Better-Than Team: Sleeper scouting starts with McGee April 20, 2009 By Pete Prisco CBSSports.com Senior Writer Tell Pete your opinion! During the 2007 college football season, I would watch Texas A&M games and think how unfair their offense was to quarterback Stephen McGee. Dennis Franchione, then the coach of the Aggies, used a spread offense that featured plenty of option runs for McGee. Stephen McGee's NFL ambitions were not helped by playing in Dennis Franchione's offense. (Getty Images) Yes, McGee is a talented runner, racking up four 100-yard games. But he also has a big arm. That offense wasn't preparing him for the NFL, but did Franchione care? It was his offense. • Complete NFL Draft coverage So every single time I would watch the Aggies play, I would curse the screen. Let the kid play quarterback, not that thing you're running, Coach Fran. Franchione got in trouble with the school that year when it was revealed he was selling a secret e-mail newsletter to boosters that included inside information. What was the title: How to hold back a talented passer? Franchione was fired after that season, replaced by former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman. It was expected McGee would get his chance to play quarterback in an NFL-friendly offense. One problem: He injured his throwing shoulder and was limited to three starts. He healed enough to play again, and showed well in the East-West game. But he never really got the chance to show off his arm. He has a strong arm, even if he's raw throwing it. At 6-feet-3 and 223 pounds, he also has good size and he's a tough kid, as evidenced by the way he took on tacklers as a runner. McGee won't be a first- or second-round pick, but I think he's worth a look in the third round. Once a good coach gets with him and works on the fundamentals, McGee will become a better NFL passer than he was in the college game. That's why he heads up my annual "Better-Than" team, a list of 20 players I think are better than the scouts' projections. These are players I've watched a lot over the past three years, some on tape, some on Saturdays while in my hotel room. None are stars. Some might be one day. I will get some of these pegged just right and I will miss some like I always do. One I think I'll get right is McGee. If I do, I will look back to those Saturdays watching him play in 2007 and think how much I felt sorry for him. No wonder Franchione was fired. Here's the rest of the Better-Than team for 2009: Tom Brandstater has the size and the arm to make a splash. (Getty Images) Tom Brandstater, QB, Fresno State: He played for four different coordinators at Fresno, which can be tough on a quarterback. He has good size at 6-5, 220 pounds and he has a good arm. He's a pure pocket passer. Worth a late-round look. Kory Sheets, RB, Purdue: He is 5-11, 200 pounds and has decent speed. The advantage is he played in a pro-style offense at Purdue and understands the passing game. He plays faster than his 40 time. Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State: Think Keenan McCardell, the former NFL receiver. That's Robiskie. He's smart, knows how to get open and loves the game. His father played in the league and now is now a coach for the Atlanta Falcons, so you know he has a good pedigree. Juaquin Iglesias, WR, Oklahoma: He isn't a burner, but he knows how to get open. He will make a heck of a slot receiver. He knows how to run routes. He will also be a good return man. Mike Thomas, WR, Arizona: He's small at 5-9 and 190 pounds but has speed and knows how to get open. He's another ideal slot receiver for a team that needs help there right away. James Casey, TE, Rice: Whenever I watched this former minor league baseball player I was so impressed. He played offense and defense at Rice. The scouts wonder if he's tough enough to play tight end. I say he can. If not, you create ways to get him involved in the offense. Think Bo Scaife of the Titans. Cornelius Ingram, TE, Florida: He suffered a serious knee injury last season and missed the entire season, but he has amazing athletic ability. He isn't a pure tight end, but he will be dynamic in the passing game. He does have to work on his blocking. Phil Loadholt, T, Oklahoma: His stock has risen in recent weeks. I think he's a 10-year starter and sometimes Pro Bowl player. He did have trouble with Brian Orakpo in the Texas game, but that happens. He's a left tackle, but he might be better suited to the right side. Lawrence Sidbury, DE, Richmond: He was a 4-3 end at Richmond, but can also play 3-4 outside linebacker. Some have compared him to Dwight Freeney, but he's not that fast. He can get after the quarterback and he's a willing run player. Once competed in the 100-meter dash, which says a lot about his speed. Fili Moala, DT, Southern Cal: A year ago, he was considered a possible first-round pick. Now there's no way. Why? He was inconsistent last season. But I still think that first-round ability is there. It will come out on the next level. Bear Pascoe, TE, Fresno State: He's a former quarterback who developed into a heck of a blocking tight end. He isn't a real pass-catching threat down the field, but he can be effective short. Sammie Stroughter, WR, Oregon State: He has had some problems in his career, causing him to miss time, but he's a nice receiver and a good return man. He might be worth a look late. Tony Carter, CB, Florida State: He's 5-9, 175 pounds and looks every bit of playing that small. But he's smart and he has been an effective cover corner. He's an ideal nickel corner. He didn't get invited to the combine but he will play in the league. Could Sen'Derrick Marks bring some Sapp factor? (Getty Images) Sen'Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn: He played both defensive end and tackle at Auburn, but I think he plays tackle in the NFL. He is smallish for a tackle, but he is quick and strong. He reminds me a little of Warren Sapp. Terrance Taylor, DT, Michigan: He's a squatty nose tackle who started for three years at Michigan. That means something. He's only a little over 6-feet, which will drive down his draft stock, but he will find a way onto a roster and contribute as a capable backup for some team. Frantz Joseph, ILB, FAU: He's a Boston College transfer who plays with a fiery temperament. He really excels in the run game. He might only be a two-down linebacker, but he's worth a look on the second day. Clint Sintim, OLB, Virginia: He led all linebackers in sacks with 13 in 2008. He played outside in Virginia's 3-4 scheme, so there is no adjustment for him on the next level. At 6-2, 260 pounds, he has a thick frame and good quickness. He will be drafted higher than many expect. Marcus Freeman, OLB, Ohio State: When you watched Ohio State play the past couple of seasons, this kid always showed up on a star-studded defense. He is just under 6-1, which will hurt, but he has good speed and a knack for finding the football. He will be a solid starter on the next level. Sean Smith, CB, Utah: At 6-3, 210 pounds, he ran 4.45 for the scouts. Some insist he isn't fluid enough to play corner on the next level. I don't buy it. When I watched him at Utah, he looked more like a corner than a safety. He's new to the position, so his best football is in front of him.