After undergoing successful surgery on his throwing shoulder last week, Sam Bradford is likely to enter next April's draft. If so, it remains to be seen where he will land. The recovery time for his surgery is predicted to be four to six months, meaning there's a real possibility he will not throw for scouts prior to April's draft.
Would a team at the top of the draft rely solely on Oklahoma's game film from the 2008 season to assess Bradford? Probably not. Most teams in the top 10 of the draft would want Bradford to participate in a workout where he'd be asked to throw 40 to 50 NFL type passes. That type of workout helped propel Matt Stafford to the top of the 2009 draft. At present, the more likely scenario is that Bradford falls to the middle of round one or later, to a team that can afford to be patient with him.
Here are this week's risers and sliders.
Jason Pierre-Paul/DE/South Florida: Senior George Selvie received most of the preseason hype but junior college transfer Jason Pierre-Paul is getting the praise during the season from NFL scouts. The athletic defender quickly nailed down the starting job and currently leads the team in tackles for loss (9.5). He's just scratching the surface of his football ability, that's why personnel people around the league are excited about his future.
Russell Okung/T/Oklahoma State: The Cowboys were thumped at home by Texas and Okung still looked stellar. The left tackle shut down the Longhorn pass rush, which didn't record a sack. Okung handled future first-round pick Sergio Kindle and junior SamAcho, a potential top 50 pick. Okung has solidified his projection as the top senior tackle in April's draft. He's making a case to be a top six selection.
Jordan Shipley/WR/Texas: He made the right decision to put the NFL on hold last April after being granted another year of eligibility by the NCAA. He's on pace for over 1,000 receiving yards and his most productive season at Texas. He's easily improved his draft stock a full two rounds from a year ago.
Bruce Carter/OLB/North Carolina: The all-purpose linebacker is also one of the best special teams players in the nation. He played a crucial role in Carolina's upset of Virginia Tech, helping contain the Hokies' multi-dimensional signal caller Tyrod Taylor. The junior grades as a top 40 choice.
Ed Dickson/TE/Oregon: Dickson has greatly benefited from Oregon's spread offense as scouts have been impressed by his receiving skills. A three-year starter, Dickson is on pace for his best season. He projects as a move tight end who could be a top 50 pick.
Ryan Stamper/LB/Florida: Stamper leads the Gators in tackles and is efficient stuffing the run or covering the pass. Discipline and ability to be in the right place at the right time has pushed his draft stock north.
Stephen Paea/DT/Oregon State: The little-known Paea has built a buzz in the scouting community. The junior is drawing comparisons to former first-round pick Sedrick Ellis based on his size and style of play. He was a dominant force during the Beavers' win over UCLA, making three sacks, three tackles for loss and forcing a pair of fumbles.
*Sleeper* Jameson Konz/TE/Kent State: The former linebacker who sat on the sidelines in 2008 with an ankle injury has made a seamless transition to tight end. At 6-foot-3 and 233 pounds, he is credited with a verified 40 of 4.42 seconds. He has caught 17 passes (14.2 per catch average) in his first full season at the position. Scouts gave Konz a "wait and see" grade at the start of the season. The senior now has a chance to receive an invite to February's combine.
Jason Cole/OLB/San Jose St: Cole is 6-3, 241 pounds with 4.7 in the forty. He was rated as a potential top 45 choice entering the season but has played more like a middle-round pick this season. Cole has 37 tackles in seven games but no sacks. He's often caught out of position on the field. Scouts believe he is capable of much more.
Derrick Washington/RB/Missouri: Washington had a stellar sophomore season in '08 but is disappointing this year. Rushing yards have been tougher to come by in that he has only one 100-yard rushing game in '09. His draft stock drop has dropped accordingly.
Jarriel King/OT/South Carolina: King is another junior in the midst of a disappointing campaign. The left tackle looked like a big-time prospect last season but has struggled and looked very ordinary in 2009.
Notes: For the first time in almost a year, Mississippi defensive end Greg Hardy is healthy. The results are obvious. He made two tackles for loss and a pair of sacks in last week's loss to Auburn.