Wednesday, April 08, 2009

2009 NFL Draft: Position Rankings

As the draft nears, and Pro Day's have passed, I thought now is a better time than any to post my position rankings for the 2009 NFL draft. Last year, outside of a handful of predictions, the list was pretty close to the order that players went in the first day. This year poses a different challenge, as we have a larger amount of players that could potentially sneak into the 1st round. Anyway...looking forward to the comments. Enjoy.

(Photo Courtesy of University of Georgia)

QB
1 - Matt Stafford, Georgia
2 - Mark Sanchez, Southern Cal
3 - Josh Freeman, Kansas State
4 - Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston State
5 - Nate Davis, Ball State

Stafford sat atop this list all off-season. After Sanchez practically hit a home run on his Pro Day, the race is almost neck and neck. As for Freeman, I have had guarded optimism. Is he the real deal? I think Bomar is the diamond in the rough of this draft. Not only could he be an NFL starter, he could make his QB coach look so good, he lands a head coaching gig.

RB

1 - Chris Wells, Ohio State
2 - Knowshon Moreno, Georgia
3 - Donald Brown, Connecticut
4 - Rashad Jennings, Liberty
5 - Javon Ringer, Michigan State
6 - LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh
7 - Andre Brown, NC State
8 - Shonn Greene, Iowa
9 - Ian Johnson, Boise State
10 - Kory Sheets, Purdue

Wells and Moreno top this year’s class of RBs. Don’t be surprised if Brown is the first RB off the board though. The hype machine is in full-effect for the UConn prospect. McCoy was a first round prospect until he posted some pedestrian times. Jennings and Ringer boast a lot of potential. Some team will be very happy with what Shonn Greene will bring to their table.

WR
1 - Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
2 - Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
3 - Percy Harvin, Florida
4 - Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland
5 - Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina
6 - Kenny Britt, Rutgers
7 - Derrick Williams, Penn State
8 - Brian Robiskie, Ohio State
9 - Louis Murphy, Florida
10 - Pat White*, West Virginia

Crabtree and Maclin are interchangeable at the top of the WR list. Crabtree reminds me of a young Sterling Sharpe. Maclin has the game-breaking speed that teams salivate over. Harvin has Devin Hester-like ability. DHB brings the same level of athletic ability to the table that former Terrapins stars Shawne Merriman and Vernon Davis brought to their respective positions. But the important question is: Who’s level of productivity will he trend towards? If there is a run on WRs, like there was on OTs last year, we could see as many as seven going in the first round. Pat White only makes the list based on his potential at a position he didn’t play in college.

TE
1 - Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State
2 - Jared Allen, South Carolina
3 - Shawn Nelson, Southern Mississippi
4 - Chase Coffman, Missouri

As a receiver, Pettigrew has Shockey written all over him. As a blocker, he reminds some of Kyle Brady. Keep an eye on the explosive Jared Allen, who runs like a WR.

C/G
1 - Alex Mack, California
2 - Duke Robinson, Oklahoma
3 - Max Unger, Oregon
4 - Eric Wood, Louisville
5 - Antoine Caldwell, Alabama

Mack and Robinson seem destined for the late first round. Unger could get consideration due to his versatility, allowing him to play any position on the line. He may be picked to play left tackle. Caldwell may be vastly underrated based on playing in Andre Smith’s shadow.

T

1 - Jason Smith, Baylor
2 - Eugene Monroe, Virginia
3 - Andre Smith, Alabama
4 - Michael Oher, Mississippi
5 - Eben Britton, Arizona
6 - William Beatty, Connecticut
7 - Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma
8 - Jamon Meridith, South Carolina
9 - Gerald Cadogan, Penn State
10 - Troy Kropog, Tulane

The most exciting position in the draft, as far as the movement at the top of the rankings, was at tackle. I’ve been a fan of Jason Smith (hoping my team could land him) for a while. After the combines, that dream faded, as he could easily be the top pick in the draft. Monroe is right there with Jason Smith. Andre Smith slipped after his antics at the Combine and his Pro Day, where he got jiggly with it. I’ve always felt Oher was overrated, but he looks good so far in his individual workouts. Eben Britton is the top pure right tackle prospect. Kropog would rank higher, but he only really ranks that high if he’s in a zone-blocking scheme.

DT
1 - B.J. Raji, Boston College
2 - Ziggy Hood, Missouri
3 - Peria Jerry, Mississippi
4 - Sen'Derrick Marks, Auburn
5 - Alex Magee, Purdue
6 - Ron Brace, Boston College
7 - Jarron Gilbert, San Jose State
8 - Fili Moala, Southern Cal
9 - Dorrell Scott, Clemson
10 - Chris Baker, Hampton

2009 is not the best year for DTs. Raji could go in the top 10 (depending on what he tested positive for at the Combines). Hood had the most dramatic climb up the charts, especially after the Senior Bowl practices. Ron Brace joins Raji as two of the few prospects that can be a pure NT. Keep an eye on Jarron Gilbert. He can get in the backfield as a DT.

DE

1 - Brian Orakpo, Texas
2 - Everette Brown, Florida State
3 - Tyson Jackson, LSU
4 - Aaron Maybin, Penn State
5 - Robert Ayers, Tennessee
6 - Larry English, Northern Illinois
7 - Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech
8 - Connor Barwin, Cincinnati
9 - Paul Kruger, Utah
10 - Lawrence Sidbury, Richmond

There are a lot of Boom or Bust prospects at DE this year. Several prospects might end up as OLBs in 3-4 schemes, specifically Orakpo, Brown and Maybin. Jackson needs to be drafted into a 3-4 scheme to play DE. Larry English and Michael Johnson carry a lot of hype. Barwin came out of nowhere, trying out for several positions. He is shooting up the draft charts.


(Photo Courtesy of Wake Forest University)



LB
1 - Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
2 - Rey Maualuga, Southern Cal
3 - Brian Cushing, Southern Cal
4 - Clay Matthews, Southern Cal
5 - James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
6 - Clint Sintim, Virginia
7 - Marcus Freeman, Ohio State
8 - Gerald McRath, Southern Mississippi
9 - Jonathan Casillas, Wisconsin
10 - Darryl Beckwith, LSU

Curry is probably the best finished product in this draft. He can play any LB position in the NFL. The Southern Cal trio could easily all end up going in the first round. Sintim is a pass rusher who could play OLB in either the 3-4 or the 4-3. Casillas looks to be a steal, and could be a rookie starter on the weak side for some team. If Beckwith can stay healthy, he could be another Nick Barnett.

CB

1 - Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State
2 - Vontae Davis, Illinois
3 - Darius Butler, Connecticut
4 - Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest
5 - D.J. Moore, Vanderbilt
6 - Sean Smith, Utah
7 - Keenan Lewis, Oregon State
8 - Asher Allen, Oregon
9 - Coye Francies, San Jose State
10 - Mike Mickens, Cincinnati

Jenkins would have been the top CB in last year’s draft. He’ll be drafted as a CB, but don’t rule out a move to FS if he goes to a CB-rich team, especially with the lack of a major talent at safety in this draft. After Jenkins, there’s a fight for the #2 spot on this list. Davis, Butler, Alphonso Smith and Moore are all vying to be the 2nd CB off the board. Sean Smith isn’t far off. Keenan Lewis and Coye Francies offer a lot of potential, but could probably use some coaching. Lewis could also be moved to safety.

S
1 - Rashad Johnson, Alabama
2 - Louis Delmas, Western Michigan
3 - Patrick Chung, Oregon
4 - William Moore, Missouri
5 - Sherrod Martin, Troy
6 - Chip Vaughn, Wake Forest
7 - Chris Clemons, Clemson

This year’s weakest position is at safety. There are several CBs that could make their way over to the safety position (including Sherrod Martin who already made the journey to this list). Many can make arguments for any of the top 4 listed here to be the top safety in this draft. Keep an eye on the athletic Clemons. He has the tools to be a great prospect.

K
1 - Graham Gano, Florida State
2 - David Beuhler, Southern Cal
3 - Ryan Succop, South Carolina

P
1 - Kevin Huber, Cincinnati
2 - Thomas Morstead, Southern Methodist
3 - Chris Miller, Ball State

I am not a fan of ranking kickers and punters coming out of college. It is as close as you can get to a crapshoot.

1 comment:

kiya said...

I was looking and wondering why no Gators (except Harvin) were on any lists and then it dawned on me...they all came back!!!

DYNASTY!!!