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Oviedo
02-11-2009, 04:09 PM
I like Gilbert.

As anyone who follows the NFL Draft knows positive or negative momentum can play a big role in determining where a player is ultimately chosen. The following is a look at some prospects who have that buzz at the moment as well as some who do not. Please be sure to keep in mind that this 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 rounder or an undrafted free agent to a late round possibility. So without further adieu here are the Top 10 prospects with the most helium:

1. Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee
After carrying the underachiever label early in his career Robert Ayers really emerged as a great pro prospect the past couple of years and people have begun to take notice the last few months. His career sack totals (9.0) aren't all that impressive but Ayers was the Vols best pass rusher and he did make a lot of impact plays behind the line of scrimmage, racking up 27.5 tackles for a loss as a junior and senior. Adding to Ayers' value is his versatility and depending on scheme he could realistically play defensive end, defensive tackle or outside linebacker at the next level. Ayers draft stock was already on the rise but a terrific week at the Senior Bowl has put him in contention to be a Day One pick and he may even be one of the Top 3 true defensive end prospects in this draft. In fact, his stock has risen so much that there are many who feel the first round is even within reach.


2. Jarron Gilbert, DT, San Jose St.
When talking about players who have enjoyed a dramatic rise up draft boards this year Jarron Gilbert is one of the first names you have to mention. Coming into his senior year Gilbert wasn't considered to be much of a prospect but he had a fantastic final campaign for the Spartans (22.0 TFL and 9.5 Sacks) and was arguably the most impressive player at the East / West Shrine Game. At 6-6 and 287 pounds Gilbert is a DT / DE 'tweener and while there is still some debate as to where he will play at the next level he offers a lot of versatility and will remind some of Jason Jones or Kendall Langford, two guys taken early in last year's draft who went on to have excellent rookie seasons in the NFL. Gilbert has a lot of momentum in the scouting community right now and while workouts could play a big role in where he is ultimately selected it looks like he's a fringe Day One pick at this point.


3. Mark Sanchez, QB, USC
It came as a surprise to many (including Pete Carroll) when Mark Sanchez entered the draft after his junior year but at this point it looks like that was a smart decision. Even though he was only a starter for one season Sanchez is the most physically talented Trojan quarterback since Carson Palmer and there is no limit to how good he can be with more experience. Further adding to Sanchez's allure is the final impression he left scouts with, throwing for 413 yards and 4 touchdowns en route to winning MVP honors in the Rose Bowl. Sanchez will have a tough time overtaking Matthew Stafford as the top quarterback in this draft but he has a stranglehold on the #2 spot and could go as high as #3 overall to the Kansas City Chiefs. Worst-case it's hard to envision him falling out of the Top 10 overall and you could even see a number of teams trying to trade up for him.


4. Clay Matthews, OLB, USC
If this name sounds familiar it should because his dad, also named Clay, played in the NFL from 1978 to 1996 and his uncle, Bruce, is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame following a 19-year career with the Houston Oilers / Tennessee Titans. A former walk-on at Southern Cal, Matthews spent most of his college career in the shadow of other great Trojan linebackers like Keith Rivers, Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing but as a senior he has emerged as a great pro prospect in his own right. A versatile player who is capable of seeing action at any of the linebacker positions as well as defensive end, Matthews is also an outstanding special teamer who is being looked at by 4-3 and 3-4 teams alike. After beginning the year as a late rounder / priority free agent Matthews has improved his stock as much as any prospect in the country and he is now a potential first rounder.


5. William Beatty, OT, Connecticut
It's no secret that offensive tackles are extremely valuable commodities on Draft Day and that was never more evident than last year, when eight blockers were chosen in the first round alone. Everyone knows all about the top four high-profile blockers in this year's class but William Beatty just might end up securing the #5 spot in the rankings. A tremendous athlete who is very light on his feet, Beatty (pronounced "bee-tee") still needs to add some bulk to his 6-6, 292 pound frame but he is already an outstanding pass blocker and also has a ton of upside as well. Right now Beatty is in a heated battle with the likes of Eben Britton, Phil Loadholt and Jamon Meredith for the top spot in that second-tier of offensive tackles but don't be surprised if ultimately wins out and emerge as a late first or early second rounder. Think along the lines of Tony Ugoh / Duane Brown.


6. Larry English, DE-OLB, Northern Illinois
One of the country's most prolific pass rushers, Larry English amassed an amazing 56.0 tackles for a loss and 32.5 sacks during his college career with the Huskies. As a senior English totaled 15.0 TFL and 8.0 Sacks en route to being named the Mid-American Conference's Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row. A classic 'tweener at 6-3 and 255 pounds, English played defensive end in college but he may have to make the move to outside linebacker in the pros. Most likely in a 3-4 scheme. What position English will play might still be up in the air but at this point scouts don't seem to care because they tend to find room for guys who can rush the passer like he can. English took advantage of Brian Orakpo, Tyson Jackson and Michael Johnson all passing on the Senior Bowl and after a strong showing in Mobile it looks like he is now a legitimate first rounder.


7. Coye Francies, CB, San Jose St.
This is a guy who has actually been on the prospect radar to one degree or another for a few years but after a JUCO stint and a transfer from Oregon St. amid off-the-field troubles Coye Francies is finally bound for the pros. Physically you can probably make the case that Francies is as talented as any cornerback prospect in this draft thanks to his athleticism, height, speed, fluid hips, quick feet as well as good hands and ball skills. Francies really had a coming out party at the Senior Bowl and while it wasn't quite on the same level as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's from 2008 it was very impressive and his draft stock is definitely on the rise. Francies lack of ideal bulk (179 lbs.) and some character questions could hurt him a bit on Draft Day but he is one of the Top 10 players at his position and it wouldn't be a stretch to label him a fringe Day One pick at this point.


8. B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College
If things had gone as planned B.J. Raji would already be in the NFL but he was forced to sit out the entire 2007 season for academic reasons. It looks like that may have been a blessing in disguise though because Raji had an outstanding senior campaign and now he won't have to compete with Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis on Draft Day. A mountain of a man at 6-1 and 330+ pounds, Raji is certainly capable of playing nose tackle in a 3-4 defense but he isn't just a run stuffer and could fit in a 4-3 scheme as well. Think Pat Williams. In fact, "Busari" really surprised scouts with his ability penetrate and make impact plays behind the line of scrimmage this year. Not only is Raji the consensus top senior defensive tackle in this draft but after an absolutely dominating performance at this year's Senior Bowl he could easily wind up coming off the board in the Top 10 overall.


9. Louis Delmas, S, Western Michigan
Not only is Delmas the best pro prospect the Broncos have produced since Greg Jennings and Tony Scheffler back in 2006 but like them he should find a home in the second round when all is said and done. In terms of physical tools Delmas is adequate across the board but he certainly isn't going to make anyone's jaw hit the floor in workouts. However, when it comes to intangibles and leadership ability Delmas compares favorably with anyone in the country. Delmas had a very nice college resume heading into his senior season and was considered to be a decent pro prospect but he really took his game to the next level in 2008 and as a result his draft stock is soaring. Seemingly a favorite of every scout who has evaluated him, Delmas isn't a household name just yet but that could all change in the coming months. Rest assured the NFL already knows all about him.


10. Bradley Fletcher, CB, Iowa
Last year Charles Godfrey was a third round steal and now the Hawkeyes are sending another top defensive back to the pros. Even though he was just a one-year starter in college Fletcher made the most of his opportunity and came through with a strong senior campaign. However, what really sent his stock soaring was a standout performance at the East / West Shrine Game, where he was arguably the most impressive cornerback in attendance. At 6-2 and 200 pounds Fletcher has an intriguing blend of size and speed (4.50) and while some feel he will have to move to safety at the next level that may not be such a bad thing considering the success Godfrey had in making the same transition. Right now Fletcher looks like a solid mid-round pick and if he can manage to run the 4.4 forty that's been rumored in workouts he may even contend for a spot in the third round.




The Not-So-Hot List
William Moore, S, Missouri
After entering his senior season as a potential Top 10 overall pick William Moore has seen his draft stock take quite a tumble. Moore certainly enjoyed a breakout junior campaign, showing the ability to be a force up close to the line (116 tackles) as well as in coverage (8 interceptions). However, in his other three seasons combined he totaled just three interceptions so 2007 was definitely an aberration. There is no question that at 6-0 and 223 pounds Moore has the ability to be a physical, in-the-box strong safety but he probably isn't the multi-dimensional threat that we once thought which is why he is dropping. If Moore can run well and impress in workouts he may have a chance to move back up but right now it looks like he has fallen out of the first round all together and there are some who feel he's only the third or fourth best safety prospect in the '09 Draft.

RuthlessBurgher
02-11-2009, 04:22 PM
The more I read about Gilbert, the more he sounded like Kendall Langford to me (who I was enamoured with last year) but this is the first article that actually spelled out that comparison directly. Since Langford was the third pick on day two last year, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that we could make Gilbert the last pick on day one this year.

Oviedo
02-11-2009, 05:02 PM
The more I read about Gilbert, the more he sounded like Kendall Langford to me (who I was enamoured with last year) but this is the first article that actually spelled out that comparison directly. Since Langford was the third pick on day two last year, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that we could make Gilbert the last pick on day one this year.

I had him 2.64 on my last mock because I thought we would go OL in Round 1. It really all depends on Tyson Jackson. If he is available at 1.32 then IMO we should take him and I would think you have to go OL at 2.64 or probably trade up in Round 2 to get a better OL.

papillon
02-11-2009, 05:22 PM
BJ Raji the heir apparent to Big Snack. We need him now, NTs are hard to come by and one with athletic ability (according to the write up) is even better. I'd love that pick at 1.32 if he brings value to the pick as well, it's a win-win.

Sorry, I thought those listed were on the rise and not already top 15 picks. I guess Raji won't be there at 1.32. You can tell I follow college football. :wft

Pappy

RuthlessBurgher
02-11-2009, 05:24 PM
The more I read about Gilbert, the more he sounded like Kendall Langford to me (who I was enamoured with last year) but this is the first article that actually spelled out that comparison directly. Since Langford was the third pick on day two last year, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that we could make Gilbert the last pick on day one this year.

I had him 2.64 on my last mock because I thought we would go OL in Round 1. It really all depends on Tyson Jackson. If he is available at 1.32 then IMO we should take him and I would think you have to go OL at 2.64 or probably trade up in Round 2 to get a better OL.

I think Gilbert at 1.32 is a bit of a stretch. I could see Jackson at 1.32 then best available o-lineman at 2.64 or best available o-lineman at 1.32 then Gilbert at 2.64. I would worry about a guy who made such a sudden rise up draft board coming from a school like San Diego State in round 1, but I could stomach such a risk/reward scenario in round 2.

WoodleyofTroy
02-11-2009, 05:24 PM
BJ Raji the heir apparent to Big Snack. We need him now, NTs are hard to come by and one with athletic ability (according to the write up) is even better. I'd love that pick at 1.32 if he brings value to the pick as well, it's a win-win.

Pappy

Probably a top 10 pick at this point. And I hope I'm wrong, but I have a feeling Peria Jerry will be the next Jerod Mayo pick, stock shooting up the charts a week or two before the draft.

papillon
02-11-2009, 05:34 PM
BJ Raji the heir apparent to Big Snack. We need him now, NTs are hard to come by and one with athletic ability (according to the write up) is even better. I'd love that pick at 1.32 if he brings value to the pick as well, it's a win-win.

Pappy

Probably a top 10 pick at this point. And I hope I'm wrong, but I have a feeling Peria Jerry will be the next Jerod Mayo pick, stock shooting up the charts a week or two before the draft.

Yea, I see that, when I read the title of the thread I thought these were players maybe in the second round that were gaining traction and moving up. I don't follow college football enough to know who's good and who's bad.

However, I have this thought about the draft. The Eagles have two picks 21 and 28 (I think), if a player the Steelers like, say Eben Britton (heard good things about him) is available when the Eagles pick at 28 what about a first round swap and whatever we have to give them to make it a fair trade (70 points according to the chart)?

Pappy

RuthlessBurgher
02-11-2009, 10:16 PM
BJ Raji the heir apparent to Big Snack. We need him now, NTs are hard to come by and one with athletic ability (according to the write up) is even better. I'd love that pick at 1.32 if he brings value to the pick as well, it's a win-win.

Pappy

Probably a top 10 pick at this point. And I hope I'm wrong, but I have a feeling Peria Jerry will be the next Jerod Mayo pick, stock shooting up the charts a week or two before the draft.

Yea, I see that, when I read the title of the thread I thought these were players maybe in the second round that were gaining traction and moving up. I don't follow college football enough to know who's good and who's bad.

However, I have this thought about the draft. The Eagles have two picks 21 and 28 (I think), if a player the Steelers like, say Eben Britton (heard good things about him) is available when the Eagles pick at 28 what about a first round swap and whatever we have to give them to make it a fair trade (70 points according to the chart)?

Pappy

With both Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas being free agents (and Winston Justice's confidence still shot from being massacred in his first start against the Giants), the Eagles are going to want to draft a tackle themselves. They may just take Britton there themselves, leaving Beatty as the only legit LT prospect at the end of the first round if we decide to go that route.