PFW: 2005 Early Draft Outlook

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by Hostile, Jul 12, 2004.

  1. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    It’s never too early to begin looking at next year’s NFL draft, which is exactly what scouts have begun doing since the last draft concluded in late April.

    From the early looks of it, “it’s a very uninspiring class,” according to one assistant general manager. “But when you don’t have juniors (included), what do you have?”

    Six of the last seven years, quarterbacks have been selected with the first overall pick. Unless a stud junior like California’s Matt Leinart or California’s Aaron Rodgers declares early, this year’s draft could have a different flavor at the top, with a very weak crop of senior quarterbacks.

    The top-rated quarterback, according to National Football Scouting, which rates all draft-eligible prospects entering their senior seasons, is Connecticut’s Dan Orlovsky. But the king-sized quarterback, who passed for nearly 3,500 yards and 33 touchdowns last year, is only rated as a second-round pick. He will be put to the test after the formerly independent Connecticut program joins the Big East Conference this fall and he is forced to face tougher competition. The Blesto scouting combine rated Akron’s Charlie Frye as the top signalcaller, but after losing his top two receivers and having to adjust to a new coaching staff, Frye will have challenges of his own just to match his production in previous years.

    The highest-rated player overall by the National combine is Auburn RB Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, a Walter Payton-like runner with excellent vision and the speed to go the distance. Blesto rated Williams second only to Georgia DE David Pollack, whose production decreased last year after a star-studded sophomore season forced opponents to divert more double-teams his way. Rounding out the top three, as ranked by both scouting services, is Miami (Fla.) CB Antrel Rolle, the most experienced Hurricane defender returning, with 24 career starts.

    As was the case last year, when five receivers were selected in the top 15 picks, the depth at receiver, according to National’s grades, would appear to be very strong, with four of the Combine’s top-ranked players lining up in the slot. Considering Mike Williams enrolled in summer classes at USC and is attempting to regain his eligibility, the WR class again shows much promise.

    Blesto’s grades give more credence to the RB class, featuring two runners in the top 10, coming off a year when many scouts felt there was not a premier running back in the draft.

    But it’s important to remember that the grades assigned to players by the both the National and Blesto combines are very preliminary, and they are often given by inexperienced scouts who the veteran talent analysts say are afraid to stick out their necks and stamp a first-round grade on a deserving talent.

    National Football Scouting’s top 10

    Following are the top 10 ranked players, heading into their senior seasons, according to National Football Scouting:

    1. RB Carnell Williams, Auburn

    2. CB Antrel Rolle, Miami (Fla.)

    3. DE David Pollack, Georgia

    4. OT Alex Barron, Florida State

    5. WR Braylon Edwards, Michigan

    6. DE Shaun Cody, USC

    7. LB Barrett Ruud, Nebraska

    8. WR Mark Clayton, Oklahoma

    9. WR Terrence Murphy, Texas A&M

    10. WR Craphonso Thorpe, Florida State

    Blesto’s top 10

    Blesto’s scouting combine rated the players slightly differently, including four players in the top 10 that National did not rate as highly, who are listed in italics below:

    1. DE David Pollack, Georgia

    2. RB Carnell Williams, Auburn

    3. CB Antrel Rolle, Miami (Fla.)

    4. OT Chris Colmer, North Carolina State

    5. OT Alex Barron, Florida State

    6. CB Corey Webster, LSU

    7. WR Craphonso Thorpe, Florida State

    8. LB Derrick Johnson, Texas

    9. WR Terrence Murphy, Texas A&M

    10. RB Cedric Benson, Texas

    — Nolan Nawrocki

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