Risers and Sliders

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Oregon's unexpected loss to Arizona shook up more than the college football world. Quarterback DennisDixon's knee injury, suffered during the game, will shake up a number of draft boards around the NFL as players continue to rise and slide.

Martin Rucker/TE/Missouri: Rucker, rated by several NFL scouting services as the top senior tight end, has had a career season in 2007. He is a natural pass-catcher with outstanding size (6 feet-5 1/2 and 250 pounds) and speed (4.69 seconds in the 40). Rucker's blocking needs improvement, but he presently grades as a top-100 pick next April.

Chase Coffman/TE/Missouri: Coffman is a shade taller than his teammate (6-5) and equally accomplished catching the ball. He is a slightly better blocker and will be given consideration in the initial three rounds if he enters the draft.

Spencer Larsen/LB/Arizona: Arizona's leading tackler has been marching up draft boards this season. Larson has been outstanding defending the run, posting 116 tackles in 11 games, and scouts have been impressed with his improved play in pass coverage. He now grades as a third-round pick.

Wesley Woodyard/LB/Kentucky: Woodyard has been a force for the Kentucky defense all year. He's totaled 113 tackles this season, the best mark in the SEC to date. Woodyard was omnipresent in the Wildcats' loss to Georgia, posting 12 total tackles, one sack and a forced fumbled.

Tyvon Branch/CB/Connecticut: Branch has been a productive performer this season in the Connecticut secondary and on special teams. The fifth-leading tackler on the defense with 72, an inordinate amount for a cornerback, he also ranks first with nine passes defended. He could be headed into the draft's first three rounds.

Darius Hill/TE/Ball State: Hill is considered one of the top underclassmen prospects at tight end. He is a terrific pass catcher and has totaled 52 receptions this season with a 15-yard per catch average. Add in eight touchdown receptions and Hill could easily be a top 100 selection if he enters the draft.

Andre Caldwell/WR/Florida: Caldwell started the season slowly after struggling with an injury which kept him on the sidelines for three games, but he's been on fire the past month. He has accumulated 37 receptions in the Gators last four games with an average near 13 yards per catch.

Angelo Craig/DE/Cincinnati: Craig has turned a few heads since moving into the starting lineup and has significantly improved his game as a senior. He has already amassed a career-high eight tackles for loss and is receiving consideration as a rush linebacker for a number of 3-4 teams.

Matt Flynn/QB/LSU: Flynn has done a solid job helping the Tigers to the No. 1 spot in the BCS rankings, but scouts are not overly excited about his next level potential. He's made poor decisions under duress this season and his 11 interceptions are cause for concern.

Terrance Taylor/DT/Michigan: Taylor was expected to take up the slack after Alan Branch departed for the NFL. He's flashed ability at times this season, but in many situations disappears for stretches. The junior needs to dedicate himself to preseason conditioning and consistently play at a high level to meet the expectations of NFL scouts.

Mario Urrutia/WR/Louisville: The Louisville junior has talked about entering the NFL draft the past two years. His play in 2007 has been slowed by an assortment of factors including injury. Urrutia is having his worst season since his freshman campaign.

Allen Patrick/RB/Oklahoma: Patrick had a fast start to the season. bit has his production and workload have diminished in recent weeks. He carried the ball just twice for nine yards against Texas Tech and had no receptions.

Dennis Dixon's knee injury could afford an opportunity for another senior quarterback. Tennessee's Erik Ainge is likely to be Dixon's replacement in the Senior Bowl. The senior class of wide receivers prospects is so poor, the Senior Bowl may put six tight ends on this year's roster, rather than the usual four. Thus far invitations are expected to be sent to Rucker, Notre Dame John Carlson, USC's Fred Davis,Kentucky's Jacob Tamme and Purdue's DustinKeller. Cole Bennett of Auburn is on the short list to receive the final invitation.