'09 NFL Draft: Which prospects to watch during college bowl season
December 24, 2008
With the college bowl season set to get underway, SI.com's draft guru Tony Pauline has identified potential NFL prospects playing in all the games. Check here for the first 11 bowl games. Check back soon for the final 11 games.
Larry English/DE-OLB/#51/5Sr: English, a four-year starter who's accumulated 31 combined sacks since his sophomore season, has been zipping up draft boards. He lined up at defensive end for NIU, yet shows the necessary athleticism and skill to stand up over tackle as an outside linebacker in the NFL. Scouts expect English to be selected in the third round next April.
Jon Brost/OL/#60/5Sr: Brost is another four-year starter for the Huskies and a big, tough college tackle who plays a smart brand of football. Athletically limited, he is a free agent prospect likely to be pushed into guard at the next level.
Matthew Simon/WR/#85/5Sr: Simon is a king-sized wideout who's shown himself to be a big play threat in the past. He's coming off a disappointing senior campaign but could be a diamond in the rough at the next level if he gets his game back to form.
Antonio Baker/S/#34/3Jr: Louisiana Tech's leading tackler the past two seasons, Baker is a well-rounded safety who flies around the action trying to make positive plays. He's been a well-kept secret in the scouting community and could end up as a middle-round choice in the 2010 draft.
D'Anthony Smith/DT/#5/3Jr: Smith is an undersized yet active lineman. He effectively defends the run while disrupting the opponent's game plan as a pass rusher. Smith has growth limitations yet would be a nice fit for a defense which lines up a three-technique tackle.
North Carolina State
Andre Brown/RB/24/4Sr: The Wolfpack's leading rusher three of the past four seasons, Brown was back to form in 2008 after missing most of his junior campaign with a broken foot. Brown is a well-sized ball carrier who picks up the difficult yardage on the inside yet is also an accomplished pass catcher out of the backfield. He'll have an opportunity to find a roster spot in the NFL as a team's second back and next April's poor class of senior runners could force Brown into the third frame.
Willie Young/DE/#97/4Jr: Young comes off a breakout campaign and was a constant presence in the opponent's backfield last season, totaling 6.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss. He's an athletic prospect and developing into a game changing defensive end. Young will be an early pick in 2010 if he continues to develop.
Curtis Crouch/G/#76/4Sr: Crouch is a wide-bodied blocker who controls defenders once he gets his hands on them. He's shown flashes of ability in the past three years yet never elevated his game as many expected. Crouch will fall into the late rounds as a result.
Alan-Michael Cash/DT/#49/4Jr: Cash is a high intensity defender with a non-stop motor. He measures over 6-feet, 286 pounds -- numbers which limit his potential at the next level. Cash will be a late-round pick, yet is the type of player who would be an asset to any roster.
Kenny Britt/WR/#88/3Jr: Rutgers big play receiver has an NFL body to compliment his breakaway speed. Britt led the team in receiving the past two years, setting school records for pass catching yards in both campaigns, most recently totaling 1252 yards this season. He is expected to enter April's draft and is a potential top 75 choice.
Courtney Greene/S/#36/4Sr: Greene, highly rated by NFL scouts coming into the year, finished his Rutgers career in disappointing fashion. He's an aggressive safety with outstanding size yet seemed timid and disinterested at times this year. Greene's draft stock will fall but he possesses enough ability to be a successful starter at the next level if he gets back on track.
Tiquan Underwood/WR/#7/4Sr: The Scarlet Knights' other receiver also displays himself to be a big play pass catcher while adding the element of game-breaking return specialist. Underwood fell short of expectations this season yet should be selected in the late rounds and fight a roster spot in the NFL.
Jason McCourty/CB/#25/4Sr: McCourty has teased scouts with his ability during the past two years. He's a prospect with outstanding size and terrific speed yet a cornerback with an inconsistent game.
Kevin Brock/TE/#89/5Sr: The team's starting tight end gets minimal notoriety yet does the little things well. Brock is an efficient pass catcher who holds his own as a blocker. He offers potential as a third tight end in the NFL and could slide into the late rounds next year.
Corey Wootton/DE/#99/4Jr: Wootton is an imposing figure on the field as his 6-foot-7, 275 pound frame is impossible to miss. He makes himself much more recognizable by constantly chasing down opposing quarterback and disrupting the action. Woo ten had a breakout season this year totaling nine sacks with 15 tackles for loss. He is first round material and a prospect with an exciting future.
Sherrick McManis/CB/#24/3Jr: Northwestern's starting cornerback the past two seasons, McManis possesses mouthwatering size/speed numbers and is developing the defensive back skills to match. His numbers this season included 64 tackles with 14 pass defenses. McManis offers first day potential and is a prospect to keep an eye on.
Tyrell Sutton/RB/#19/4Sr: Sutton has been the Wildcats multi-purpose ball handler the past four years. He led the team on the ground this year and caught 30 passes even though he played in just eight games. Sutton's also an accomplished return specialist and his versatility should secure him a spot in the late rounds.
John Gill/DT/#70/4Sr: Gill has been a solid four-year starter for Northwestern and a lineman who plays hard until the whistle blows. He projects as a late round selection and offers possibilities as a one-gap tackle in the NFL.
Eric Peterman/WR/10/4Sr: Peterman is a sure-handed receiver with a good head for the game. He lacks the timed speed to be anything other than a late round pick yet could find a roster spot in the NFL as a fifth receiver.
Jeremy Maclin/WR/#9/3So: The Tigers home-run hitting receiver is also a game-breaking return specialist and a threat to score anytime he handles the ball. Maclin was the only player in the nation in 2007 to record touchdowns as a receiver, ball carrier, kick returner and punt returner. He's expected to enter the draft and will be chosen in the top half of round one.
William Moore/S/#1/5Sr: Moore is a complete defensive back and a forceful run defender who also displays skill in pass coverage. He's also a terrific athlete yet scouts are concerned his 230 pound frame may be slightly to big for the quickness needed to play centerfield in the NFL. Expect Moore to be the second Tiger selected in round one next April.
Sean Weatherspoon/OLB/#12/3Jr: Missouri's leading tackler the past two years, Weatherspoon is a fast, fluid athlete that also stands out in coverage. Weatherspoon intercepted three passes and broke up six more this season. He's developing into a complete three down defender and with measurables of 7-foot-1 and 235 pounds, with 4.55 forty speed, he will be sought after by a number of one gap defenses when he enters the draft.
Chase Coffman/TE/#45/4Sr: Coffman was the recipient of the 2008 John Mackey Award, given to the nation's top tight end. One of the most prolific pass catching tight ends in the nation the past four years, Coffman finished his senior season with 83 receptions, bringing his college total to 239. He does not possess the speed many of his tight end counterparts in April's draft offer, yet Coffman is solid value in round two.
Evander Hood/DT/#94/4Sr: The Tigers starting tackle since his sophomore campaign, Hood has been a disruptive force on the inside as his quickness and explosion gives opponents fits. He tips the scales at 295 pounds and offers ability at tackle in a conventional 4-3 alignment.
Stryker Sulak/DE-OLB/#38/5Sr: Missouri's sack-master, Sulak recorded 8.5 sacks and 13 tackles for losses this year. Sulak is a 242-pound college defensive end who has the speed to transition to linebacker in the NFL.
Chase Daniel/QB/#10/4Sr: Daniel started off hot this season and was making believers of NFL scouts before the wheels began to come off. He's dropping down draft boards and has been labeled as the dreaded "system quarterback".
Marko Mitchell/WR/#4/4Sr: Mitchell is a fluid, graceful pass catcher with natural receiving skills. He's been moderately successful in college yet has never dominated the competition as scouts thought possible. Mitchell possesses third round talent yet the inability to produce on a big time level will push him into the late frames.
Josh Mauga/ILB/#30/4Sr: Mauga has been a force on the Nevada defense since his freshman season, missing just a handful of games in '07 with a knee injury. He's a terrific run defender who makes plays in the box and chases hard to get involved in the action. Mauga offers potential as a back-up at a number of linebacker positions.
Dominic Green/C/#51/5Sr: Green's been Nevada's starting center the past four years, except when he was seeing action at guard as a freshman. He is a quick, explosive lineman who displays ability blocking in motion. The versatility to handle several spots on the offensive line will have teams looking at him in the late rounds.
Uche Anyanwyu/S/#17/5Sr: The Wolfpack's leading tackler this season, Anyanwyu is a big, strong run defending safety. He is presently flying under the radar screen but would be a good fit in a zone defense or as a conventional strong safety.
Darrius Heyward-Bey/WR/#8/4Jr: Heyward-Bey made an immediate impact at Maryland the moment he stepped on the field. Awarded All-America honors after his freshman and sophomore campaigns, he is considered one of the most explosive deep threats in the nation. His '08 campaign got off to a slow start and his final total of 38 receptions for 561 receiving yards was a disappointment. NFL scouts still give Heyward-Bey high grades and the junior is expected to enter the draft then come away as a first round pick.
Jaimie Thomas/G/76/5Sr: Thomas is a wide-bodied blocker who moves well on his feet. He measures 6-foot-4 and 330-pounds yet is nimble enough to take defenders from the action blocking in motion. Thomas has the skills to start in the NFL and should be selected in the fourth round area.
Dan Gronkowski/TE/#18/5Sr: Gronkowski is a well-rounded tight end who presented himself as a receiving threat this season after primarily being used as a blocker the prior two years. He's middle round material with enough skill to develop into a number two tight end on the NFL level.
Moise Fokou/OLB/#48/5Sr: One of the hidden gems at the linebacker position, Fokou is a terrific athlete with the speed and skill to play in the NFL. He's best in pursuit and is a three down defender who makes plays in every direction. Fokou will be good value in the late rounds.
Kevin Barnes/CB/#2/5Sr: Barnes was one of the higher-rated senior cornerbacks at the start of the season and was playing well until a shoulder injury put him on the shelf seven games into the schedule. He possesses top 100 talent yet his final draft grade will be determined by the prognosis of his injury at February's combine.
Jeremy Navarre/DE/#40/5Sr: Navarre is an intense defender with limited physical skills. His non-stop motor could help him secure a spot in the late rounds and Navarre will have a real opportunity as a rotational lineman in the NFL.
Max Unger/C-OT/#60/4Sr: Unger is a four-year starter for the Ducks and has played a number of positions on the offensive line. His size, versatility and production has caused him to soar up draft boards. Unger projects as a top 45 choice in April's draft and as either a center or right tackle.
Jeremiah Johnson/RB/#24/4Sr: Johnson is another Oregon senior flying up draft boards as he did a great job this season taking over the starting role from the departed Jonathan Stewart, a first round pick in last April's draft. He's an elusive ball carrier who creates his own yardage and is also experienced as a return specialist. Johnson has done enough to get consideration in the third round of the draft.
Fenuki Tupou/OT/#57/5Sr: Tupou arrived at Oregon from Sierra College and has been a major force on the offensive line the past two seasons. He's an athletic blocker with the skills to protect the blind side as well as the size (6-5 and 330 pounds) to line up on the right side. Tupou impressed scouts this season and could also hear his name called in round three.
Patrick Chung/S/#15/5Sr: Oregon's starting safety the past four years, Chung has been a team leader in tackles since his freshman campaign. He's a steady run defender whose skills in coverage are a little suspect. Another third round prospect, Chung is likely to be selected for a defense which will use him as a traditional strong safety.
LaGarrette Blount/RB/#9/3Jr: Blunt burst onto the scene at Oregon this season after transferring from East Mississippi CC. He's a big bodied ball carrier (6-2 and 235 pounds) with the power to hammer opponents on the inside as well as the speed to pick up big chinks of yardage from the line of scrimmage in the open field. Blount offers great upside and could make a big leap up draft boards if he proves capable of carrying the load in 2009.
Ed Dickson/TE/#83/4Jr: The athletic tight end offers natural receiving skills and the speed necessary to create mismatches in the secondary. He'll be one of the higher rated tight ends heading into the college season next year.
Brandon Pettigrew/TE/#87/5Sr: One of the most complete tight ends in the nation, Pettigrew has been Oklahoma State's starting tight end for the past four years. He's an athletic 6-foot-6, 255 pounds and possesses the speed to make receptions deep into the secondary as well as the strength to block defenders from the action. Pettigrew was stamped with a first-round grade during his junior year and should quickly break into a starting line-up in the NFL.
Russell Okung/OT/#76/3Jr: Okung could well be the best tackle you've never heard of. He's a sensational pass protector who also moves defenders off the line in run blocking situations. Okung reportedly is considering entering April's draft and could slide into the last few selections of round one should he opt for the NFL.
Zac Robinson/QB/#11/4Jr: Oklahoma State's athletic signal caller has passed for big numbers the past two years while minimizing mistakes. He's an efficient signal caller and an effective lead. Robinson projects as a mid-round selection in 2010.
Jarett Dillard/WR/#81/5Sr: Rice's record-setter is a four-year starter and the program's first All-America selection in five decades. He's a sure handed wideout who topped the century mark in receiving yards the past three years. He's also an outstanding red zone threat and owns the NCAA record for career touchdown receptions with 59 -- just one of five college marks Dillard owns. He also offers potential as a return specialist and will be great value in the middle rounds of April's draft.
Andrew Sendejo/S/#30/3Jr: Sendejo is a terrific run defender and has led the Owls in tackles the past two seasons. He offers the size to make plays downhill in a zone system. Sendejo also has a special teams mentality which makes him even more attractive to NFL decision makers.
Louis Delmas/S/#9/4Sr: Delmas is a productive four year starter and a centerfielder effective in run defense or pass coverage. He's a nice sized athlete with good speed, which he uses returning kicks. Delmas has the ability to play in a variety of defensive systems in the NFL and grades out as a third round pick.
Jamarko Simmons/WR/#27/5Sr: Simmons is one of the premier possession receivers in the nation. He posted 98 receptions for 1184 yards as a senior, both career bests. Simmons measures 6-feet, 2-inches and 230 pounds, and is getting consideration at tight end by a number of teams. He'll be a solid pick in the middle rounds.
Tim Hiller/QB/#3/4Jr: Hiller is coming off of two very productive seasons and has NFL scouts talking. He's a well sized passer who can throw the deep ball and does an outstanding job commanding the offense. Hiller is poised to be one of the higher rated quarterbacks moving towards his senior season.
Brandon Ledbetter/TE/#82/5Sr: Western Michigan has recently placed some productive tight ends into the NFL, most notably Tony Scheffler of the Denver Broncos. Ledbetter is a similar type of prospect in that he's athletic, fluid and a natural pass catcher. In a year full of quality tight ends Ledbetter is likely to slip through the cracks and will be good value anywhere after the fifth round.
Londen Fryar/CB/#6/5Sr: The son of former NFL receiver Irving Fryar, Londen is loaded with talent for the next level. Fryar possesses terrific ball skills and flashes big time ability yet has shown limited consistency the past three years.
Travis Dekker/TE/#88/5Sr: Dekker is an efficient tight end who attends to the details of the position. His size/speed numbers are less than desirable which will push him out of the draft's seven rounds.
Mark Hafner/TE/#87/5Sr: Hafner is in the midst of a breakout season and his 85-receptions this season more than doubles his total from a year ago. He does not possess classic tight end size and may be used as an H-back at the next level. Hafner has played himself into the late rounds.
Phillip Hunt/OLB/#53/5Sr: Hunt, a college defensive end who projects to outside linebacker in the NFL, is a quick edge rusher who gets a lot of pressure up the field. He's likely to fall into the late rounds next April, though his stock could rise with good forty times during pre-draft workouts.
Kenneth Fontenette/S/#28/5Sr: Houston's starting safety the past four years, Fontenette led the Cougars in tackles this season with 89 after topping the unit with four interceptions as a junior. He's a hard hitting defensive back who voluntarily defends the run but is built more like a cornerback at 5-feet 10-inches and 187-pounds, and projects as a nickel back in the NFL.
Darrell Stuckey/S/#25/4Jr: The two year starter took his game to another level this season leading the Jayhawks with five interceptions and ranking second in tackles with 94. Stuckey is an athletic defensive back with solid measurables. He offers good upside potential and will be a first day pick in 2010 if he continues to piece together his game.
Kerry Meier/WR/#10/4Jr: Meier, formerly the team's back-up quarterback, made the successful transition to starting receiver and led Kansas with 87 receptions this season. He's a large possession wide out who uses his signal caller smarts to read the defense and find the open spot on the field. Meier has the makings of a second wide out in the NFL.
James Holt/LB/#12/4Sr: Holt has been one of the better box linebackers in the Big 12 the past two years. He posted 97 tackles last season along with 15.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Holt possesses the size and speed numbers to play the weak side position in the NFL if he learns to make plays in reverse rather than just up the field.
Eric Decker/WR/#7/4Jr: Decker continued to build upon what was a terrific sophomore campaign and totaled 76 receptions for 925 receiving yards this season. He's a focused receiver with reliable hands and an NFL frame. Decker is a top 75 pick with the ability to develop into a number two receiver at the next level.
Willie VanDeSteeg/DE/#91/4Jr: VanDeSteeg is in the throws of a terrific campaign. His 18 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks both rank near the top of the charts in the Big Ten. VanDeSteeg is a smart lineman who plays hard until the whistle blows. He's got a tall frame with the potential to add bulk and should be a solid middle round choice in the future.
Traye Simmons/CB/#15/3Jr: Simmons made an immediate impact on the Gopher defense after this season after transferring from junior college. His 13 pass break-ups led the Big Ten and Simmons added four interceptions to his total. He offers the size (5-11, 182 pounds) and speed (4.45 forty) to play in the NFL and scouts are now monitoring him closely.
Jack Simmons/TE/#15/5Sr: Simmons the tight end is a solid pass catcher coming off a career season. He will be brought into a camp this summer and has enough size and skill to make a roster as a third tight end.
Keenan Lewis/CB/#6/5Sr: Lewis, one of the nation's best senior cornerbacks this season, is quietly moving up draft boards. He's a four year starter who picked off three passes this year, even though opposing quarterbacks tried to stay away from him. Lewis grades out as a top 40 pick and offers the size and skill necessary to start at the next level.
Andy Levitre/OL/#66/5Sr: Levitre is a three year starter that's played both the left and right tackle spots. He blocks with great fundamentals, intelligence and intensity. Levitre is coming off a sensational season in which he improved his draft stock two full rounds. He's likely to move inside to either the guard or center positions and will quickly break into a starting line-up in the NFL.
Sammie Stroughter/WR/#19/5Sr: Stroughter rebounded well this season after missing most of the '07 campaign with injury and personal circumstances. He proved himself to be a big play receiver in '08, consistently coming away with clutch receptions in the games important moments. Stroughter ranks as a mid-round choice but could be selected earlier if he runs well in pre-draft workouts.
Al Afalava/S/#9/4Sr: The Beavers big safety started the season slowly then built momentum as the campaign came to a close. Afalava is a hard hitter who packs a wallop and stands out in run defense. His pass cover skills are suspect and Afalava is a middle round choice for a team which employs a zone system or uses a strong safety.
Brandon Hughes/CB/#36/5Sr: Hughes is a well sized corner who broke up eleven passes last year, tops on the Oregon State defense. He's another well sized defensive back with a good degree of upside potential. Hughes is a middle round selection who could be a late riser up draft boards.
Slade Norris/OLB/#58/5Sr: Norris is Oregon State's top defensive end, leading the team in tackles for loss (17) and sacks (9). He projects to outside linebackers at the next level and offers the skills needed to make the transition. Look for Norris to be drafted in the later rounds.
LeSean McCoy/RB/#25/3So: McCoy comes off an impressive season and was the main force behind a Pittsburgh offense that ranked first in scoring in the Big East Conference. He's an elusive runner who makes defenders miss and creates yardage when none is seemingly available. McCoy, a top 75 choice, has publicly stated he will return to college, but scouts are skeptical at this point.
Scott McKillop/ILB/#40/5Sr: McKillop has been one of the nation's leading tacklers the past two year and one of the best run defending linebackers. He's got a great head for the ball and is constantly around the action. Measuring 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds with 4.76 speed, McKillop lacks the triangular numbers to be a first round selection yet will be a quality pick in the third round area.
Greg Romeus/DE/#91/3So: Romeus is a developing defensive end who shows the ability to be a disruptive force. Leading the Panthers with 5.5 sacks, Romeus also totaled 13.5 tackles for loss this season. He's a terrific athlete who will be a very early pick in the near future.
Joe Thomas/OT/#56/3Jr: Thomas has made major strides this season since becoming a fulltime starter. He has the versatility to play offensive guard or tackle and a frame which will get stronger as he physically matures. Thomas is a future first day pick if he continues to develop his game.
Mark Herzlich/OLB/#94/3Jr: Herzlich elevated his game this season and developed into a complete, three down linebacker. He forces the action up the field or effectively drops off the line to defend the pass, all the while playing with great intelligence and discipline. He's a mid-first round projection right now yet if Herzlich remains true to his word and returns to Boston College for one more season he could be a top ten pick in 2010.
B.J. Raji/DT/#90/5Sr: Raji has been nothing short of fantastic in his return to the field after missing the '07 campaign with academic issues. He's a wide bodied plugger who shuts down the inside lanes with his ability to clog gaps. Raji grades as a top 50 pick and could be selected in round one if he performs well at the combine.
Ryan Purvis/TE/#80/5Sr: The Eagles starting tight end comes off a disappointing campaign and posted just 20 receptions in ten games last season. He's an efficient prospect with solid size/speed numbers yet not a tight end who stands out in any single aspect of the game. Purvis is a solid mid-to-late round selection who could battle to be a number two tight end in the NFL.
Matt Tennant/C/#65/4Jr: Tennant is a two year starter and the next top center from the Boston College program. He possesses a good head for the game, NFL size and growth potential. Tennant will be one of the highest rated college centers moving towards the 2010 season.
Robert Francois/OLB/#35/5Sr: Francois took over the starting linebacker spot six games into the season and has since put up career numbers of 72 tackles and eight tackles for loss. He's a superb athlete with an NFL frame and a lot of upside. Francois is likely to slide into the late rounds and will surprise at the next level as he gets more playing experience and develops his game.
Ron Brace/DT/#60/5Sr: Brace has been a consistent starter in the middle of the Eagles defensive line. He beats opponents with a quick first step off the snap and offers potential at the next level as a rotational lineman.
D.J. Moore/CB/#17/3Jr: Moore has been a dominant presence for bowl bound Vanderbilt this season. He ranks as one of the best cornerbacks in the nation the past two years and has a combined total of 12 interceptions. Moore also caught seven passes this season when lined up at receiver, averaging 20.4 yards per reception. He's also a game impacting kick returner. The sum total of these parts will put Moore into the draft's first round as the second cornerback selected if he jumps to the NFL, which seems to be the case.
Reshard Langford/S/#33/5Sr: The Commodores starting safety the past four years, Langford is a stout run defender that posted at least 50 tackles every season since his freshman campaign. He's a late round pick with the size, speed and smarts to start as a strong safety.
Patrick Benoist/ILB/#30/3Jr: Benoist comes off a breakout season last year after becoming a permanent starter. His 100 tackles led the Vanderbilt defense as Benoist displayed himself as a tough run defender who can also handle coverage responsibilities. He's a small yet explosive linebacker built for a one-gap system.
Michael Johnson/DE/#93/4Sr: Johnson graded as the number one senior prospect by NFL scouting services at the start of the season. He's an explosive pass rusher with great edge speed and fast enough to pursue the action from the backside. Johnson played well this season but was not consistently dominant on the field. Scouts are concerned about his motor and intensity. He's a mid-first round pick that offers great upside and will be a force at the next level if the light goes on.
Andrew Gardner/OT/#74/5Sr: Gardner has been an efficient and effective blocker for Georgia Tech since moving into the starting line-up as a freshman. His streak of 48 consecutive starts was cut short by a shoulder injury in November. Gardner gets the most from his abilities and plays the position well yet offers limited upside. He projects as a middle round choice and will be an asset to have on a roster.
Darryl Richard/DT/#95/5Sr: Richard is a high motor defender coming off one of his best seasons at Georgia Tech. He's an explosive interior lineman and above average athlete. Richard, who started the past three seasons after a serious knee injury in 2005, is a solid mid-to-late round selection in April.
Vance Walker/DT/#99/4Sr: The Yellow Jackets other defensive tackle also grades out well with scouts. Walker has the quickness, movement skills and body type to play be used as a three technique lineman in the NFL. He also projects as a mid-to-late round choice.
Jahi Word-Daniels/CB/#32/4Sr: Georgia Tech's starting cornerback the past two and a half seasons, Daniels missed five games this season with a hamstring injury but will return against LSU. He's a nice sized corner with the physical skills to play in the NFL. Jahi Word-Daniels is a late round choice that projects as a dime back at the next level.
Herman Johnson/G/#79/5Sr: Johnson is a massive lineman that starts at guard for the Tigers yet could very well have his 6-foot-6, 360-pound frame moved to right tackle in the NFL. He's a dominant force who engulfs defenders at the point of attack, smothering opponents and removing them from the action. Johnson needs to improve the details of his game. He's got first round talent yet must show up to the combine and pre-draft workouts in top shape if he's to be selected during the initial 32 choices.
Tyson Jackson/DE/#93/LSU: Jackson is a three-year starter and a force on the field when focused on the task at hand. He's very athletic with terrific size (6-4 and 297-pound) and offers the ability to be used in a conventional system or as a two gap end. Jackson shows flashes of brilliance then disappears for stretches, something that concerns NFL decision makers. He's a first round talent but will be branded as a boom or bust prospect.
Darry Beckwith/LB/#48/4Sr: Beckwith is an all-around defender with the ability to be placed at a number of linebacker spots. He's a forceful run defender in the middle who makes plays sideline-to-sideline yet also displays skills in pass coverage which were developed when he played weak-side linebacker early in his LSU career. Beckwith has struggled with a knee injury most of the season yet still projects as a top 45 choice and offers starting potential in the NFL.
Brandon LaFell/WR/#1/4Jr: LaFell had a breakout campaign this year, his second as a starter for LSU. The big bodied wide out totaled 61 receptions and eight touchdowns as the teams number one receiver. He's being compared to former first-round pick Dwayne Bowe and offers great upside for the next level.
Ciron Black/OT/#70/4Jr: Black is another large and talented lineman on the LSU roster. He's been awarded All-Conference and All-America honors since his freshman campaign. Black offers a great degree of upside yet needs a lot of work to complete his game and presently projects as a late second round choice. Black could easily move into the first round of the 2010 draft if he shows progress as a senior.
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