If this is a Repost I apologize ahead of time......
A look at the crop of 2005 underclassmen
By Mike Beacom
This year, 52 underclassmen declared for the NFL Draft. That number eclipsed the old record of 46 set in 2003. Yet, even though more players rolled the dice this spring, only four “money players” are expected to land in the first round (quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Alex Smith and wide receivers Mike Williams and Troy Williamson). The value in this draft, as far as the underclassmen go, is on the defensive side of the ball. As many as 10 defensive players that left school early could go in round one this April.
As usual, several prospects received bad advice, or were too eager to make the jump to the NFL and will suffer the consequences. Said Draft.com analyst D.J. Boyer, of that group no player stands out more than Oregon State cornerback Brandon Browner.
“I think he’s banking on his height and his freshman season,” said Boyer. Browner only has two years of action under his belt, and Boyer said he wasn’t impressed with what he showed as a sophomore in 2004.
“I was bewildered when he declared,” added Boyer. The 6-4 Browner only clocked a 4.63 in the 40-yard dash and his stock has been slipping.
Another player Boyer thinks might have made a mistake by coming out early is first round prospect Troy Williamson. The wide receiver from South Carolina has impressed scouts thus far, but Boyer feels another year in college under the tutelage of pass-friendly Head Coach Steve Spurrier could have thrust Williamson atop the wide receiver rankings.
“He had the talent to come out,” said Boyer,” but the fact that he comes from an offense that didn’t feature the pass hurts him. I like him a lot, but he could have been the No. 1 wide receiver next year.”
With Michigan’s Braylon Edwards and Southern California’s Mike Williams likely to go Nos. 1 and 2 at the position, Williamson’s best hope is that a third team near the top of the first round is in desperate need of receiving help.
One wide receiver’s decision Boyer doesn’t question is West Virginia’s Chris Henry. Considered a bit of a problem child in 2004, Henry left early, in large part, because he may not have been welcomed back for his senior season.
“The writing was on the wall,” said Boyer. “Besides, his quarterback was leaving and the offense was going to be completely different next year. I think it was the right decision.”
Many draft experts have penciled in Maryland’s Shawne Merriman at the No. 11 pick to the Cowboys because he seems to fit the style of defense Bill Parcells’ group is shifting to in Dallas. Merriman is considered a tweaner — able to play defensive end or outside linebacker — which makes him a good fit for the 3-4 scheme. But Boyer doesn’t limit Merriman to just those two positions.
“He’s probably the most versatile linebacker in this draft. Not only can he play end and outside linebacker, but because he bulked up to 272 pounds teams now think he could play middle linebacker,” said Boyer
Another defender Boyer likes among the underclassmen is Oklahoma safety Brodney Poole. Said Boyer, “I think he is closing the gap on Georgia’s Thomas Davis (another underclassman) as the No. 1 safety prospect.”
Draft.com offers the most reliable, most comprehensive NFL Draft guide on the Web … to find out more, visit www.Draft.com