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Thread: Nationa'ls Top 25

  1. #1
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    May 2004

    Nationa'ls Top 25

    Here are the top 25 NFL prospects from the senior class as graded by National.

    Prince Amukamara/CB/Nebraska/7.3: Amukamara offers NFL size (6-feet, 201 pounds) which he uses to shut down opponents regularly. His game has shown tremendous improvement the past two seasons and scouts are excited about his upside.

    Adrian Clayborn/DE/Iowa/7.3: Clayborn is a terrific pass rusher who must improve his skills defending the run.

    Mark Herzlich/OLB/Boston College/7.2: Herzlich's grade is equal to the one he received last year after his cancer diagnoses.

    Allen Bailey/DL/Miami-Fl/6.9: For years the Miami program put quality defensive linemen into the NFL yet they've not had one selected in the first round since 2004 (Vince Wilfork). Bailey, who can play a variety of positions up front, is set to reverse the recent trend.

    Von Miller/OLB/Texas A&M/6.9: Miller will begin the season as the premier 3-4 outside linebacker.

    Greg Romeus/DE/Pittbugh/6.8: Romeus has been a force for the Panthers defense since his freshman season. He's a terrific athlete with an NFL body (6-5, 267).

    Marvin Austin/DT/North Carolina/6.7: Austin draws a variety of opinions in scouting circles. His physical ability is on a par with any defender in the senior class. His gameday intensity is not.

    Christian Ponder/QB/Florida State/6.7: Ponder, who already completed his Master's Degree at FSU, scored a big number on the pre-season Wonderlic. He lacks the eye-popping stats on the college level yet is considered the most NFL-ready passer in the senior class.

    Jake Locker/QB/Washington/6.7: Scouts applauded Locker's decision to return to college for another season. He has the athletic skills and leadership ability to be the centerpiece of a franchise yet needs to improve the consistency of his throwing mechanics.

    ANDREW PERLOFF: Analyzing Ponder-Locker debate and more draft observations

    Stephen Paea/DT/Oregon State/6.5: Paea, who measures 6-1, 306, compares favorably in style and substance to another Pac-10 performer, former first-round pick Sedrick Ellis.

    Anthony Castonzo/T/Boston College/6.5: Castonzo is a tall (6-7) and athletic pass protector with the ability to hold down the all important left tackle position at the next level.

    Pernell McPhee/DE/Mississippi State/6.4: The junior college all-American was a dominant force in the SEC during the 2009 season, his first at MSU. McPhee is a terrific pass rusher who holds up well defending the run.

    Stefen Wisniewski /C/Penn State/6.4: Wisniewski plays a smart and tough brand of football, just like his Pro-Bowl father.

    Jeremy Beal/DE/Oklahoma/6.3: Beal has been a disruptive force the past two seasons, combining for 34.5 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks.

    Ross Homan/LB/Ohio State/6.3: Many in the scouting community think Homan is a better NFL prospect than former Buckeye star James Laurinaitis.

    DeMarcus Love/T/Arkansas/6.3: Love is an athletic tackle who will get consideration at guard from a number of teams.

    DeMarco Murray/RB/Oklahoma/6.3: Murray, the highest rated senior running back on the list, must stay healthy to maintain a high draft grade.

    Niles Paul/WR/Nebraska/6.3: Paul, a terrific possession wideout, is an enticing target who measures 6-1, 222.

    Jimmy Smith/CB/Colorado/6.2: Smith possesses outstanding size/speed numbers (6-2, 201, 4.46 forty time). He has a large upside and was wise to return for his senior season.

    Ras-I Dowling/CB/Virginia/6.2: Dowling is another well-sized cornerback at 6-1, 199. His ball skills and overall game significantly improved last season.

    Jabaal Sheard/DE/Pittsburgh/6.2: Sheard is a terrific player and a solid pass rushing end yet can be overlooked playing on the same line as Greg Romeus.

    Jerrell Powe/DT/Mississippi/6.2: Powe is the premiere nose tackle prospect from the senior class. He could easily make a big move up draft boards starting in September.

    Bruce Carter/OLB/North Carolina/6.2: Carter is one of the most complete linebackers in the nation and a three-down defender with instant starting potential at the next level.

    Derek Sherrod/T/Mississippi State/6.2: Sherrod is fundamentally sound and gets the most from his ability at left tackle.

    Rodney Hudson/C-G/Florida State/6.1: One of the better zone blocking linemen in the nation, the Seminoles offensive guard has been graded at center by a number of teams.

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    1. Get ready for the QB debate.

    Washington's Jake Locker and Florida State's Christian Ponder are tied for the top rating among senior quarterbacks, but they present very different packages to the NFL. Locker stands out for his physical skills, a strong arm and running ability. Ponder has been called more NFL ready despite not possessing prototypical size.

    Locker showed under coach Steve Sarkisian that he can be more of a passer and that he doesn't have to take off as often. The NFL has shown little interest in running quarterbacks at the top of the first round, so Locker will have to keep developing in the pocket to be a top-10 pick. Even though his numbers improved last season (21 TDs, 11 INTs, 58.0 completion percentage), he's not there yet.

    Meanwhile, Ponder scored a 34 on a preseason Wonderlic test and has already earned his MBA. He completed 68 percent of his passes last year and seems like he could adjust quickly at the next level. One of the potential negatives for Ponder is that his coach, Jimbo Fisher, made JaMarcus Russell look a lot better than he was at LSU. Ponder clearly doesn't have Russell's work ethic, so it's not fair to compare the two quarterbacks.

    Why do I have the feeling we'll be revisiting this debate next April? Don't be surprised if the lower-profile Ponder is the one who ends up hearing his name called first.

    2. The year of the defensive end.

    After a weak draft for defensive ends in 2010, pass-rushers could dominate the class of '11. Only three DEs went in the first round in April, and they're all projects (Tyson Alualu, Jason Pierre-Paul and Derrick Morgan). Of this year's seniors, Adrian Clayborn (7.3), Miami's Allen Bailey (6.9), and Pittsburgh's Greg Romeus (6.8) have first-round grades to complement a number of talented underclassmen at that position who will be eligible to turn pro. The only caveat is that defensive ends tend to have great size, speed and strength numbers, so naturally they grade well in the preseason yet have a hard time backing it up on the field.

    3. An overlooked star.

    National may have undervalued another outstanding defensive end. Ohio State's Cameron Heyward got a 6.0, equivalent to a third-round grade. He had 6.5 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss last season while only playing about 60 percent of the snaps. Heyward should put up huge numbers playing more downs this season. It's surprising that Heyward isn't even the highest rated player on his team -- that would be linebacker Ross Homan at 6.3. Homan told reporters he got back a third-round grade from the NFL when he contemplated the jump before this year's draft.

    4. Expect a quiet Prince.

    Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara tied Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn for the highest rating at 7.3, but you might not hear about the talented Cornhusker all that much next season. No one is going to pick on Amukamara's side of the field. Other cornerbacks like Texas' Aaron Williams and Curtis Brown, Virginia's Ras-I-Dowling and LSU's Patrick Peterson may get more attention even though they don't have the same physical skills as the Nebraska star. Amukamara could step into the spotlight more if Nebraska decides to give him some offensive touches, like Michigan did with Charles Woodson.

    5. Tar Heels' tough defense.

    The North Carolina defense should be the Steel Curtain of college football this season. They have five senior defenders with at least a third-round grade, led by defensive tackle Marvin Austin at 6.7. That's not even taking into account junior Robert Quinn, a prospect some scouts think could develop into the next Julius Peppers.

    6. The word on running backs.

    Running backs don't typically merit high ratings, so Kansas State's Daniel Thomas doesn't have to worry about his 5.9 (third-round grade). The under-the-radar Thomas led the Big 12 in rushing and will have huge numbers this season. He'll should get more attention than the highest senior back on National's board, Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray (6.3) once he starts rolling up big games.

    7. Still looking for left tackles.

    If you saw "The Blind Side," you know the NFL has been left tackle-crazy for some time. According to National's grades, the top left tackles for the class of '11 haven't emerged yet. Boston College's Anthony Costanzo is the highest rated at 6.5. The highest tackle in many early mocks is Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi, who graded out at 5.7. At least one tackle has gone in the top five in each of the past five drafts, but that trend could end next April.

    8. Breakout Buffalo?

    Colorado's Nate Solder is one left tackle who could rise up into the first round even though he got a 6.0 from National. He's 6-foot-9, 310 pounds with less than 8 percent body fat. Solder is definitely a workout warrior at this point, but could steal a lot of attention from the scouts who are all over the elite linemen prospects in the Big 12.

    9. Beware the system QB.

    Houston quarterback Case Keenum could rewrite the record books this season and has a shot to garner Heisman consideration. Just don't expect much out of the 6-foot-2 senior after that. National gave Keenum a 5.2 rating, slotting him between the fifth and seventh rounds. Apparently, National credits the system for Keenum's success. The NFL has shown interest in Houston QBs (Kevin Kolb went in the second round in 2007), but Keenum may not have the physical skills to make that leap.

    10. Juniors dominate at wide receiver.

    The low grades for senior wide receivers won't matter next April since the elite pass-catchers have been leaving early for the NFL. Georgia's A.J. Green, Alabama's Julio Jones, Notre Dame's Michael Floyd and Pittsburgh's Jon Baldwin, all juniors, should make a splash in next year's draft. The No. 1 senior, Nebraska's Niles Paul, got a 6.3 and isn't in the same class with those outstanding underclassmen.

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  2. #2 Legend
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    i am a fan of mark herz and his struggle but can they really grade the guy out the same? hes had a terrible battle... rod in his leg... it seems like a pity grade.


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