably signify the end of the guys who have a good chance to start in the league. Dunlap and Schwartz are intriguing. The latter reminds me of Ryan O'Callaghan coming out and gets a similar grade.

Offensive Guard:



1. Branden Albert, Virginia (1)
2. Chilo Rachal, Southern Cal (2)
3. Oniel Cousins, U.T.E.P. (3)
4. Roy Schuening, Oregon St.
5. Drew Radovich, Southern Cal (4)
6. Jeremy Zuttah, Rutgers
7. Robert Felton, Arkansas
8. Mike McGlynn, Pittsburgh
9. Kirk Barton, Ohio St. (5)
10. Eric Young, Tennessee
11. Mackenzy Bernadeau, Bentley
12. Donald Thomas, Connecticut
13. Pedro Sosa, Rutgers (6)
14. Kerry Brown, Appalachian St.
15. Chad Rinehart, Northern Iowa
16. Shawn Murphy, Utah St. (7/UDFA)
17. Franklin Dunbar, Middle Tennessee
18. Fernando Velasco, Georgia
19. Andrew Crummey, Maryland
20. John Booker, San Jose St.

----I think you have the USC's OG rated too high. Albert is an OT and that is where he should be ranked. Rachal arms are simply too short to get drafted ahead of Schuening or Cousins.

Position Analysis:

There are some guards I really like in this class. Branden Albert is going to be a total stud if you ask me, whether that's at left guard or left tackle. I actually think left tackle might be a better fit but it's a bit of a projection. It's just that his footwork is so good and he's such an excellent pass blocker. Rachal/Cousins are both really nice players as well, albeit in different ways. Rachal is a better guard but Cousins has some potential to play left tackle, which gives him a nice edge over the third round prospects. Schuening and Radovich could both be really solid starters, though. I would be more surprised if they never cracked a starting lineup than if they did. Other than that, after Zuttah you get a bunch of mauler-types or athletic-types, but there aren't really that many nice combinations of both for the rest of the draft. Teams are just going to have to pick and choose based on what they want their guards to do in the NFL.

Center:



1. Mike Pollak, Arizona St. (3)
2. Steve Justice, Wake Forest (5)
3. John Sullivan, Notre Dame
4. Kory Lichtensteiger, Bowling Green (6)
5. Cody Wallace, Texas A&M (7/UDFA)
6. Jamey Richard, Buffalo
7. Kevin Tuminello, Georgia Tech
8. Matt Spanos, Southern Cal
9. Eric Tunney, Central Michigan
10. Drew Miller, Florida

----I myself, expect Jamey Richard to jump at least 2 of those you have rated aqhead of him. Better upside IMO. Always a tough call with OC's.

Position Analysis:

Not too much to say here. Mike Pollak is clearly the top talent at center this year, and that was cemented with a fantastic combine workout this offseason. Justice is probably the most balanced after him. Sullivan's a smart, powerful guy, but he has some deficiencies athletically. Kory L. has to recover from injury but can develop into a nice player as well. I really like Wallace and Richard just in terms of their demeanors, intelligence, and work ethic. After that, there's a pretty big drop off. There are still a few solid backups to find later on though, especially some guys like Spanos that can bring a lot of versatility to an offensive line.

Defensive End:



1. Chris Long, Virginia (1)
2. Vernon Gholston, Ohio St.
3. Derrick Harvey, Florida
4. Phillip Merling, Clemson
5. Lawrence Jackson, Southern Cal (2)
6. Calais Campbell, Miami (FL)
7. Jason Jones, Eastern Michigan (3)
8. Kendall Langford, Hampton
9. Jeremy Thompson, Wake Forest
10. Kenny Iwebema, Iowa (4)
11. Chris Ellis, Virginia Tech
12. Brian Johnston, Gardner-Webb (5)
13. Chris Harrington, Texas A&M (6)
14. Wallace Gilberry, Alabama
15. Louis Holmes, Arizona
16. Bryan Mattison, Iowa
17. Chase Ortiz, Texas Christian (7/UDFA)
18. Tommy Blake, Texas Christian
19. Rudolph Hardy, Howard
20. Trevor Scott, Buffalo

Chris Ellis will jump a few of these guys rated ahead of him. He is going to have some real appeal to a Cover 2 team. Avril should also be ranked here along with Groves. They all have apperal to Cover 2 teams.

Position Analysis:

Chris Long and Vernon Gholston are obviously the cream of the crop here; both are clear-cut top-10 talents and it wouldn’t be too surprising if either went #1 overall. I tend to lean to Chris because of his non-stop motor and ability to defend the run a bit better than Gholston. Harvey and Merling are both first-round talents as well; Harvey’s got a knack for rushing the passer and Merling is stout against the run, so teams will be able to have their choice of skill sets. Jackson is another good run defender, as is Campbell, but their lack of superior pass-rush skills and impressive workouts puts them in the second. Jones and Thompson are solid DE/OLB hybrids, and Langford is excellent against the run. There is surprising value to be found in the sixth round this year; Harrington has a top-notch motor, Gilberry was very productive in the SEC, and Holmes was regarded as a top recruit a few years ago. Tommy Blake is the sleeper here, someone who could be a force in the NFL or be gone before he ever cracks a starting lineup.

Defensive Tackle:



1. Glenn Dorsey, Louisiana St. (1)
2. Sedrick Ellis, Southern Cal
3. Kentwan Balmer, North Carolina (2)
4. Trevor Laws, Notre Dame
5. Marcus Harrison, Arkansas (3)
6. Pat Sims, Auburn
7. Dre' Moore, Maryland
8. Frank Okam, Texas
9. Ahtyba Rubin, Iowa St. (4)
10. Red Bryant, Texas A&M
11. Andre Fluellen, Florida St.
12. DeMario Pressley, North Carolina St. (5)
13. Letroy Guion, Florida St.
14. Nick Hayden, Wisconsin (6)
15. Jason Shirley, Fresno St. (7/UDFA)
16. Derek Lokey, Texas
17. Victor Filipe, Western Oregon
18. Maurice Murray, New Mexico St.
19. Carlton Powell, Virginia Tech
20. Eric Foster, Rutgers

Position Analysis:

Dorsey and Ellis are two elite defensive tackle prospects; it’s rare that you find two top-10 picks at defensive tackle in the same draft. Dorsey does everything well, except he has some injury concerns which might lead to a slight drop in the draft. Ellis could play nose tackle in either a 4-3 or 3-4, and was a bit more productive. Some teams will likely have him as the top talent here. Despite almost equal grades, Laws and Balmer are very different prospects. Some like Laws because he was far more productive in college despite playing out of position and seems to have more of the intangibles; he’s a bit safer. I prefer Balmer because he reminds me of Richard Seymour and really put himself on the map this year. The third round is filled with prospects that have some concerns with character or consistency. All could become starters or flop, but I like all of them well enough. Rubin is a top nose tackle for a 3-4 but doesn’t offer much in the way of pass rushing. Three guys I really like late are Nick Hayden (once described as looking like he had ADD on the field due to his non-stop motor), Jason Shirley (who manhandled one on one opponents in post-season practices) and Derek Lokey from Texas (who has excellent strength and a terrific football mentality.)

Outside Linebacker:



1. Keith Rivers, Southern Cal (1)
2. Quentin Groves, Auburn
3. Cliff Avril, Purdue (2)
4. Erin Henderson, Maryland
5. Shawn Crable, Michigan (3)
6. Jordon Dizon, Colorado
7. Xavier Adibi, Virginia Tech
8. Darrell Robertson, Georgia Tech
9. Geno Hayes, Florida St.
10. Ali Highsmith, Louisiana St. (4)
11. Marcus Howard, Georgia
12. Stanford Keglar, Purdue
13. Bryan Kehl, Brigham Young (5)
14. Bryan Smith, McNeese St.
15. Wesley Woodyard, Kentucky
16. Curtis Johnson, Clark Atlanta (6)
17. Vince Redd, Liberty
18. Lamar Myles, Louisville
19. Curtis Gatewood, Vanderbilt
20. Bruce Davis, UCLA
21. Robert James, Arizona St.
22. David Vobora, Idaho (7/UDFA)
23. Larry Grant, Ohio St.
24. Kroy Biermann, Montana
25. Mike Humpal, Iowa

----Certainly Gholston, Harvey and C. Long should be ranked here as well. Watch out for Kehl, he could be a surprise pick on draft day. Highsmith's spot will depend on the seriousness of his neck condition. If the doctors think it isn't serious, he go higher but he could also be classed as physically unable to pass a pro physical.

Position Analysis:

Pretty interesting outside linebacker crop this year; there are a lot of appealing players to be found from the third round to the end of the draft whether teams are running the simple “attack” defense used by the Eagles, Colts, and Bears or a form of the 3-4 defense like the Patriots, Chargers, and Ravens do. Keith Rivers is unquestionably the best linebacker in the draft this year. He can do a bit of everything and doesn’t really seem to have any holes in his game, but at the same time doesn’t really strike anyone as an elite linebacker. Still, he could be a top-ten pick and a rookie of the year candidate who racks up a ton of tackles. Groves and Avril are 3-4 tweeners who look so natural at outside linebacker that I decided to rank them here instead of at defensive end. Henderson is reminiscent of his brother, former second-round pick E.J. Henderson, and he’ll likely get a similar draft spot. Crable and Robertson are two more 3-4 tweeners who would probably be best suited to playing in a 3-4 rather than in a 4-3; Crable also played outside linebacker last year. Dizon, Adibi, Hayes, and Highsmith are ideal weak side linebackers for the aforementioned “attack” defenses. Late in the draft, I really like Curtis Johnson as a 3-4 rush specialist, and Lamar Myles for a more simplified defense.

Inside Linebacker:




1. Curtis Lofton, Oklahoma (1)
2. Jerod Mayo, Tennessee
3. Dan Connor, Penn St.
4. Jonathan Goff, Vanderbilt (3)
5. Tavares Gooden, Miami (FL)
6. Philip Wheeler, Georgia Tech
7. Beau Bell, UNLV (4)
8. Jolonn Dunbar, Boston College (6)
9. Vince Hall, Virginia Tech
10. Jeremy Leman, Illinois
11. Gary Guyton, Georgia Tech
12. Ezra Butler, Nevada (7/UDFA)
13. Jameel McClain, Syracuse
14. Rodrick Johnson, Oklahoma St.
15. Spencer Larsen, Arizona
16. Thomas Williams, Southern Cal
17. Ben Moffitt, South Florida
18. Marc Magro, West Virginia
19. Darren Mustin, Alabama
20. Red Keith, Central Michigan

----I strongly believe that Mayo can go as high as #15 to Detroit in the draft and is certainly the #1 ILB in the draft. I also have Connors ahead of Loften but it's close. Loften only started 1 season for Oklahoma and Stoops LB's have generally been huge disappointments as pros.

Position Analysis:

Ah, my favorite position to evaluate, the inside linebackers. Curtis Lofton is probably the best inside linebacker in the class; he’s got all of the intangibles you want, plus he has nice bulk and really delivers some big hits. Dan Connor is close behind and it wouldn’t surprise me very much if he ended up going late in round one. He reminds everyone of Paul Posluszny and we all know how well Posluszny played up until his injury last year. Rumors currently point to Jerod Mayo going anywhere from mid-first to mid-second, but I think the latter is a better judgment on his talent, as his speed is more of the straight-line variety and that’s the reason he’s considered a first-rounder in the first place. I like Goff, Gooden, and Wheeler almost equally. Goff is a good fit in a 3-4 defense and I think he played well in the Shrine game. Gooden is more of an athlete but has a ton of potential, and I like Wheeler rushing the passer. After that, you can find some nice value. Almost all of the guys I ranked from Dunbar to Magro have great motors and character. If you can, do some research on guys like Thomas Williams and Magro, there are some really inspiring stories. They all have some sizable athletic limitations though, except in the case of Guyton, who’s raw, and Butler, who apparently isn’t coming off well in interviews. Still, some of those late-round linebackers could prove very hard to cut if they get shots in the league.

Cornerback:



1. Leodis McKelvin, Troy (1)
2. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee St.
3. Antoine Cason, Arizona
4. Aqib Talib, Kansas
5. Brandon Flowers, Virginia Tech
6. Justin King, Penn St. (2)
7. Patrick Lee, Auburn
8. Mike Jenkins, South Florida
9. Tyvon Branch, Connecticut
10. Charles Godfrey, Iowa
11. Chevis Jackson, Louisiana St. (3)
12. Tracy Porter, Indiana
13. Terrell Thomas, Southern Cal
14. Trae Williams, South Florida (4)
15. Antwaun Molden, Eastern Kentucky
16. Jack Williams, Kent St.
17. Michael Grant, Arkansas
18. Orlando Scandrick, Boise St.
19. Zackary Bowman, Nebraska (5)
20. Terrence Wheatley, Colorado
21. Jack Ikegwuonu, Wisconsin
22. Dwight Lowery, San Jose St. (6)
23. DeJuan Tribble, Boston College
24. Justin Tryon, Arizona St.
25. Marcus Walker, Oklahoma
26. Darnell Terrell, Missouri (7/UDFA)
27. Reggie Corner, Akron
28. Jonathan Wilhite, Auburn
29. Justin McKinney, Kansas St.
30. Trey Brown, UCLA
31. Brian Witherspoon, Stillman
32. Brandon Sumrall, Southern Mississippi
33. Glenn Sharpe, Miami (FL)
34. DeMichael Dizer, Grambling St.
35. Wilrey Fontenot, Arizona

----I just don't see Cason, Flowers and Talib ahead of Jenkins. Talib would be but 3 bouts with the weed will drop him on draft day. Speed for a CB unless your a Cover 2 team, is still pretty decisive. Flowers doesn't have any so he'll only appeal to a Cover 2 team limiting him probably to round 2. Branch could be a huge surprise on draft day and could challenge Cason and Talib in round 2. Certainly Porter, Thomas and Molden should all get drafted before Jackson who just doesn't have the speed, again only a Cover 2 team will be interested in Jackson. Reggie Smith should be ranked here as he suits a Cover 2 team pretty well.


Position Analysis:

This year’s class has two prospects who I feel stand out more than the others, small school prospects Leodis McKelvin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. McKelvin is one of the most well-rounded cornerback prospects to come out in recent memory and can cover in both man and zone schemes with extra value as a standout return man. Cromartie, on the other hand, is a strictly man corner who has excellent measurables. Talib, Cason, and Flowers are all nice zone corners, and in the second teams will have their choice of man (Justin King, Mike Jenkins) or zone (Tyvon Branch, Charles Godfrey) cornerbacks. The third offers zone corners Chevis Jackson and Terrell Thomas and man corner Tracy Porter. There are a lot of really nice sleeper picks this year as well for teams looking to add a cornerback late. I like Zack Bowman and Jack Ikegwuonu as two players who, if they can stay healthy, could be very good starters in the league and if not for injury concerns would be first or second round picks. In the sixth and seventh rounds, there should be some players who have some interesting physical tools to work with, such as Darnell Terrell and Brian Witherspoon, but just haven’t put it all together yet.

Free Safety:



1. Reggie Smith, Oklahoma (2)
2. DaJuan Morgan, North Carolina St.
3. Thomas DeCoud, California (3)
4. Quintin Demps, U.T.E.P. (4)
5. Simeon Castille, Alabama (6)
6. Jonathan Hefney, Tennessee (7/UDFA)
7. David Roach, Texas Christian
8. Corey Lynch, Appalachian St.
9. Kennard Cox, Pittsburgh
10. D.J. Parker, Virginia Tech

Position Analysis:

This is an extremely weak year for free safeties – only the top four players I evaluated had a decent shot of being starters in the NFL. Reggie Smith and DaJuan Morgan are both excellent safeties but neither one is a lock to go in the first round. Smith gets the nod over Morgan because he’s played corner, safety, and returned. Morgan is excellent at what he does but doesn’t have the versatility of Smith. He’s still an excellent second rounder, though, and could possibly sneak into the late first. DeCoud has some work to do but is good enough in coverage and against the run to develop into a starter. Demps has interesting triangle numbers but does need to work on his run support. Castille was a great college player but lacks ideal measurables, and Hefney is a tiny player as well who will likely need to get by on special teams. The rest of the prospects aren’t anything exciting.

Strong Safety:



1. Kenny Phillips, Miami (FL) (1)
2. Tyrell Johnson, Arkansas St. (2)
3. Josh Barrett, Arizona St.
4. Tom Zbikowski, Notre Dame (4)
5. Craig Steltz, Louisiana St.
6. Jamar Adams, Michigan (5)
7. Jamie Silva, Boston College
8. Caleb Campbell, Army (6)
9. Dominique Barber, Minnesota (7/UDFA)
10. Marcus Griffin, Texas
11. D.J. Wolfe, Oklahoma
12. Kareem Moore, Nicholls St.
13. Cornelius "Pig" Brown, Missouri
14. Nate Lyles, Virginia
15. Nehemiah Warrick, Michigan St.

Position Analysis:

I really like this year’s crop of strong safeties. Obviously, the top safety overall this year is Kenny Phillips from Miami. I don’t think he’s quite on the level of most of the famed Miami safeties but he does have most everything you look for and could be a starter from day one. He’s listed as a strong safety but could play free safety and maybe even cornerback. Tyrell Johnson is almost as good as DaJuan Morgan and is a bit raw in coverage but has some easily correctable problems and legitimate starting potential. Barrett is extremely talented but was benched his senior year and needs to show more desire. Tom Zbikowski and Craig Steltz were both extremely productive college players, but Zbikowski has some coverage deficiencies and Steltz doesn’t have the greatest speed. Either could end up starting in the NFL but they’re not elite physical specimens. Jamie Silva has top-notch intangibles and an elite motor and could overcome his physical shortcomings in the NFL. The most interesting sleeper this year is Pig Brown, who would probably go a lot higher if he had not suffered a serious injury. Still, if he can recover, he’ll be a steal for someone late in the draft.

----I won't be at all shocked to see T. Johnson as the 1st Safety off the board. His ceiling is simply higher than Phillips.