NFL Draft 2008 preview: Offense
NFL scouts have been hard at work all summer preparing for the 2008 draft. Their analysis --the senior class looks woeful and an infusion of underclassmen talent is needed on both sides of the ball. Here are the top NFL pro prospects on offense.
(U) -- indicates underclassmen
Though no quarterback grades out as a top-five selection, there is plenty of depth and potential at the position.
Brian Brohm/Louisville: An intelligent passer who commands the offense, Brohm does not possess a great NFL arm but is worthy of a top-20 pick.
Chad Henne/Michigan: A big-armed passer who easily gets the ball downfield, Henne has made major strides the past two seasons. Offering the physical make-up to be an NFL starter, Henne could charge up boards if he shows improved accuracy and pass placement this season.
John David Booty/USC: A prototypical pocket passer who improved weekly last season, Booty has all the skills needed to be a first-round pick. If he can withstand the loss of his top two receivers and take his game to the next level, he could be an early selection.
Matt Ryan/Boston College: He's one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the nation. If he displays the ability to throw the deep ball this season, he could sneak into round one.
Colt Brennan/Hawaii: While it's clear Brennan benefits from playing in the pass-happy Hawaii offense, he cannot be classified as a system quarterback. The biggest drawback is that he lacks the size and arm strength scouts look for at the next level.
Sleeper -- Sam Keller/Nebraska: Injury and an unceremonious demotion from the starting job led to his departure from Arizona State. Yet he is a talented passer with good size and arm strength.
Overrated -- Andre Woodson/Kentucky: He effectively leads the Wildcat offense and can throw the ball a country mile, but his pass placement and accuracy leave a lot to be desired.
The senior class of running backs looks terrible. On the other hand, three underclassmen grade out as first-round prospects.
Darren McFadden (U)/Arkansas: A tremendous combination of size, power, speed and instinct, McFadden could be one of the first three players drafted in '08 if he stays healthy.
Steve Slaton (U)/West Virginia: Very much in the mold of Reggie Bush, Slaton is an explosive ball carrier with excellent speed.
Jonathan Stewart (U)/Oregon: Stewart is another big, powerful back with speed. He has all the makings of a feature runner at the next level.
Allen Patrick/Oklahoma: He filled in nicely for the injured Adrian Peterson last season. Now this speedy back must prove he can handle the load for a full season.
Ryan Torian/Arizona State: A well-sized back with surprising speed, Torian offers good upside.
Sleeper -- Tashard Choice/Georgia Tech: With everyone focusing on Calvin Johnson the past two seasons, it was easy to dismiss Choice. A smart back with power on the inside, he is now the central point of Tech's offense.
Overrated -- Mike Hart/Michigan: Productive on the college level and a back with a well-rounded game, Hart's deficient size/speed/strength numbers make him best-suited as a situational runner in the NFL.
The senior class is rife with big, strong possession receivers, while game breakers can be found in the junior class.
DeSean Jackson (U)/WR/California: A game-breaking skill prospect with home-run hitting speed, Jackson is a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the ball. Already an accomplished receiver, he also strikes fear in opponents returning punts or kicks.
Mario Manningham (U)/WR/Michigan: Quite similar to Jackson, Manningham is a terrific wideout who also gets positive results as a return specialist.
Limas Sweed/WR/Texas: A king-sized pass catcher, Sweed is a prototypical possession wideout and a devastating red-zone threat.
Fred Davis/TE/USC: Athletic and dependable, Davis is a terrific receiver who must improve his blocking.
Malcolm Kelly (U)/WR/Oklahoma: Kelly is a natural receiver with sure hands. He's effective in the underneath coverage and also flashes the ability to break it deep.
Brandon Pettigrew (U)/TE/Oklahoma St: One of the more unheralded tight ends in the nation, Pettigrew is a complete player, getting results as a blocker and pass catcher.
Sleeper -- Davone Bess (U)/WR/Hawaii: Slight of size, Bess is an ultra-productive receiver who also breaks games open as a return specialist.
Overrated -- Adarius Bowman/WR/Oklahoma St: Bowman has great size but possesses minimal speed and is inconsistent.
Next April's draft has terrific potential at the offensive tackle position, which will make NFL general managers smile. The center and guard spots are void of talent.
Jake Long/OT/Michigan: Long is a king-sized blocker who mans the blind side for Henne. Offering great upside, he has the versatility to be used at either tackle spot.
Ryan Clady (U)/OT/Boise St: Clady is another blocker with good size and good instincts. If he enters April's draft he'll likely be graded as the top blind-side tackle.
Gosder Cherilus/OT/Boston College: The latest in a long line of quality blockers to come from Boston College, Cherilus is a dominant run blocker with great upside.
Sam Baker/OT/USC: Opinions are mixed on Baker, who comes off a disappointing junior season. Yet the facts are he has been a solid pass protector the past three years for one of the nation's top offenses.
Michael Oher (U)/OT/Mississippi: Combining superior size and great athletic ability, Oher has incredible potential. He'll be a highly rated prospect if he polishes up his game.
Tony Hills/OT/Texas: A fundamentally sound tackle who stands out in pass protection, Hills is one of the more underrated tackles in the nation.
Chris Williams/OT/Vanderbilt: Williams is a physical specimen with both size and growth potential. Handling the left tackle duties for the Commodores, he could eventually grow into a strongside blocker.
Eric Young/OG/Tennessee: Playing right tackle for the Volunteers, Young's playing style and body type dictates a move inside at the next level.
Heath Benedict/OG/Newberry: The former Tennessee Volunteer is a large, dominant blocker with first-day potential.
John Sullivan/OC/Notre Dame: Standing head and shoulders above the rest of the center class, Sullivan is a hard worker with a great head for the position.
Sleeper -- Augustus Parrish (U)/OT/Kent State: Big and athletic, Parrish is a terrific pass-blocking left tackle with a large degree of upside.
Overrated -- Barry Richardson/OT/Clemson: Richardson shows flashes of dominance yet gives inconsistent effort.