ARTICLE: Prospects HOT LIST...
As anyone who follows the NFL Draft knows positive or negative momentum can play a big role in determining where a player is ultimately drafted. The following is a look at which players have that buzz at the moment as well as some who do not. Please keep in mind that this is just a weekly snapshot of football's hottest prospects and is not a replacement or an update to the positional rankings or mock draft. For example, a player could be #1 on this list but that might only mean he has gone from a 7th round pick to a 5th round pick. Here's the guys with helium:
1. Joe Staley, OT, Central MichiganThere is no doubt that Joe Staley is one of the hottest prospects in the draft right now and while you certainly can't discount his talent and great Pro Day workout (he ran a 4.82 forty at 304 lbs.) a big part of the reason is simple circumstances at his position. Basically the supply is just not meeting the demand when it comes to the offensive tackle position and if you don't get one of the Big 3 of Joe Thomas, Levi Brown or Staley there is a chance you won't get a left tackle who can come in and contribute early on. Right now Staley is a lock for the Top 20-25 and depending on how things break down the Top 10 overall is not even out of the question.
2. Trent Edwards, QB, StanfordThere is no denying the huge drop-off at the quarterback position after Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell but the gap just might be narrowing. Trent Edwards put on a show at his Pro Day workout and as a result it's looking more and more like he could be the 3rd signal caller chosen and maybe come off the board as early as the top of round two. Physically Edwards is the total package but he just didn't get to show it for a terrible Stanford team so if he can manage to stay healthy many feel he could be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
3. Darrelle Revis, CB, PittsburghMany questioned his decision not to run at the Scouting Combine but in the end Darrelle Revis had the last laugh after he ran in the 4.3's at his Pro Day, eclipsing most expectations. Not only does Revis now appear to be a lock for the Top 20 overall but there is a chance that he could be the first cornerback drafted on April 29th. Physically there isn't much not to like about this guy and when you factor in his added value as a return man it's not hard to see why teams are so high on him. It may be time for Leon Hall to start getting worried.
4. Justin Durant, OLB, HamptonEveryone seems to be focused on the names Willis, Beason, Timmons and Posluszny as the top linebackers in this draft and rightfully so but don't be surprised if Justin Durant is ultimately the next guy to come off the board. A speedy, athletic linebacker who could project inside or outside, do not be fooled by Durant's small school roots because he is definitely a player and there are a number of teams who have their eyes on him in the second round. In a relatively weak year for the linebacker position Durant just might be a hidden gem.
5. Steve Smith, WR, USCIt would have been inconceivable a couple of months ago but there is now at least a chance that Steve Smith could be drafted ahead of his more highly-touted teammate Dwayne Jarrett. In the end I don't think that will happen but just the fact that it's even possible is amazing. Smith played second fiddle to Jarrett his entire college career but he has really come on as of late and thanks to some strong workouts he has potentially worked his way into the early portion of round two. He'll never be a true #1 but Smith looks like a solid #2.
6. Small School Offensive TacklesIn recent years we have seen offensive linemen from small schools thrive in the pros, with Todd Herremans (Saginaw Valley St.) of the Eagles and Jahri Evans (Bloomsburg) of the Saints being prime examples. With a lack of top talent at offensive tackle this year we might see teams more inclined to take a chance on guys from lower levels of competition, with Allen Barbre of Missouri Southern St., Jacob Bender of Nicholls St. and Elliot Vallejo of Cal-Davis as the top candidates. Barbre could even be chosen as early as round three or four.
7. Brandon Meriweather, S, Miami (FL)Were it not for some character and off-the-field concerns Brandon Meriweather might have been a mid-first round pick and maybe the second player chosen at his position but as it stands now he'll likely be a steal for someone in late round one or early round two. A true playmaker in the deep patrol who can even play a little cornerback in a pinch, Meriweather is the next in a long line of great Hurricane defensive backs and his stock is gaining momentum right now. There are always surprises on D-Day and he could go higher than you think.
8. Justin Harrell, DT, TennesseeHeading into the 2006 season most had Justin Harrell pegged as the top senior defensive tackle prospect in the nation, ahead of Amobi Okoye, but unfortunately he tore his biceps and missed all but three games this past year. Harrell's stock has been on the rise as of late though and he might be emerging as the #3 tackle available and a potential late first round pick. You have to believe his toughness and team-first attitude will help him as well after he put off surgery for a week and played in pain to try and help the Vols beat Florida.
9. John Beck, QB, B.Y.U.Most feel the race to be the third signal caller chosen is between Trent Edwards, Drew Stanton and Kevin Kolb but many around the league are starting to throw John Beck's name into the conversation as well and he just might end up being a Day One pick before all is said and done. A productive passer coming off a big senior campaign, Beck has great intangibles and just enough physical tools to make scouts think he could at least be an excellent backup in the pros and maybe even a starter in the right situation. He is quietly moving up.
10. Jackie Battle, FB, HoustonThe biggest winner on the Pro Day circuit this year might have been Jackie Battle, who ran a 4.42 forty at 6-2 and 235lbs. recently. A classic fullback / running back 'tweener who might not have an ideal position, Battle isn't just a workout warrior because he was pretty productive in college and even scored 15 touchdowns as a senior. He won't go real high but thanks to his workout Battle has gone from an undrafted afterthought to an intriguing late round type and he could be the third fullback chosen after Brian Leonard and Le'Ron McClain.
The Not-So-Hot List Michael Bush, RB, LouisvilleThis is turning out to be a sad story. Michael Bush actually wanted to come out following his junior season but when he saw so many other top underclassmen at his position bolting he went back to school. That looked to be a good decision as he was projected to be the top senior running back for 2007, a first round pick and a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy. Unfortunately for Bush he broke his leg in the first game of the year and missed the rest of the season but despite having a redshirt year available to him he opted to take a pass and head to the NFL. There was talk that he could still be a 2nd or 3rd round pick if he showed he was healthy prior to Draft Day but it was just recently announced that he had to have a second surgery to have a rod inserted into that leg and that he wouldn't be ready for action for another couple of months. At this point it looks like Bush is going to fall to Day Two, where he could be a major steal for someone. Good luck Mike!
Last edited by WoodysGirl : 04-11-2007 at 09:35 AM.