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Notebook: Disinformation aside, we bring you risers, fallers

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    Notebook: Disinformation aside, we bring you risers, fallers

    April 27, 2006
    By Pete Prisco
    CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer

    We're just a couple of days away from the NFL Draft and it's that time when the information highway is on overload.

    Personnel people are lying about what they're going to do and then lie about the fact that they're lying. With that in mind, it's hard to maneuver the minefield that is bad information to come up with an idea as to who might be falling and who's rising as we wait for the commissioner to come to the podium for the first pick.

    But by talking to a handful of trusted scouts and coaches, we came up with a list of 15 players who fit both categories. Hopefully, none of those are telling the fibs.

    As it is every year, though, the number of lies told always outnumbers the players who actually get picked.

    Now for the Risers and Fallers:



    Risers

    Kellen Clemens, QB, Oregon: He missed time with an injury late last year, which hurt him, but teams have come around on him lately. He might be the fourth quarterback taken. He can run with it, too.

    Ernie Sims, LB, Florida State: His size was a concern for many scouts, but once they went back and watched him play they realized his speed was good enough to overcome his size. Plus, he plays bigger than his size. There are some concussion concerns, though.

    Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida State: He was a dominant player at FSU, yet when the evaluation period started in January he wasn't considered high on a lot of lists. Now he could be the first defensive tackle taken.

    Antonio Cromartie, CB, Florida State: Like his FSU teammates, Cromartie has soared up boards the past couple of months. One scout said his workout was as good as any corner in the past 10 years. He is coming off an ACL injury, but his recovery has been amazing.

    Charles Spencer, G-T, Pittsburgh: He was a defensive player at Pitt for two years before moving to offense. He played tackle for the Panthers, but a lot of scouts think he will be better inside at guard. He has really risen in the past month.

    Greg Jennings, WR, Western Michigan: In a lean year for receivers, Jennings might have moved to the fourth spot behind Chad Jackson, Santonio Holmes and Sinorice Moss. He isn't big at 5-feet-11, but has run better than scouts expected.

    Demetrius Williams, WR, Oregon State: Most scouts thought he was a polished route runner with little speed. But he ran a 4.4 at his Pro Day, which forced many teams to move him up. This is a guy who will be a 10-year starter.

    Joseph Addai, RB, LSU: Here's another player who was helped by his 40 time. He is a tough, hard-nosed runner who just might have worked himself into the first round. The team that gets him will be very happy.

    Manny Lawson, DE, North Carolina State: While Mario Williams gets the attention at the top of the draft, Lawson is getting it in the middle. A pass rusher who played opposite Williams, Lawson can play end and linebacker. His ability to come off the corner has helped him rise quickly.

    John McCargo, DT, North Carolina State: The "other" lineman on that Wolfpack squad is also moving up quickly. He is a penetrating tackle who fits with the Tampa Bay style of defense. He should be off by the end of the first round.

    Willie Reid, KR, Florida State: He is known as a kick returner, which is fine, but now he's getting some mention as a receiver, too. Reid will be a heck of a return man on the next level, but he's also intriguing as a receiver.

    Mark Anderson, DE, Alabama: This pass rusher is moving up mainly because teams crave guys with his speed off the edge. Anderson isn't big, but when you can get to the quarterback with your speed, there's a premium on that.

    Donte Whitner, S, Ohio State: This rangy safety has the ability to play in coverage and can tackle. With more and more teams spreading defenses out, safeties who can run have a real value. Look for Whitner to go in the middle of the first round.

    Chris Chester, C, Oklahoma: This quick center is now considered the No. 2 player at his position behind Nick Mangold, and some scouts actually think he might be better. Chester can also play guard, which is attractive.

    Chris Gocong, DE, Cal-Poly: He was the sack leader in Division I-AA last year with 28, which shows he can get after the quarterback. Some teams like him as a down end, others as a linebacker. He will be gone by the end of the third round.



    Fallers

    Derek Hagan, WR, Arizona State: He was a productive college player who some thought could be a first-round pick. As it is, he'll likely go in the third round. He has trouble catching the ball at times, which worries teams.

    Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech: He has first-round ability, high first-round ability, but off-the-field concerns have dropped him down some. He should still go in the first round, but if not for the issues he would likely be a top 10 pick.

    Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt: Remember all that talk about how he'd be the first quarterback taken? It's not going to happen. In fact, there's a chance now he could fall into the teens. Whoever gets him there will be getting value.

    Mathias Kiwanuka DE, Boston College: At some point last season, there was talk he could go in the top five. Now he will likely go in the second round. There are some questions about his toughness. But the speed off the edge is still there.

    LenDale White, RB, Southern California: This big back has a handful of issues that have dropped him down. He got too heavy, which is a concern, and so is his hamstring pull. Some scouts wonder if he has the desire to be great. He should still go in the first round, but that's not anywhere as high as some expected.

    Tamba Hali, DE, Penn State: When the combine came around, he was considered a sure first-round pick. Then he had an awful Pro Day workout, which sent his stock plummeting. His speed isn't what some expected. He still has a chance to go late in the first round, but that's a drop of sorts.

    Alan Zemaitis, CB, Penn State: Like his Penn Sate teammate, Zemaitis was hurt by a bad 40 time at his Pro Day. But he is still a quality player who some team will love getting on the second day.

    DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis: He was once considered a potential top five pick. That won't happen. Williams is now probably a middle to late first-round pick. His size (5-9, 200) is a worry to some teams, but it shouldn't be. He will be a heck of a player.

    Rodrique Wright, DT, Texas: A year ago, some thought he had a chance to be a top 15 pick. But he didn't play that well last year and there is talk that he isn't physical enough at the point of attack. He'll be a first-day pick, but it won't be in the first round.

    Jon Scott, T, Texas: Like his college teammate, scouts had high hopes for him. There was once talk of a high first-round pick. But teams cooled on him and he won't be going until the second round at the earliest.

    Jason Avant, WR, Michigan: Speed is what is killing him. He played fast at Michigan, but his clock speed turned scouts off. He could still be a good possession receiver on the next level, but those guys don't get drafted that high.

    Claude Wroten, DT, LSU: He has the tools to be a first-round pick. But there are off-the-field issues that have him falling. It's a shame that he has that baggage, too. Teams love big, physical players like Wroten.

    Ko Simpson, S, South Carolina: He made a lot of plays at South Carolina, but he's another guy with speed concerns. He should be a first-day selection, but the first round isn't likely anymore.

    Chad Greenway, LB, Iowa: Here's another player who was considered a potential top 10 pick a couple of months ago. But a couple of bad workouts have lowered his stock some. He should still be a high pick. This kid can play, no matter how he worked out.

    Elvis Dumervil, DE, Louisville: He has some pass-rush ability, but he's only 5-11. How many 5-11 defensive ends do you see? Scouts have really cooled on him. He's a second-day guy now.



    Around the league


    The Green Bay Packers have given receiver Javon Walker permission to shop himself in a trade. They want a first-round pick in return, which many think is a bargain. But look closer at the situation. Walker is coming off a major knee injury and not only do you have to trade for him, you have to pay him. He wants a new deal, which is the reason he's angry in Green Bay anyway. Trading picks to get a player and then being forced to give him a long-term deal is risky business in the NFL.

    The teams that are considering Walker, which include Miami, New Orleans and Denver, have to realize that. It's not that Walker doesn't have skills. He does. But giving away draft picks means giving away cheap labor for the next couple of years because those players will be playing under their rookie deals for a while.

    Walker has threatened to hold out until the 10th game this year if he Packers do not trade him. If he comes in then, he'll get credit for the season. But he'll also miss 10 weeks of paychecks. There aren't a lot of players willing to do that.
    The Rams had Grady Jackson in for a look-see this week, but there was far too much to see to warrant signing him. Jackson, who has always had weight issues, came in at a whopping 385, according to a league source. That's way too much, even for a player who plays at about 335 pounds when he's in shape.

    The Rams passed on Jackson for the time being. Maybe if he gets in shape they might reconsider, depending on what they do in the draft. Jimmy Kennedy, a former first-round pick who has been maligned in his career, supposedly had a good showing last week during the Rams' minicamp. If he can continue to show well, the Rams have a solid starting duo with Kennedy and La'Roi Glover.
    The Jaguars are considering drafting a middle linebacker -- maybe Iowa's Abdul Hodge -- with the idea they might move Mike Peterson outside. Peterson, who started his career there in Indianapolis, is supposedly OK with the idea of moving back. He has played well in the middle for the Jags, but there is some thinking that he would be even more of a playmaker outside.

    If the team can land a middle backer like Hodge, they could then play Peterson outside with Darryl Smith opposite him. That would increase the speed at the outside spot, which coach Jack Del Rio and defensive coordinator Mike Smith want to do. Hodge is an interesting player because he was the leading tackler at Iowa, not his more-heralded teammate, Chad Greenway. He is also from Florida, having played his high-school football in Fort Lauderdale.
    The Saints are asking for a first-round pick for receiver Donte' Stallworth. Good luck. Stallworth was a first-round pick of the Saints in 2003, but he has never lived up to expectations. Stallworth has flashed his talent at times, using his blazing speed to get open, but he dropps way too many passes. He is also small, which concerns some. If the Saints drop that asking price down a bit, he would draw some interest.

    Safety Dwight Smith and middle linebacker Courtney Watson remain on the trading block by the Saints. Tampa Bay, which lost its bid to get Charles Woodson, could be in the mix to bring Smith back. He played for Tampa Bay before he left for New Orleans last year via free agency.
    There is more and more talk coming out of New Orleans that quarterback Drew Brees might not be ready to start the season. Brees, who is coming off shoulder surgery, is said to be a long way away from being ready to play. If he can't play, the Saints will be forced to play Todd Bouman until Brees is ready. Maybe the San Diego Chargers knew a lot more about this situation than many give them credit for, which is why they allowed Brees to leave.
    There is still great debate inside the Titans building on what to do with the third overall pick. General manager Floyd Reese and owner Bud Adams are said to want Texas quarterback Vince Young, while the coaching staff wants Matt Leinart. The staff feels Leinart is better suited to play now.

    The key here, though, might be last year's draft. Fisher wanted Pac Man Jones, while Reese wanted someone else. Fisher got his way and Jones has been trouble off the field. So now it might be Reese's time to win out. One thing is clear, that divide between coach and general manager seems to be growing wider.
    For those who think the latest incident involving Reggie Bush will impact his draft status, think again. "Not a chance," said one NFC coach. "That has nothing to do with the NFL." Bush's parents reportedly lived in a lavish home courtesy of a man who was recruiting Bush as a marketing agent. That would be a violation of NCAA rules, if proven true. It has no bearing on his NFL status. Hey, don't all players strive to get a house for their family?
    Look for the 49ers to take Maryland tight end Vernon Davis with the sixth overall pick -- it's the worst-kept secret out there -- and come back and take a corner with the 22nd pick. The word is the 49ers love Virginia Tech's Williams and if he's there, they will take him.

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