Risers and Fallers
For the 2009 NFL Draft:
See which players are flying up the draft boards. The game film, Senior Bowl, Scouting Combine and Pro Day results are still being studied:
RISERS (14 April 2009):
DE Robert Ayers, Tennessee (6' 3" 272 lbs) - No player has risen as fast as Ayers since the Senior Bowl. He only started one full year, but I went back and looked at all his game film from 2008 and he is a legitimate talent. Besides a dominate performance at the senior bowl, last season he recorded 49 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. Mel Kiper just loves him and has him rated as the 14th best player in the entire draft.
OLB Larry English, Northern Illinois (6' 3" 253 lbs) - English is kind of the forgotten soul, but don't let his lack of press make you think he isn't talented. He might slip into the second round, but he is one of the top 20 players in this draft. He didn't wow anyone at the Scouting Combine, but English has "football speed" with an instant burst around the corner. The opposite of Ayers in the fact that he has been an ultra consistent four year starter and has gotten the job done game in and game out. Mr. consistency (English) has recorded an amazing 57 tackles for loss (TFL) and 31 1/2 sacks in his career.
CB Ladarius Webb, Nichols State (5' 10" 182 lbs) - With the success of small school standout CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with the Cardinals last year, look for Web to get drafted as early as the late second round. Webb closes on the ball in an instant and was the fastest cornerback at the NFL Scouting combine running a 4.35 forty.
CB Sherrod Martin, Troy (6' 1" 201 lbs) - Long arms and excellent speed (4.43) Martin is the corner that no one is talking about. Martin has excellent ball skills and is always around the ball. In a mediocre year for cornerbacks, Martin will probably be a third round steal.
OG Andy Levitre, Oregon State (6' 3" 310 lbs) - The best guard in the draft unless you are considering Alex Mack as a guard as many NFL teams are. So many teams need help at offensive guard, but only a few have starting ability in my opinion, so Levitre will be snapped up early, probably the second round.
OT T.J. Lang, Eastern Michigan (6' 5" 304 lbs) - Not many scouts have heard of this prospect, but don't be shocked when he is drafted in the fourth round. He started out as a defensive lineman and has that "scrapper" mentality. He is a tough, strong kid that works his butt off.
TE Richard Quinn, North Carolina (6' 4" 262 lbs) - Another unknown prospect that has snuck into the fourth round area. Only a decent pass catcher, but probably the best blocking tight end in this draft. he will help the running game immensely.
WR Quinten Lawrence, McNeese State (6' 0" 190 lbs) - Probably the best small school receiver in this draft, yes even better than Cal Poly's Ramses Barden. Lawrence has blazing speed (4.39) and excellent hands. He can return punts and after a year to develop, could come in and be a deep threat in the slot.
QB Stephen McGee, Texas A&M (6' 3" 220 lbs) - In a year without many NFL caliber quarterbacks McGee has risen to the top-tier. Yes Kansas State QB Josh Freeman will likely be a late-first to mid-second round pick, but I would much rather just wait until the third round and snatch McGee up if he is still there.
ILB Jasper Brinkley, South Carolina (6' 2" 252 lbs) - If he wouldn't have tore his ACL in 2007, we would probably be seeing him in the first round of many of our 2009 NFL Mock Drafts. He is fully healed now and has a fantastic size/speed ratio. He ran a a 4.67 forty at the combine, but he isn't just a workout warrior. He is a three years starter with great instincts and is the perfect fit for a 3-4 defense. The Cowboys will be tempted to draft him in the third round.
WR Kenny McKinley, South Carolina (6' 0" 190 lbs) - I am not a Gamecock fan I just think they have some special talent this year like TE Jared Cook (6' 4" 245 lbs) who ran an amazing 4.49 at the NFL Scouting Combine, but I regress, I want to talk about WR Kenny McKinley. Not everyone likes McKinley now, he is a little on the small side, but I don't think he gets enough respect. He is a gamer, tough, fast and will catch anything thrown his way. Ourlads Scouting service has him rated as the 7th best receiver in this entire draft, but it seems like NFL Draft Dog.com and Ourlads are about the only scouting services that are giving him any credit. If he is still there in the fourth round he would be a huge steal.
RISERS (2 January 2009):
Kenny Britt, WR/Rutgers (Jr) - Britt blew up against NC State setting the Big East all time receiving mark with his 6 catch for 119 yard and 1 TD performance. Britt has a nice combination of speed and height, this guy is definitely moving up according to some pro scouts. On the season Britt has amassed 1,371 yds receiving and 7 TD's, this guy can play. Britt and Shonn Greene (below) have already declared for the 2009 NFL Draft.
Shonn Greene, RB/Iowa (Jr) - Greene has pretty much been a picture of consistency all year, he eclipsed the 100 yd rushing mark in all 13 of Iowa's games... that alone is impressive. Greene put on another brilliant show against S. Car and with word of him entering the draft look for this guy to be a late first/early second round steal. His bowl game stats were an amazing 29 carries for 121 yards and 3 TD's. On the year he had 1,729 yds rushing with 17 TD's and no fumbles.
Ndamukong Suh, DT/Nebraska (Jr) - Suh had a monster bowl game, he led NU with eight tackles, including 3½ behind the line of scrimmage. He added two sacks to his team-high total, now 7½. He also blocked a field goal. Suh (6' 4 304 lbs) is now considering entering the 2009 NFL Draft and could even sneak into the 1st round.
Jeremy Macklin, WR/Missouri (So) - What can I say Macklin is explosion in a bottle. He didn't have the best receiving game (Missouri didn't have a good offensive game period, I know Mizzou alumni who stopped watching the game at the half). Mr. do it all for the Tigers had 187 total yards and 2TD's. We see how big of an impact Macklin can make and NFL teams are going to love this guy. Macklin finished the season with 1,260 receiving yards and 13 TD's (and that's just receiving).
Kaluka Maiava, LB/SS/USC (Sr) - Maiava was simply amazing against Penn St and all year basically. He has been victim to the overshadowing names of Brian Cusing and Rey Maualuga. Maiava not only flew all over the field amassing double digit tackles, but he added a couple pass break ups and a near INT, earning him the Rose bowl defensive player of the game award. Maiava (6' 0" 228 lbs) is kind of tweener, which might cause him to slip in the draft.
FALLERS (2 January 2009):
Knowshown Moreno, RB/Georgia (So) - Moreno had a decent game but didn't take it over like a 1st round pick ending his collegiate career should. Moreno was average in the game and while he did score a touchdown he was frequently bottled up. If Moreno does come out we could see him fall to the early second round because of his late season performance.
Derrick Williams, WR/Pen St (Sr) - For an athlete as explosive as Williams he showed little to scouts in that Williams could make huge plays when big games are being played. Williams had a meager 4 catches for 34 yards in the loss to USC and while we all know how good the USC defense is Butler managed to shine so Williams has no excuse. I look to see Williams in the early third round as of right now.
CJ Spiller, RB/Clemson (Jr) - Spiller would be wise some back for his senior season, sure he has exciting speed but that alone will not get him much. Spiller has seen his number decline year by year and with the anemic performance against Nebraska Spiller will definitely fall in the draft. His decline is not all his fault but good players manage to shine in any situation.
TE Chase Coffman, Missouri (6' 6" 250 lbs): Still a supreme talent, but he broke his foot on MU’s final play of overtime in the Tigers’ 30-23 Alamo Bowl victory over Northwestern. He had a pin inserted into his foot and should be ready for the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine, but will likely defer and conduct his only post season workout at Missouri's Pro Day in March.
RISERS (30 December 2008):
(JR) Hakeem Nicks, WR/UNC ( 6' 1" 210 lbs): With the performance he put on against West Virginia, Nicks could easy become an early second round picks with this outing. In the game Nicks caught three touchdowns while amassing 217 yards, the 20th player to cross the 200 yard plateau in NCAA history.
Pat White, QB/West Virginia (6' 0" 190 lbs): White showed he can improve his passing with time and his athleticism makes him an interesting pick come April. Maybe a receiver in the NFL, but his showing in the Meineke Car Care Bowl where he threw for a career-high 332 yards and 3 TDs might have changed some minds.
Greg Carr, WR/Florida St. ( 6' 6" 214 lbs): This rangey receiver showed that he can make plays against a decent Wisconsin defense, Carr's stock rose when he won the jump ball battle for an early touchdown.
(JR) Jerry Hughes, DE/TCU (6' 2" 248 lb): Hughes showed enough heart and relentlessness during the game to prove he will not be discouraged during a game. He has a lightening quick first step and could be a rush linebacker in the NFL. Hughes led the nation this year with 15 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss.
Zack Follett, OLB/California (6' 2" 235 lbs): Follett is a good tackler and a fiery competitor. After watching him track down athletes faster than him his stock definitely rose during the Emerald bowl. Follett (10.5 sacks) was one of only two linebackers to record over 10 sacks for the season, Virginia's Clint Sintim (11 sacks) was the other. Follett also recorded an amazing 23 tackles for loss for the season which was #1 for linebackers and #3 overall.
(JR) Syd'Quan Thomson, CB, California (5' 9" 185 lbs): Thompson, already a three year starter has great speed and ball skills and is very strong against the run for a small guy, but what makes him special is his ability to turn and play the ball in the air.
FALLERS (30 December 2008):
Ian Johnson, RB/Boise St (Sr) - Yeah he broke Marshall Faulk's record but he didn't produce much after that, with lower production he looks to have slipped into the late rounds. Johnson doesn't have great speed and won't be special at the next level.
Larry English, DE|OLB/N. Illinois (Sr) - Being the 2 time DPOY for the MAC, English did not dominate the way he should have in the Independence Bowl. Before the game, he was climbing scouts' charts into the late 1st/early 2nd round, but unless he really shines at the combine/workouts/post season bowls, he might slip a little. English recorded 8 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss for the season, but saw constant double teams
RISERS (22 December 2008):
Rey Maualuga - MLB/USC (Sr) (6' 3" 260 lbs): Rey was dominant late in the season for the Men of Troy. His draft stock is continuously rising because of his relentless play and nasty hitting. Many think the USC defense is over-rated because of a weak PAC-10, I'm sure Maualuga and the USC defense are ready to unload in their best matchup of the season.
(JR) Shonn Greene - RB/Iowa (5' 11" 235 lbs): Greene might go back for his senior season and would be wise to do so but after watching his late season production I hope everyone can see how amazing this guy is. He has good vision and good feet but his productivity comes on yards after initial contact, this guy is a load and if he comes out he's probably a day one guy.
Lawrence Sidbury - DE/Richmond (Sr) (6' 4" 265 lbs): Sidbury is a small school DE who can take over a game, his play in the FCS playoffs to track down Armanti Edwards and especially his play in the FCS Championship game has given this guys draft stock a huge lift. Others say this guy is a 6th/7th round pick but after his productivity during the games that counted he is on the move up, if he does well at the combine he could easily go in the 4th round.
Kory Sperry - TE/Colorado St. (Sr) (6' 6" 255 lbs): Sperry had a nasty ACL last year and has worked his way back into not only playing well but showing glimpses of what he could do. TE's are getting very athletic, this under the radar TE saw his stock rise in the bowl game when he was double covered and won the battle to catch a much needed TD.
Tyrone McKenzie - LB/South Florida (Sr) 6' 2" 236 lbs: McKenzie was all over the field during the bowl game against Memphis. He quickly helped his stock with his ability to constantly be around the ball, will he test well enough to move into round 4 or higher is the question.
(JR) Mark Herzlich - OLB/Boston College (6' 3" 240 lbs): Watching this guy late in the season I understood why so many NFL scouts and execs love this guy. He is fearless, intense and just flat out makes plays. I would not be surprised to see this guy Round 1 to the Giants when its all said and done (right now he's a 2nd round prospect). This guy just has that Vrabel feel to him.
FALLERS (22 December 2008):
(JR) Nate Davis QB/Ball St. (6' 2" 217 lbs): Davis had a great season and helped himself potentially make a lot of money but his melt down against Buffalo has shown that he still has a long way to go. Because of the way he performed scouts are really going to take shots at his size and weight which could drop him a round or two when it's all said and done. He will need to light Tulsa up to stop the slide.
Willie Tuitama - QB/Arizona (Sr) (6' 3" 223 lbs): Even though Tuitama and Arizona won the game Tuitama was way too inconsistent in his throws. I have spoken to a few NFL scouts who say they love the size and arm strength, but his decision making and accuracy problems make them really nervous.
(JR) DJ Moore - CB/Vanderbilt (5' 10" 184 lbs): Moore had a solid season but the inevitable meltdown all were expecting from Vandy happened coupled with a few plays he was unable to make has this CB sliding. Moore will be a solid day 2 pick but if he wants to move back into the late day 1 scenario he will have to play lights out against BC.
RISERS (3 November 2008):
(JR) DE/OLB Brandon Williams, Texas Tech (6' 5" 248 lbs): Williams was fantastic against Texas and abused highly regarded left tackle Adam Ulatoski. He has now recorded 6 sacks in his last 4 games and for the season is ranked #3 in the nation with 10 sacks and 11 Tackles for loss.
(JR) LB Joe Pawelek, Baylor (6' 3" 245 lbs): A tackling machine, able to avoid blocks and get to the ball carrier. He leads the nation in tackles with 105 and has also recorded 5.5 tackles for loss (TFL), 4 pass break ups, 3 interceptions and 5 QB hurries.
(Soph) Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas (6' 3" 208 lbs): I don't normally include sophomores on this list, but Briscoe is worth mentioning. Against Oklahoma he hauled in an amazing 12 catches for 269 yards and 2 TDs and for the year he has recorded 795 yards and 10 TDs.
(JR) WR Austin Collie, BYU (6' 2" 206 lbs): The top receiver (statistically) in the nation averaging 117.6 yards per game. He recorded 9 catches for 156 yards and 3 TDs against Colorado State and for the year he has recorded 1,058 receiving yards and 11 TDs.
CB Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest (5' 9" 190 lbs): A little short but if you throw the ball in his direction look out, he is an interception machine. He intercepted 2 passes in their overtime victory against Duke and for the year has recorded 5 INTs and 13 pass break ups.
Here are a few offensive lineman that are having excellent seasons so far:
Brandon Carter, Texas Tech (6' 7" 374 lbs)
Alex Mack, California (6' 4" 316 lbs)
Max Unger, Oregon (6' 5" 308 lbs)
Russell Okung, Oklahoma State (6' 5" 302 lbs)
Rylan Reed, Texas Tech (6' 7" 307 lbs)
RISERS (28 October 2008):
DE George Selvie, South Florida (6' 4" 255 lbs): He's back. Last weekend Louisville made the mistake of trying to cover him with just a single offensive tackle. Louisville won in a 20-24 upset, but Selvie recorded 2 sacks and 4 tackles for loss in the game.
WR Darius Passmore, Marshall (6' 3" 190 lbs): This is the second time Passmore has landed on my Risers list. Passmore is a major sleeper, smooth as butter and he has a bright future in the NFL in my opinion. Against UAB last week he recorded 6 catches for 165 yards and a TD.
(JR) DE/OLB Everette Brown, Florida State (6' 4" 249 lbs): I have been very high on him all year and he really turned it on last week against, in FSU's 30-20 victory over Virginia Tech, Brown recorded 3 sacks and 4 tackles for loss (TFL). For the year he has amassed 6 sacks and 11 TFLs.
(JR) WR Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina (6' 1" 210 lbs): A big play receiver that few have heard of. He is the top receiver in the ACC and currently ranks #13 in the nation with 782 receiving yards and 7 TDs. Against Boston College last week he caught 8 passes for 139 yards and 3 TDs.
RB Cedric Peerman, Virginia (5' 11" 212 lbs): Lou Holts loves this guy and now I see why. He runs so hard and gets a lot of yards after contact. On October 25th against East Carolina he rushed 16 times for 173 yards and 2 TDs, that's a 10.81 yards per carry rushing average. On October 11th against Georgia Tech he had 25 carries for 118 yards and 1 TD. For the year he has racked up 541 yards and 7 TDs.
(JR) WR Kenny Britt, Rutgers (6' 4" 205 lbs): Rutgers pulled off a stunning upset of Pitt on 10-25-2008 and Britt was a big reason why. The young junior recorded 5 pass receptions for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns.
FS Lendy Holmes, Oklahoma (6’ 1” 205 lbs): The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week after the Sooners win against Kansas (10-18-2008), Holmes was all over the field recording 8 tackles and intercepting two passes against Jayhawk QB Todd Reesing, who had been picked off just three times coming into the game. Holmes is one of only two senior starters on the Sooners’ young defense; the Dallas native leads OU with three interceptions and is #3 in tackles with 42. The versatile Holmes has also started at CB, played a full season at WR and returned kicks during his career.
FALLERS (28 October 2008):
TE Travis Beckum, Wisconsin (6' 3" 233 lbs): He fractured his left fibula against Illinois on Saturday and will miss the rest of the season. The small tight end/large receiver wasn't having a great season anyway. He had caught only 23 passes for 264 yards and zero touchdowns for the season before the injury.
RISERS (15 October 2008):
(Soph) RB LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh (5' 11" 210 lbs): McCoy might be the running back that isn't getting much publicity, but he is as talented as any running back in the nation. His 27 yard TD run in the 4th quarter against Iowa a few weeks ago was impressive and over his last 2 games he has accumulated 291 rushing yards and 2 TDs.
(JR) LB Sergio Kindle, Texas (6' 4" 240 lbs): Kindle is finally starting to come on strong, he was impressive last week against Oklahoma. With his hand down rushing the passer he looks like a future NFL star. He finished the game with 4 tackles, 1 sack and 1 tackle for loss.
DE Willie VanDeSteeg, Minnesota (6' 4: 256 lbs): What a good looking pass rushing prospect, the Steeg has 11 tackles for loss for the season and last week in their upset win against Illinois he had a spectacular game. He finished the game with 5 tackles, 3 sacks and 3 tackles for a loss.
WR Jarett Dillard, Rice (5' 11" 180 lbs): Dillard has regained his spot as the #1 receiver in the nation. He leads the nation with an average 112 yards per game and also leads the nation with 11 touchdowns, in his last two games he has accumulated 256 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns.
LB Scott McKillop, Pittsburgh (6' 1" 240 lbs): Scotty is a very talented inside linebacker, last week against South Florida he finished with an impressive 12 tackles, 3 tackles for loss and 2 sacks.
LB Clint Sintim, Virginia (6' 3" 256 lbs): A nice looking senior linebacker that would be an ideal fit for the 3-4 defense. Last week against East Carolina Sintim has an excellent game, he finished with 7 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 tackles for loss. He is flying up the draft boards.