NFL Draft
NCAA Football
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last updated: 2/28/06
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Several E-Mailers have brought to our attention that Western Michigan tight end Tony Scheffler is closer to 6' 5", not less than 6' 1", as a national media outlet reported yesterday. The folks at the NFL Network also stated Scheffler was about 6' 5" today.

Scheffler is definitely a player to watch out for, after running a sterling 4.54 40 at the Combine yesterday and having a very productive college career for Western Michigan.

Scheffler is a great all-around athlete, having played first base and left field for the Broncos baseball team. He is also the cousin of Steve Scheffler, who played power forward for 7 NBA seasons.

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The Two Minute Drill has a Q & A with Auburn defensive end Stanley McClover.

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Some random unofficial 40 times (and other info) from Monday:

TE Daniel Fells 4.99 & 4.95

TE Matt Henshaw 4.75 & 4.74

DE Jeremy Mincey 4.74 & 4.75

DE Rob Ninkovich 4.95 & 4.97

DE Jason Hatcher 4.91

DE Copeland Bryan 4.95 & 4.91

DE Victor Adeyanju 4.86

DT Babatunde Oshinowo 5.25

DT Dusty Dvoracek 5.05 (31 Bench press reps)

DT Kader Drame 5.29

DT Kedric Golston 4.94 (31 reps)

DT Marcus Green 5.16 (33 reps)

DT McKinley Boykin 5.08

DT Titus Adams 5.13

DT Broderick Bunkley 4.99 & 4.95 (44 reps)

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Ohio State linebacker Anthony Schlegel ran a 4.81 40 yard dash at 250 pounds.

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40-yard dash Times

Donte' Whitner Ohio State 4.40

Dee Webb Florida 4.41

Pat Watkins Florida State 4.42

Richard Marshall Fresno State 4.42

Gerrick McPhearson Maryland 4.42

David Pittman Northwestern State 4.44

Ko Simpson S. Carolina 4.45

Derrick Martin Wyoming 4.45

Danieal Manning Abilene Christian 4.46

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Gil Brandt's fifth update from the Combine, includes 40 times for some star linebackers and defensive backs.

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More Combine numbers from NFL.com -- Top linebackers and defensive backs..

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Official 40 time numbers

Tye Hill- 4.30

Jonathan Joseph-4.31

Michael Huff-4.32

Daniel Bullocks- 4.38

All these times will vary but these are according to NFL Network.

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Chad Greenway a 4-3 OLB in college with potential to play inside in 3-4 in the pros, ran a 4.74 in The 40 today.

A.J. Hawk has had a great day, No surprise there.....Smallish LB Jon Alston is making himself some money and will move up draft charts.

Just a side note, two positions that notoriously don't get drafted in the top 10 -- Tight end and safety -- could very well get top 10 consideration because of Vernon Davis and Michael Huff. Huff might play CB, so that could change But these two guys are two of the best players/atheletes in this entire draft.

Linebacker vertical's: Roger McIntosh 41.5"; Clint Ingram and Ernie Sims had 41", A.J. Hawk and Jon Alston had 40"

LB Brandon Johnson, Louisville 4.45 (very thin)

Greg Blue - 4.62

Michael Huff - 4.37 & 4.36

Antonio Cromartie -4.49 & 4.58

Calvin Lowry-Penn State-4.58

Antonio Malone-Toledo- 4.63

Jonathan Joseph- 4.36 & 4.36

Tim Jennings-Georgia-4.38 & 4.38 (only 5'7")

Darrell Hunter - 4.41 (nice looking athlete)

Kelly Jennings - 4.40 & 4.37

Chris Hawkins-4.49

Devin Hester-4.45 & 4.44

Tye Hill-4.37 & 4.36

Marcus Demps -- 4.72

Charles Gordon-4.53

Reid Doughty- 4.71

Cedric Griffin-DB-Texas-4.52

Roman Harper hurt his hamstring, won't be able to run.

Daniel Bullocks S -- 4.41

Antoine Bethea-DB-Howard- 4.40

Darnell Bing-USC won't run but will participate in position drills

Jahmille Addaie (Nicknamed The "Hammer") - 4.61 & 4.74

Jason Allen CB/S-Tennessee - 4.42 (WOW) (looks impressive 6'2 205)

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Michael Huff- 21 reps of 225

Reuben Houston- 21 reps, Vertical Jump- 41'5 inches; 4.65 40

Roman Harper- 19 reps

Antonie Bethea- 19 reps

Michael Huff averaged 10 feet 3 inches on his broad jumps.

Michael Huff from Texas is the highest rated DB in this draft. He's 6'2 205. Has played all 4 secondary positions. Teams are thinking about him as a Cornerback. He had a great Rose Bowl game.

Roman Harper from Alabama is one of the toughest players in this class and is a dynamite tackler. An in the box safety type in The Rodney Harrison mold. That Alabama defense was sick. Carried their team the last few years and Roman was one of their top players.

Very "unofficial" 40 Times from the Combine today -- Linebackers and Defensive Backs. Check back for corrections and updates.

A.J. Hawk, Ohio State linebacker, has reportedly run an outstanding 4.57 & 4.59 40. His official size is 6' 1", 248 pounds and he did 24 reps.

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Kai Parham, Virginia linebacker, has reportedly unofficially run 40 times of 5.03 and 5.11.

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Linebackers are a strong group. The defensive players in this draft have been impressive the last few days. There's talk of maybe 4 to 6 LB's going in the first round. That's when you factor in the tweeners. The guys who were college DE's who project to OLB in The 3-4 in the pros. Guys like Manny Lawson.

Thus far today, Thomas Howard from UTEP has looked good. He ran a 4.42 in The 40 at about 240 pounds. Teams are thinking about him as a safety. Could be the perfect cover 2 linebacker. 3 down linebacker. Jon Alston from Stanford, also ran well. 4.40 in The 40. Ernie Sims from FSU is getting alot of pub and he ran well too at 4.51.

D'Qwell Jackson only ran a 4.78. The LB's are going through position drills right now. The players working right include Chad Greenway (Iowa), Abdul Hodge (Iowa), Rocky Mcintosh (The Miami), Spencer Havner (UCLA).

Thus far, A.J. Nicholson has had the worst day of any of The LB prospects in this draft (4.87 40). He's got character issues and he's had poor workouts today.

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Diary of the NFL combine: North Carolina State defensive tackle John McCargo tells of his experiences.

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Former Kansas University standout defensive Charlton Keith happy with his performance at the NFL Combine yesterday. Still, questions linger regarding his size at defensive end?

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Penn State defensive end Tamba Hali would be intriguing pick for the Detroit Lions.

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NFL.com writer Pat Kirwan writes the draft is starting to shape up and looks at 29 players he feels are likely first rounders at this point. Also, Kirwan looks at which players are on the cusp of the first frame.

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Minnesota running back Laurence Maroney said: "The Colts have a nice team and I like their style of offense. I can see me fitting in well with the Colts."

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Buccaneers.com spotlight on the Draft: Oregon State wide receiver Mike Hass.

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last updated: 2/27/06
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Virginia Tech Hokies' Jimmy Williams is big man at corner -- and he knows it.

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Closer look at some Ohio State Buckeye prospects at the Combine.......Plus, Division III star wide receiver Andy Wellendorf shows up at the Combine, despite not being invited. The 6' 5" wide receiver, with reported 4.5 speed, is hoping to meet coaches and GM's in order to get at least a free agent deal.

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More Combine numbers from NFL.com -- tight ends and defensive ends.

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Auburn defensive end Stanley McClover really helped himself at the Combine today, running a 4.65 40 and posting a vertical leap of almost 40".

McClover, surprisingly, jumped to the NFL after only two seasons of SEC football, which left some thinking he may've made a hasty decision. As a partial-qualifier coming out of high school, McClover had one more season of eligibility remaining for sure, but could've applied for a 5th season, too. So he basically decided to forego two season's worth of eligibility.

McClover looked very impressive in 2004, as a freshman, collecting 7.5 sacks and 10 tackles for losses for the Tigers. However, he was hit with nagging injuries the first part of the 2005 season, which limited his effectiveness. Nonetheless, he did play better as the season went forward -- finishing with 8 sacks and 13.5 tackles for losses.

Although we feel the 6' 3", 260 pound McClover would have been better served playing one more season for the Tigers, we have always liked his potential and would not be surprised if he moved up the draft charts (3rd round?) with these solid workout numbers.

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Syracuse defensive end Ryan LaCasse made some noise in Indy today, running the 40 yard dash in a sparkling 4.54 seconds.

But just who is this player?

While most draft sites have listed LaCasse somewhere slightly above a water boy, we've never allowed this player to slip out of our top 100 rankings, even after he was snubbed from every All-Star game, including the Senior Bowl.

LaCasse is about 6' 3", 250 pounds and is a former high school state champion in the 100 meters from Staughton, MA. His 100 meter time (10.5) in high school, put in perspective, was as good as most top cornerbacks coming out of the prep or college ranks.

For some inexplicable reason, LaCasse didn't really become a fulltime starter for the Orange until 2005, but given the chance he responded with a huge senior season -- registered 52 tackles, 9 sacks and 12 tackles for losses last season for a struggling 1-10 Syracuse team.

Watching film on LaCasse in 2005, we saw an athlete similar to a younger Grant Wistrom who could rush the quarterback, or drop into coverage when needed (zone blitz). Therefore, we've always felt he was a player that could surprise people and be drafted on the first day (3rd round?) and fit in comfortably as a 4-3 DE (if he can add weight) or a speedy 3-4 OLB.

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Georgia Tech wide receiver Damarius Biblo unofficial 40 time was 4.74 (tied for slowest time at WR).....Former GTech running back P.J Daniels did 21 reps on the bench press (225lbs) and posted a 4.64 40 time.

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DE James Wyche, Syracuse - 4.60

DE Stanley McClover, Auburn - 4.65

DE Ray Edwards, Purdue - 4.83

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Miami DE Javon Nanton (250 pounds) has reportedly run an unofficial 4.91 in the 40 yard dash.

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Defensive End Vertical Leaps

Mario Williams NC State 40½

Manny Lawson NC State 39½

Stanley McClover Auburn 39

Kamerion Wimbley Florida St. 38½

Mike Kudla Ohio State 37

Tight End Vertical Leaps

Vernon Davis Maryland 42

Leonard Pope Georgia 37½

David Thomas Texas 37½

Marcedes Lewis UCLA 37

Joe Klopfenstein Colorado 36

Garrett Mills Tulsa 35½

Unofficial 40 Times

DE Mark Anderson Alabama 4.65

DE Charles Bennett Clemson 4.70

DE Chris Gocong Cal. Poly 4.75

DE Elvis Dumervil Louisville 4.75

DE Charlton Keith Kansas (LB) 4.78

DE Parys Haralson Tennessee (LB) 4.84

TE Tony Scheffler (fullback) -- 4.54

TE Joe Klopfenstein -- 4.62

TE Garrett Mills (fullback) -- 4.57

TE Owen Daniels -- 4.65

TE David Thomas -- 4.67

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TE Vernon Davis weighed in at a little over 6'3" and 260 lbs and ran an official 4.38 40. Displayed a 42" vertical and he maxed out at 460 on the bench.

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DE Manny Lawson - 4.45 (second run)

TE Leonard Pope -- 4.62

TE Mercedes Lewis -- 4.79

DT Broderick Bunkley -- 4.99

DT Montavius Stanley - 5.24

DT Kyle Williams - 5.1

DT Roderick Wright - 5.12

DE Mike Kudla - 4.76 & 4.70

DT John Mccargo - 5.12

DE Manny Lawson - 4.41

DE Kamerion Whimbley - 4.63

DE Mathias Kiwanuka - 4.73

DT Gabe Watson - 5.29

DE Darryl Tapp - 4.87

DE Mario Williams - 4.76

DT Haloti Ngata - 5.13

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Combine notebook from Yahoo! Sports -- Keep an eye on Antonio Cromartie, Florida State cornerback.

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The NFL allows Texas quarterback Vince Young to re-take Wonderlic. This time his score is announced as a 16.

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The NFL Network reported wide receiver Jeremy Bloom ran 4.49 and a 4.5 at the Combine, but at least one NFL scout told Bloom he ran much faster than that (sub 4.4).

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Missouri's Brad Smith was one of the swiftest quarterbacks Sunday at the NFL scouting combine. But according to one AFC personnel executive, his throwing left something to be desired.

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Wide receiver Jeff Webb talks about his outstanding showing at the NFL Combine yesterday.

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More Georgia Bulldogs on their way to the Cincinnati Bengals?.....Team take a real close look at UGA safety Greg Blue.

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Wisconsin junior running back Brian Calhoun tries to explain his poor 40 time (4.62) at the Combine. Going into the event, some draft sites that "estimate" 40 times (not DD.com) suggested the 5'9" back ran in the 4.3's.

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The Washington Redskins are listening to trade offers for quarterback Patrick Ramsey, and the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins could be looking at him closely.

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The Houston Chronicle chimes in on Texas quarterback Vince Young's "reported" low wonderlic score and asks if the test is "culturally biased"?

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Even more on Vince Young's "reported" low Wonderlic score, including comments from Dennis Green of the Arizona Cardinals.......We have been predicting for the last five weeks that Green's Cardinals will select Young 10th overall.

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Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler competes to shed draft underdog status.

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ASU wide receiver Derek Hagan smiled through the questions and tried to shrug off the notion that one bad week of practice at the Senior Bowl in January had diminished his talent in the eyes of the NFL.

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Ohio State linebacker Bobby Carpenter (6' 3", 256) said he's "pretty much fully recovered" from a broken right fibula, but still needs a little more time to get to 100 percent. He'll work out at Ohio State's Pro Day, not the Combine.

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Florida wide receiver Chad Jackson, who is only 20 years old, is a player that really helped himself at the Combine. He only averaged about 10 yards per catch in 2005, but did catch 88 balls and showed he's a good "hands catcher"......Jackson officially ran a 4.32 40 yesterday, which should sooth fears that his 10 yard per catch average was due to a lack of speed. Instead, it probably had more to do with the way he was utilized in the Gators offense.

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Former Virginia quarterback Marques Haggans, attempting to make the switch to wide receiver, ran the 40 yard dash in 4.63 seconds and looked surprisingly smooth in drills.

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Tennessee wide receiver Chris Hannon did very well at the Combine, running a 4.43 & 4.49 40 unofficially and generally looking smooth in drills.

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Small college star Miles Austin of Monmouth ran a 4.47 40.

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Florida State running back Leon Washington ran a 4.42 40 and displayed a 32.5" vertical leap.

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Fresno State running back Wendell Mathis ran a 4.51 40 and displayed a 33" vertical leap.

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Toledo quarterback Bruce Gradkowski ran a 4.59 40 unofficially in the 40 yard dash yesterday, but looked "average" in the throwing drills.

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last updated: 2/26/06
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Eastern Washington QB Erik Meyer ran the 3-cone in 6.83, better than better known running QB's and many other skill positions. Meyer interviewed with Draft Daddy and will be profiled in the coming days.

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Internet reports that Texas quarterback Vince Young scored in the single-digits on the Wonderlic Intelligence Test were labeled as inaccurate by Houston Texans GM Charlie Casserly.

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Seven weeks after being suspended for the Orange Bowl for having a woman in his hotel room after curfew, Florida State linebacker A.J. Nicholson said he knows he has damaged his reputation but hopes he has not hurt his NFL draft position.

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Gil Brandt's fourth update from the Combine, includes 40 times for some star quarterbacks and wide receivers.

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Quarterback Ingle Martin ran an impressive 4.68 40 for a full sized quarterback. Word is Martin did a great job punting at the Combine (he's a top college punter) and even lined up at wide receiver a bit.

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Closer look at Florida wide receiver Chad Jackson's big day at the Combine.

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Ohio State defensive end/linebacker Mike Kudla's 45 reps on the bench press (225 lbs) ties a record set in 2000 by Norwegian strongman Leif Larsen. Larsen, who was a defensive tackle at UTEP and played 2 seasons with the Buffalo Bills (6th round pick), is currently a boxer in Europe.

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Florida State defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley did 44 reps.

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Updated, uncofirmed word is Notre Dame WR Maurice Stovall ran the 40 in 4.61 & 4.63 seconds.

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Ball speed

Ingle Martin: 61 mph

Jay Cutler: 60 mph

Brodie Croyle: 58 mph

Tavaris Jackson: 57 mph

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Reggie McNeal 4.41 & 4.37

Barrick Nealy 4.66 & 4.62

Drew Olsen 5.13 & 5.06

Paul Pinegar 5.12 & 5.13

Quinton Porter 4.70 & 4.74

DJ Shockley 4.58 & 4.54

Brad Smith 4.54 & 4.49

Kent Smith 4.74 & 4.58

Marcus Vick 4.54 & 4.49

Charlie Whitehurst 4.75 & 4.73

Erik Meyer 4.65

Adam Jennings 4.49

Greg Jennings 4.41

Greg Lee 4.62

Ben Obomano 4.46

Brandon Marshall 4.50

Anthony Mix 4.45

Sinorice Moss 4.34

Martin Nance 4.58

Ben Obomanu 4.41

Jonathan Orr 4.49

Willie Reid 4.37

Cory Rodgers 4.65

Clinton Soloman 4.62

Maurice Stovall 4.61 & 4.63

Delanie Walker 4.58

Todd Watkins 4.41

Jeff Webb 4.41

Brandon Williams 4.49

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Reggie McNeal has a chance on the next level. Whether it be at quarterback or Wide receiver, I don't know which yet. NFL Network's Corey Chavous has him as the #1 ranked quarterback in this draft. I think that's a little nutty, but McNeal has the tools. He deserves strong consideration.

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Some "official" 40 times -- Chad Jackson 4.32; Derek Hagan 4.42; and Devin Aromashadu of Auburn ran a 4.35, but struggled catching the ball.

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I'm watching Jay Cutler and Brodie Croyle in drills right now. So far, so good. Cutler is a strange bird. His body language is interesting. It looks effortless for him. He's a gifted thrower.Cutler throws a mean fastball. He puts too much heat on his throws. WR's will have to adjust some to his throwing style.......Croyle is a much better thrower than people think. I just like Croyle's technique. He's not going to be a bust on the next level. His mechanics are too sound. At the very least, he'll be a capable backup. I don't like his body type. He looks a bit fragile, too skinny. Other than that, nice thrower, good form.

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Ingle Martin has been very impressive. Nice delivery and he got the ball out on his 5th step.....Martin could possibly be having the best day out of any of the QBs. Connected on 2 deep ball and I'm starting to really like the kid.

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Our 2 men watching the Combine tells us Wide receivers, Will Blackmon, Derek Hagan and Jason Carter struggled in the catching drills in the first round, although all improved a bit the second time around.......Chad Jackson caught the ball well but "weaved" back and forth instead of running in a straight line so he did the drill wrong.......Mike Hass has clearly been the best so far. Jason Avant and David Anderson have also looked good.

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Nebraska-Omaha WR Chris Denney ran a 4.7 40, but his size could mean he's projects as an H-Back at the next level.....Matter of fact, the Chargers drafted Nebraska-Omaha WR Ryan Krause in 2004 and are in process of turning him into a valuble tight end (depth wise).

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QB Jay Cutler 4.75 -- Is looking very good in drills with his arm strength and accuracy.

QB Brodie Croyle 4.87

RB Jerious Norwood 4.40

RB Leon Washington 4.42

WR Skyler Green 4.50

WR Marques Colston 4.43

WR Derek Hagan 4.45

WR Jeremy Bloom 4.49 & 4.50

WR Mike Hass 4.61 & 4.62

WR Chad Jackson 4.37 & 4.29

WR Jovon Bouknight 4.74

WR Chris Denney 4.7

WR Ed Hinkle 4.51

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When North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams begins his NFL career, he expects it to be with the Green Bay Packers.

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Defensive end Ray Edwards felt like a scapegoat in his final days at Purdue.

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Wisconsin State Journal: Wide receiver Brandon Williams small only in stature.

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Athletic Weber State offensive tackle Paul McQuistan, who could be a major surprise in the draft process, ran an impressive 5.07 in the forty yard dash yesterday.

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Virginia running back Wali Lundy ran a 4.45 in the forty yard dash yesterday.

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Washington State running back Jerome Harrison ran a 4.47 in the forty yard dash yesterday.

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DD.com Florida correspondent Glenn Naughton:

South Florida running back Andre Hall running a 4.43 40 jumped out at me. I've always read that he was too slow to be a day one pick and didn't have top end speed. However, he always looked fairly fast in the games I've seen him play

With his versatility (very good hands and very durable) he may have helped himself quite a bit with that impressive 40 time, considering speed was his biggest question mark coming into the post-season draft process.

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Missouri star Brad Smith, who struggled significantly throwing the ball at the Hula Bowl (4-12 for 58 yards), is sticking to his goal of playing quarterback in the NFL.

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DD.com Combine Random Combine Notes

**Vanderbilt star Jay Cutler's 23 reps (225lb bench press) set a Combine record for quarterbacks.

**Southern California offensive tackle Winston Justice displayed an impressive 35" vertical leap.

**Louisiana State’s Andrew Whitworth had a banner day and may've proved to scouts he can play left tackle. Whitworth put up serious numbers -- 5.15 in the 40 and 9' 4" broad jump. Today’s showing may have put Whitworth back in the first round.

**Miami offensive tackle Eric Winston was probably the most athletic lineman in the workouts today, running an impressive 4.93 in the 40 yard dash at 310 pounds.

**Washington offensive tackle Joe Toledo, a former tight end, put up 32 reps and ran 5.11 in the 40 yard dash.

**Georgia guard Max Jean-Gilles looked very good in drills, as did Auburn left tackle Marcus McNeil, who reportedly ran a 5.07 in the 40 yard dash.

**Oklahoma guard Davin Joseph had a great broad jump, vertical leap and workout in general.....Fellow Sooner guard Chris Chester ran an impressive 4.87 in the 40 yard dash.

**Pittsburgh guard Charles Spencer ran a 5.2 40 at over 350 pounds and looked very impressive in drills.

**Ohio State center Nick Mangold had a fantastic day too, posting a nice 5.05 40 time and a solid 4.36 short shuttle.

**Michael Toudouze of T.C.U. wasn't bad in agility drills and small school prospect Jahri Evans of Bloomsburg State looked good as well.

** Haloti Ngata put up 37 reps, which may be the best of Combine, unless someone like Ohio State strongman Mike Kudla can top it.

**Colorado tight end Joe Klopfenstein did 27 reps

**UCLA tight end Marcedes Lewis did 23 reps

** USC guard Fred Matua did 28 reps

**Louisville defensive end Elvis Dumervil did 30 reps

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last updated: 2/25/06
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Combine notes: Tight end Leonard Pope and Mario Williams, a defensive end, impress with their height and physical stature.

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Wisconsin running back Brian Calhoun has reportedly run a very disappointing 4.65 40 at the Combine. Word is he did 19 reps (225lb bench press).

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Gil Brandt's third update from the Combine, includes 40 times for some star running backs and offensive lineman.

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While hundreds of former college football players would give anything for a shot to workout at the Combine in front of all 32 teams, Penn State quarterback/wide receiver Michael Robinson has informed NFL teams he won't workout.

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Seattle Times features Eastern Washington quarterback Erik Meyer, who has already been drafted three times by two Major League Baseball teams. Meyer is ready to show off his skills at the Combine.

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USC running back LenDale White admits to the media he faced the Texas Longhorns in the National Championship game at 253 pounds.

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Yahoo! sports does a nice job with a NFL free agent/Combine notebook....Was the Raiders/49ers coin flip yesterday all about Ohio State linebacker A.J Hawk?

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last updated: 2/24/06
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Brett Elliott, a former starting quarterback for the University of Utah until he was injured and replaced by Alex Smith, threw 110 touchdowns in 2004 and 2005 for Division III power Linfield College, but didn't get a Combine invite.

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Quick Combine Q & A with Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley, who would like to be a second or third round pick.

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Respected Dallas News pro football feature writer Rick Gosselin takes a look at 10 quality players not invited to the Combine, including North Texas running back Patrick Cobbs.

DD.com Comment: All but one of Gosselin's 9 position players (we don't do kickers and punters often) made our lists.....5 of those 9 players mentioned by Gosselin made our "All-Snubbed 1st team" -- Allen, Johnson, Lorello, Reid, and Evans (Check our February archives for DD.com's "All-Snubbed 1st team").

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Wide receiver Jeremy Bloom ready to change gears from moguls to NFL football at the combine.

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Q & A with Ohio State wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who won't run at the Combine.

DD.com Comment: We are only mildly surprised Santonio won't run in Indy. But if you are as fast as he's reported to be, what is there to fear?....It should be noted Ohio State is famous for having a rocket fast track, so he'll run real well there. Nontheless, again, if he's as fast as he says, why not run anywhere for scouts?

Let us also note, we like Santonio's skills and currently project him going to the Denver Broncos with the 22nd pick in the draft.

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Breaking News: The San Francisco 49ers have won a coin toss with their Bay Area rival Oakland Raiders -- The 49ers now have the 6th pick in round one.

We are projecting the 49ers will select Ohio State linebacker A.J Hawk, if he is available. The 49ers are reportedly also high on athletic Iowa outside linebacker Chad Greenway, a player we like a lot.

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Combine/NFLdraft looks at several prospects:

Reggie Bush (Q & A) -- USC RB

Charles Gordon -- Kansas CB

Anthony Fasano -- Notre Dame TE

John McCargo -- North Carolina State DT

Winston Justice -- USC OT

Danieal Manning -- Abilene Christian DB

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Gil Brandt's second update on Combine measurements for height, weight, hands and arm length.

DD.com note: Respected draft analyst Gil Brandt has mistakingly listed Colorado State wide receiver David Anderson as a quarterback in the article above.

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Bill Williamson of NBCSports.com writes both Matt Leinart and Vince Young "could dip badly in draft"

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The Miami Dolphins options at left tackle very limited in free agency and the draft.

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Michigan Tim Massaquoi bound for NFL combine...The tight end is confident he will have pro career.

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Yahoo.com sportswriter does a nice job with a NFL free agent/Combine notebook. Long look at Texas quarterback Vince Young's chances to succeed included in article.

DD.com comment: We like Vince Young as an athlete and a quarterback, but we warned our readers before he declared there would be some issues and NFL teams in the top 5 wouldn't be going completely crazy for him, unless he had stellar workouts and soothed some of their fears regarding his footwork, arm and run-first propensity at times. Young has refused to participate in Indy, so the workout display must wait another while.

Because we don't follow the entire "draft pack" on the Net that had him pegged as an absolute top 3 prospect, we took a ton of flack, particularly on various message boards where we were consistently branded morons and idiots for not toeing the Kiper-line -- projecting Young as a super blue-chip prospect.

I guess we'll see in time, but it seems Vince has more doubters in NFL circles than Mel and others led the kid to believe when he was debating whether or not to enter the draft early. We still project Young as the 10th overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals, but we'll just wait and see how this plays out before we drop him or lift him in our rankings.

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Virginia offensive tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson is turning heads at the Combine and he won't even workout in Indy.

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last updated: 2/23/06
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DD.com reminder: The scouts story below was bumped to the top of the page. So if you last read this Thursday afternoon, other stories have been added since.

A good friend of DD.com recently had the opportunity to have one or two beers with several NFL scouts in Indy for the combine. He picked the brains of three in particular and here are some of the hi-lights that he can remember. Not a scientific survey by any means, but a few honest opinions from actual scouts who get paid to make these judgments.

QB Jay Cutler – All three said he is the best quarterback in the draft. All the physical tools and has the smarts too.

QB Matt Leinart – Good quarterback but all were concerned by his physical limitations - arm strength and overall athletic ability. Floats too many balls.

QB Vince Young – None wanted to touch him in the first round. Too much of project to make the transition.

QB Brodie Croyle – Nice player, good arm but his size/frame is a concern. Known in scouting circles as "Gilligan" due to his thin build and he doesn’t appear to have the frame to hold much more bulk.

RB LenDale White – One would take him as the first running back off the board. That scout liked Reggie Bush too, but said LenDale can play for anyone, while Bush needs to be used properly in the right system-- like Westbrook with the Eagles.

RB Laurence Maroney – Solid back. One cut style runner with good speed.

RB Deangelo Williams – Good back. Past injuries not a major concern. Comparisons to Barry Sanders off base, however, scout felt. He’s not on that level.

OT Jeremy Trueblood – One scout called him "useless" and gives him a 6th round grade. Expects him to be out of the league in three years. (That's just one scouts opinion).

OT D’Brickashaw Ferguson – Clearly the best of the offensive lineman in the draft, but not on the Jon Ogden/Orlando Pace level.

DE Mathias Kiwanuka – Will get drafted too high, according to one scout. Should be drafted in the 3rd round, but will get picked in the first by somebody.

DT Haloti Ngata – Great player when he wants to be. Motivation issues.

DE Mario Williams – Physical stud. Can dominate when he wants to. Also needs to be motivated.

LB A.J Hawk – The real deal. A throwback who can do it all. Is everywhere on film.

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USA Today Combine notes: USC Offensive tackle Winston Justice has upside; former Colorado wide receiver Jeremy Bloom's timing good?

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With junior Vince Young fleeing to the NFL early, the National Champion Texas Lomghorns have named freshman Colt McCoy their number one quarterback heading into spring practice.

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Matt Hayes of The Sporting News: Troubled Virginia Tech Marcus Vick will go higher than you think?

DD.com comment: With buffoonish Mike Tice finally discarded, the last thing Minnesota needs is Marcus Vick's act to pick up the slack.....If Vick is picked in the top 3 rounds of the NFL Draft, it won't be as a quarterback -- too short (about 5' 11"), limited college experience, fairly average arm and carries too much emotional baggage.....The 40 times emphasis is almost moot at quarterback in the modern era, as teams want quarterbacks that can move the football through the air. Remember, his brother Michael Vick (who is much faster) was violently chased down from behind by a "defensive end" early in his career and almost missed an entire season due to a leg injury from that hit.

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Chick Ludwig of the Dayton Daily News does a long Q & A with Ohio State star Nick Mangold , who we are currently projecting as 32nd pick in the draft (Steelers).

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DD.com comment: We are glad with the feedback we have gotten for our list of notable Combine omissions. Thankfully, one E-Mailer informed us we messed up on the school's of a pair talented DB's from the Sun Belt Conference.....We'll actually try to make up for the typos, by giving these 2 players a short write-up and some pre-draft attention. Both players will have to be stellar at Pro Days to make it into the second day of the draft, but both are very worthy draft prospects.

CB Willie Hughely ~ Florida Atlantic -- Is a 5'11, 170 pound athlete that can run and jump as well as just about any CB in the nation. Hughely had 6 interceptions and 11 PBU's in 2004, which put him squarely on the NFL's radar. However, his numbers dropped to no interceptions and 9 PD's in 2005. It must be noted, however, that teams rarely threw the ball to his side field in 2005, making it hard for him to pad his stats....Hughely should still be on the NFL's draft radar, if he does well Pro Day. If he's not drafted, he'll be a priority free agent, we think. Has 219 career tackles and 14 career picks.

S/CB Nick Turnbull ~ Florida International -- Is a player that was absolutely dominant in the secondary for the Golden Panthers during his career. Mostly considered a safety, but has also played cornerback for head coach Don Strock to best utilize his speed and athletic ability. The 6' 2", 215 pound Turnbull had 265 career tackles, 16 interceptions (75 tackles; 5 Int's in 2004)....A respected national draft writer once told us some scouts were surprised he didn't sign with Miami (Florida) or some other major conference school out of the prep ranks. Like Hughley, Turnbull will need a strong Pro Day showing to be drafted.

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Forget the hype or even the jinx. USC running back Reggie Bush intends to change the image of Heisman winners when he enters the NFL.

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Quarterback D.J Shockley's loyalty to the University of Georgia may prove costly, as he knows his lack of playing time at UGA hurts him in eyes of pro scouts.

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Gil Brandt's first update on Combine measurements for height, weight, hands and arm length.

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Is Texas quarterback Vince Young suffering from constant comparison's to Michael Vick?

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With two first-round draft picks in the upcoming draft, the Denver Broncos can get a close look at the crop of helping hands available in Indianapolis .

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While some head coaches will be looking for size, speed, stamina and strength at the NFL scouting combine here, new Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli will be looking for those things and something more: Determination, preparation, intensity, fight, hunger and passion.

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Quick glance at cornerback Josh Lay, who has played in 46 of the Pittsburgh Panthers last 49 games, and projects as a middle-to-latter-round draft pick.

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We recently got an E-Mail with no return address regarding athletic Furman quarterback Ingle Martin, who played a little wide receiver for the Florida Gators and is an outstanding punter....Here is a close-up look at Martin getting ready for the Combine.

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SDSU possession wide receiver Jeff Webb is at the NFL combine, hoping to improve his draft stock, which he currently projects as 3rd to 5th round.

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The following is a list of top sophomore cornerback prospects, very loosely ranked. It's still very early and things can change significantly -- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Blog Note: We have now looked at every postion, except safety (coming soon) for the 2005 sophomore class. Check our February archives for more rankings.

Antoine Cason ~ Arizona

Darrelle Revis, Pittsburgh

Roshaun Fellows ~ Tennessee

D.J. Wolfe ~ Oklahoma

Jonathan Hefney ~ Tennessee

Ryan Smith ~ Utah

Adam Shada ~ Iowa

Chevis Jackson ~ Louisiana State

Ambrose Wooden ~ Notre Dame

Cortney Grixby ~ Nebraska

Simeon Castille ~ Alabama

Trey Brown ~ UCLA

Tracey Porter ~ Indiana

Jamal Harris ~ Minnesota

Jack Williams ~ Kent State

Darius Butler ~ Connecticut

Michael Grant ~ Arkansas

DeJuan Tribble ~ Boston College

Ricky Wilson ~ Houston

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last updated: 2/22/06
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Scott Wright of NFL Draft Countdown, who seemed like a good person when we met him in Mobile last month, has a Q & A with rising Wisconsin star Brian Calhoun.

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Yahoo! Sports writer Charles Robinson does a one round mock draft and explains his picks in detail.

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution looks at some of the top "names to watch" going into Combine, including some top notch safeties like Texas' Michael Huff.

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Three Michigan State Spartans, including tough safety Eric Smith and huge defensive tackle Domata Peko, look forward to doing well at the Combine.

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Tony Pauline looks at 20 prospects that have the most to gain at the Combine.

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Monmouth receiver Miles Austin prepared to shed small-school label at the Combine.

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Look at former Notre Dame linebacker Brandon Hoyte, who was not invited to today's NFL Scouting Combine.....Also, what significance does the combine have?

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Grambling State University quarterback Bruce Eugene understands what's at stake this week at the NFL Scouting Combine this week and is working hard.

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Linebacker Spencer Havner, who we met at the Senior Bowl and liked a lot as a person and football player, gets ready for the Combine.

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Northern Colorado safety Reed Doughty is one of just 15 I-AA players to Attend NFL Scouting Combine.

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last updated: 2/21/06
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Quick glance at 4 Purdue Boilermakers going to the Combine and 5 others preparing for Pro Day.

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Texas defensive back Michael Huff, the 2005 Jim Thorpe Award winner as college football's top defensive back, talks about preparing for the Combine.

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Are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally going to draft a big time offensive tackle?.

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Pete Prisco of CBS Sportsline takes a whack at ranking the top 32 players in the upcoming draft.

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution looks at some "hidden gems" going into Combine, including Danieal Manning of Abilene Christian, a defensive back who thinks he's currently somewhere between a 2nd and 5th round pick.

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The Combine seems to be an event tailored for Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway, a former South Dakota state track standout and the owner of the state’s triple jump record. He said he hopes to run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds and display a 40" vertical.

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Productive, but smallish, U.C.L.A quarterback Drew Olson prepares for the Scouting Combine.

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Texas Tech's hard hitting safety Dwayne Slay prepares for the Scouting Combine.

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The Cincinnati Bengals looking for defensive help at the NFL Scouting Combine?

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Nick Deriso of the News Star looks at three Louisiana State stars preparing for the Combine: Defensive tackles Kyle Williams and Claude Wroten and offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth.

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A host of Maryland Terps gearing up for the NFL Combine (4) and Pro Day (10).

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The Portland Tribune reports after two months working with the Patriots’ strength and conditioning coach, Tom Shaw, in Orlando, Oregon State wide receiver Mike Hass says he is “more than ready” for the NFL combine.

“I’ve improved my speed and my work at some of the other drills we’ll do at the combine,” says the Biletnikoff Trophy winner. “We’ve done speed work, thrown the ball a lot. I’ve dropped a couple of pounds (to 205) and feel like I’m in great shape.”

DD.com comment: Here is a little insider info: Mike Hass, by far, it seems invokes more E-mails to this site than any player in America. We've been pretty positive regarding Hass and every time we mention his name, the positve E-Mails just flow in. If he runs well in Indy and then does fairly well in the NFL, he'll be a big time jersey seller. Bank on that!

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NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock to Tennessee: Keep Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler in Nashville.

Mayock on Matt Leinart: “He has tremendous accuracy and touch. I question his arm strength. He has good mechanics, although he has a long motion. But better than any quarterback in the draft, he understands when and where to throw the football, and that’s criteria No. 1 to be a successful NFL quarterback.”

Mayock on Vince Young: “Vince Young is the major question mark in this draft. I think now that all the excitement from the national championship game has calmed down, that more and more football guys are stepping back and saying, ‘He might be the best athlete to ever come out in the draft, given his size, height, weight and speed. But how much do we want to modify our offense to accommodate this young man? … If I’m a GM and I’ve got to guarantee millions of dollars at that level, my personal opinion is I would go in a different direction.”

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More than 300 former college football players will arrive in Indianapolis beginning tomorrow for the NFL scouting combine. None of them are Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

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Virginia junior linebacker Ahmad Brooks has reportedly failed a drug test and at the very least has been suspended from the team for spring practice.

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Maryland tight end Vernon Davis prepares to attend the NFL's Combine this week, where "he expects" to solidify a place among the top 10 players in the draft.

DD.com comment: Davis' height could be an issue, as he's listed at 6' 3", but might even be a little shorter. Either way, we'll find out pretty soon and go forward from there. Most first round tight end's are at least 6' 5" and if Davis comes in around 6' 1" or 6' 2" that could affect his stock a bit, according to some scouts....Nonetheless, we can see him fitting solidly into round one due to his tremendous physical skills. Ben Watson of the Patriots and Dallas Clark of the Colts are both examples of first round picks at tight end that were about the same size as Davis.

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last updated: 2/20/06
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Scout.com on the bump in draft stock for Darryl Tapp after the Senior Bowl. Apparently, the Patriots see Tapp as a 3-4 linebacker in the mold of Teddy Bruschi (former undersized 4-3 DE convert). How funny would it be to see the Pats take Tapp and the New York Jets take D'Brick and those two carry on their always-entertaining matchups for the next decade?

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Assessing the market: Free agent decisions all 32 NFL teams have to make.

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Gil Brandt, NFL.com Senior Analyst, Pre-Combine Rankings: Defense

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Pretty good mock draft and overall content on this new NFL draft site by Kevin.

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Also, nice job on this new mock page. Two round mock draft, plus explanations by Peter.

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last updated: 2/19/06
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Breaking News: The Miami Dolphins were hoping to extract a first Day pick (via a trade) from another team for veteran running back Ricky Williams, but that was before tonight's news that Ricky has failed another drug test.

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Everything you want to know about Texas quarterback Vince Young's off season and much more are in this long feature.

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Oregon Ducks quarterback Kellen Clemens aims to impress NFL teams at the upcoming Scouting Combine this week while his broken ankle is still healing.

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New Orleans not tipping hand on No. 2 overall pick.......But the teams first priority is to keep as many of their free agents on the roster as possibile, including Pro Bowl offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley.

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Scout.com feature on Syracuse safety Anthony Smith, a rising draft prospect, who impressed during the 2005 season and at the Senior Bowl. Audio Q & A included.

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Closer look at Penn State defensive end Tamba Hali, who seems like a very solid first rounder going into the Combine.

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last updated: 2/18/06
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Penn State's throwback linebacker met the position's prototype yesterday. The only things separating Paul Posluszny, the Nittany Lions' Butkus Award winner, and Chuck Bednarik are six decades and a bit of geography....Poz injury update in this article.

DD.com comment: What makes this story even more worthy, is Bednarik has been openly critical of modern day athletes for being too spoiled, egotistical, pampered and not tough enough. Obviously, he doesn't feel this way about Poz, which is quite a compliment for the young Penn State linebacker.

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Jahri Evans missed out on Bloomsburg University’s football banquet Friday night, but such is the life of an NFL prospect.......Evans, a Division II All-American offensive tackle for the Huskies, is one of six non-Division I pro prospects invited to Tuesday’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

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last updated: 2/17/06
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Breaking News: Sources have notified the TFY Draft Preview that Virginia middle linebacker Ahmad Brooks has been dismissed from the Cavalier football program.......Brooks is likely to try and enter April's draft as a special exception case or could apply for July's supplemental draft if he is not reinstated by the school.

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Tennessee GM Floyd Reese said reworking Steve McNair's contract is going to be a "long, drawn out process...This is not going to happen in the next day or two or week or two. It's going to take time," Reese said.......Tennessee holds the No. 3 pick overall in the NFL draft, where they would have a chance to draft McNair's successor in either Matt Leinart, Vince Young or Jay Cutler of Vanderbilt.

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In depth look at Rutgers star defensive end Ryan Neill, who is understandably miffed at his exclusion from the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine after a great career at Rutgers.......Neill has been told by some scouts that he may project as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL. Sort of like Ryan Riddle of Cal in the 2005, except we think Neill has better "measurables". Also, Neill's ability to longsnap will help him when he joins an NFL team.

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Yahoo.com sportswriter takes a much closer look at talented Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler, who's size, arm, leadership skills and surprising athletic ability has NFL scouts and executive's buzzing about his potential.

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All-American cornerback Tye Hill, a possible first round draft pick, candidly discusses (Q & A) his future in the NFL with Clemson's student newspaper.

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Former Toledo Rockets quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, who expects to be selected between the 3rd and 5th round, is working out in Pittsburgh, as he attempts to get ready for the NFL Combine.

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Former Virginia Tech Hokies defensive back Jimmy Williams looks to follow in DeAngelo Hall's footsteps -- being a high first round pick.

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The NFL recently finalized a list of about 330 prospects that have been invited to the league's annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. As always, there were a number of quality athletes omitted from the list of prospects.....Below, we take a look at our "All-Snubbed Defensive Team". These players, in our opinion, are the best at their respective positions not to get a Combine invite.


DT Scott Paxson ~ Penn State -- Very Much an unsung player on PSU’s talented defensive line. Paxson played next to impact junior Jay Alford and the pair did a nice job, helping the Lions to a 12-1 season. Paxson finished the 2005 season with 44 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. Had 33 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks in 2004. Tall, athletic player at 6’5" and 280 pounds, who blocked 5 kicks in 2004 alone. Sort of reminds us of former NFL player Shane Burton. Paxson did not receive an invite to Combine, which is a mild surprise to us, considering his size and how well he played for a top ranked team.

DT Tony McDaniel ~ Tennessee -- McDaniel is a towering 295 pound declared junior, with a ton of potential, who's been mostly a career backup for the Vols. Had only 33 career tackles (6 TFL's) and 1 sack in his three college seasons. Picked up 13 tackles (3TFL's) in 2005, playing in only 9 games after being suspended the first two weeks due to a fight with a Tennessee student. McDaniel has said that the NFL Draft Advisory Panel has projected him as a first day draft pick, which sounds high for a player with his lack of experience and off-field problems. Nonetheless, should be a decent project type at some point in the draft.

DE Jason Hall ~ Tennessee -- Coming into 2005, he was a career backup -- 1 start in 27 games. But given the opportunity to start, he caught fire for the Volunteers, registering 51 tackles (13 for losses) and 7 sacks in 11 games. Hall is somewhat undersized, by NFL standards at his position, at 6' 3'and 260 pounds. This former high school tight end, isn't considered a great athlete. However, teammates and coaches describe him as great technician and an extremely hard worker.

DE Willie Evans ~ Mississippi State -- Sort of "small" for a defensive lineman, listed at 6’ 2" and 275 pounds, but you can’t take away Evans’ fantastic production -- 15 sacks and 21 tackles for losses in 2005. Had 24 career sacks. Outstanding athlete, with a motor that is always running full speed. Will need to come up big at Pro Day to be drafted.

LB Nick Reid ~ Kansas -- Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, turned in a fantastic senior season in 2005 -- 90 tackles (12 TFL‘s), 2 sacks and 6 PD‘s. Great athlete, who really made a lot of big plays in his Big 12 career. Reid is listed at 6’ 4", 230 pounds, but appears to be a little skinnier than the 230 pounds might suggest. That, perhaps, has some NFL scouts fearing he’s a bit of safety/linebacker tweener. Quite honestly, we are surprised he didn’t get a Combine invite.

LB Justin London ~ UCLA -- Tough performer for the Bruins at linebacker, who plays the game with a lot of enthusiasm and energy. Is a decent run stopper, but really looked good in coverage when he was healthy and at his best. Had a terrific start to his college career, registering 99 tackles (8.5 TFL’s) and 3 interceptions as a sophomore. Stats dropped a bit as a junior in 2004, to only 57 tackles, but still had 7 TFL’s and 4 interceptions. Hobbled by injuries as a senior, London totals plummeted to just 43 tackles and no interceptions in 2005. Is "listed" at 6’ 1" and 235 pounds, so his size might be less than ideal. Nonetheless, he might be a player that can help himself with a good workout at Pro Day.

LB Kevin Schimmelmann ~ Stanford -- 6’ 3", 230 pound former safety for the Cardinal who bulked up during his career and became an impact Pac-10 linebacker, leading the team with 86 tackles (7.5 TFL’s) in 2005. Culminated his college career with a tackle for a 3 yard loss in the final seconds of the East-West game to give the West squad a narrow victory. He's speedy enough to play on the outside and rugged enough to handle middle or inside linebacker. Pretty good in coverage too, which isn’t a surprise considering the time he spent at safety. This is a player that didn’t get a Combine invite, but might impress enough at Pro Day to get drafted.

CB Jovon Johnson ~ Iowa -- A starter all four seasons at Iowa and the nations active career interception leader (17), measured in at 5'8'' and 180 pounds at the Hula Bowl. Johnson was one of the better players at the Hula Bowl all week, but his lack of ideal size seems to be the area of most concern to NFL personnel. On the upside, however, he sports a 41" vertical leap, holds the Iowa record of 3.71 seconds in the shuttle drill and ran a decent 4.5 in the 40 yard dash in front of scouts at Iowa's junior Pro Day in 2005. Whether he’s drafted or not, might stick in the NFL as an extra defensive back/special teams ace.

CB Brett Bell ~ Wisconsin -- Physically talented prospect, who’s stock seems to have dropped significantly due to an accumulation of injuries during his career at Wisconsin. As a true junior, he sustained a serious shoulder injury. He was granted a redshirt and given another junior season in 2004. He played extremely well that season (64 tackles,13 PD‘s), but things went downward when he tore the ACL in his right knee during offseason workouts in January of 2005. Played and started much of last season, despite lingering knee pain. Real good prospect, at one point, but knee concerns won’t be easy to overcome for Bell.

S Trevis Coley ~ Southern Mississippi -- 6’1", 225 pound strong safety had a great career for the Golden Eagles playing with his twin brother Kevis (150 tackles and 5 sacks in 2005), a 6’ "1, 228 pound linebacker with NFL potential. Trevis, who has also played outside linebacker in college, is a ferocious run stopper and hitter in the secondary, but must prove at Pro Day he’s got the speed to be a factor in coverage. He finished the 2005 season with 109 tackles and 2 interceptions. Tremendous football player, who should make a team, regardless whether he’s drafted or not.

S Mike Lorello ~ West Virginia -- Versatile safety had another fine season in 2005, collecting 82 tackles (7 TFL’s), 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, 7 PD’s and a league leading 5 forced fumbles. Much more talented athlete than he is given credit for, with a great work ethic. Most adept at stopping the run and blitzing the quarterback. Problem, according to insiders, is NFL scouts doubt Lorello’s speed and see him more as a 6’ 1", 210 pound linebacker, until he can show them he has the required speed to play safety in the NFL. If he does run well, don’t be surprised if he sticks around as a special teams demon/backup safety.

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last updated: 2/16/06

Tennessee has agreed to terms with Pro Bowl defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch on a long term contract....Vanden Bosch, the teams defensive line elder stateman at 27 years of age, led a fairly talented group of young defensive lineman with 12.5 sacks in 2005.

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Partly due to cap constraints, the New York Giants may be forced to let cornerback Will Allen and linebacker Nick Greisen reach unrestricted free agency.

DD.com comment: If you were doing a mock draft for the Giants before reading this, you would probably figure the Giants were in the market for cornerback and linebacker help. Now, with these two starters likely to leave via free agency, the Giants need at those positions becomes greater.

Being located on the east coast, we saw a lot of the New York Giants and really believe Nick Greisen is a vastly unsung linebacker -- can play outside or inside linebacker well. If he's willing to play outside linebacker, or Nick Barnett is willing to move outside, the Green Bay Packers may be a decent fit for this former Wisconsin Badger.

Greisen brings a strong work ethic and toughness, coupled with physical talent, which is something the Packers have been missing for a few seasons. More importantly, bringing in a quality linebacker via free agency could allow the Packers a chance to use the 5th overall pick on much needed defensive line help, with either Mario Williams of North Carolina State or Haloti Ngata of Oregon heading that list, at this point.

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Former Penn State star Todd Blackledge, the 7th overall pick in the famed quarterback class of the NFL 1983 draft, will serve as an analyst for ESPN College Football Saturday Primetime, forming a new team with play-by-play commentator Mike Patrick and reporter Holly Rowe.....Blackledge will also contribute to College GameDay, SportsCenter and ESPN Radio.

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The Minnesota Vikings seeking a second round draft pick for Daunte Culpepper?

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Miami offensive tackle Eric Winston's journal, via Midland Reporter-Telegram .

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Ohio State linebacker A.J Hawk ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash for scouts at Ohio State's pro day last spring, and he's projected to be a top-10 pick, but he's not scared of running at the Combine....."I'm going to do everything. I want to go there and compete. I know a lot of times, some guys don't run at the Combine, and that's their choice. But all the teams will be there, and all the coaches and scouts. Why not try to go there and do well?"

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University of Florida junior wide receiver Kenneth Tookes will meet today with Gators coaches, and he is expected to explain why he fired a gunshot into an occupied apartment last weekend....This led Gainesville police to discover NFL Prospect Dee Webb was stashing registered assault weapons.

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last updated: 2/15/06
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A bobble through the bumps and a small splash of snow hit Jeremy Bloom harder than any linebacker could....Bloom's skiing adventure came to a less-than-satisfying close Wednesday. The two-sport star finished sixth in Olympic moguls.

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Scout.com reports the Patriots, Dolphins, Cowboys and Vikings are among the teams most interested in Auburn offensive tackle Marcus McNeill.

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Complete Pro Day schedule from NFL.com.

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With Vince Young reportedly changing his mind about throwing at the NFL scouting combine and Matt Leinart also expected to not throw in Indianapolis, Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler could be the most high profile quarterback to actually pick up a football at the RCA Dome.

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Seahawks.net takes an extensive look at the 2005 NFC Champions team needs heading into the draft.

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Newly hired Buffalo Bills head coach Dick Jauron says 2004 first round draft pick J.P Losman 'needs to be better' to keep his starting job.

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The Toronto Argonauts have signed 2001 Heisman Trophy Eric Crouch.

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The NFL recently finalized a list of about 330 prospects that have been invited to the league's annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. As always, there were a number of quality athletes omitted from the list of prospects......Below, we take a look at our "All-Snubbed Offensive Team". These players, in our opinion, are the best at their respective positions not to get a Combine invite.

QB Justin Holland ~ Colorado State -- Big, strong-armed quarterback, with a nice release, who should‘ve been invited in our opinion. Threw for over 3,100 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2005. Too many career interceptions and a history of injuries may’ve cost him a spot. ESPN guru Kirk Herbsteit loves Holland’s physical skills.

RB Antonio Warren ~ Arkansas State -- Can’t say we are surprised this smaller school prospect didn’t get an invite, but he may be the best running back not invited. Ran for over 1,000 yards in 2004 and 2005, despite sharing the backfield with fellow NFL prospect Shemar Bracey.

FB Gilbert Harris ~ Arizona -- Only four fullbacks have been selected so far, so not much room for Harris. Still, the omission of this this talented, all-around fullback caught us by surprise. Good blocker, who can help out as a receiver, too.

WR Troy Bergeron ~ Georgia (AFL) -- Bergeron, a former Auburn recruit, never attended college. After a while away from football, won the AFL’s 2005 Rookie of the Year award at the age of 21. Reportedly ran a sub 4.4 40 in front of pro scouts in January of 2005. Being connected with the Arena League had nothing to do with this snub, as 2004 AFL Rookie of the Year Adrian McPherson (QB) received an invite to the 2005 Combine.

WR Sam Hurd ~ Northern Illinois -- Tall (6‘ 2", 188), sure handed receiver, who loves to block and does it well. Had 65 receptions for 1,074 yards and 13 TD’s in 2005. Speed "might" be an issue in the NFL’s eyes, but this omission is still a surprise to us. Had 7 receptions for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns against Miami (Ohio) and NFL prospect Darrell Hunter (CB) in early October. Scary thing is, that wasn't even his best game of 2005.

TE Greg Estandia UNLV -- Tall, reliable tight end, in the Zach Hilton (New Orleans) mold. Had 49 receptions for 563 yards and 7 TD’s in 2005 for the Rebels. May not have gotten a deserved Combine invite due to missing almost the entire 2004 season due to a knee injury.

OT Albert Toeaina ~ Tennessee -- Toeaina gets a Senior Bowl invite, but no Combine invite? This isn’t a huge surprise to us, but we thought the 6’ 5", 355 pound lineman would be invited. Off-field issues probably didn’t help.

OT Travis Leffew ~ Louisville -- Longtime starter for the Cardinals, watches teammate Jason Spitz get an invite as a guard. The Leffew snub is a little surprising, but he’ll still have a chance to impress at Pro Day.

OG Will Allen ~ Texas -- In the Longhorns galaxy of stars on the offensive line, Allen seems to be a tad bit underrated to us. Rough, tough player, who we think will be tough to keep out of the NFL, once he gets a chance to perform for coaches.

OG Tony Palmer ~ Missouri -- Big, strong interior lineman, who has been a top notch Big 12 performer for several seasons. Palmer is very highly regarded by his teammates, as well as opponents, and is the type of player that may surprise people in the NFL, whether he gets drafted or not.

OC Chris Morris - Michigan State -- Highly decorated college performer, who gets snubbed by the NFL. This isn’t totally unexpected to us, but like Allen and Palmer, Morris can find solace in the fact many starting interior offensive lineman in the NFL where drafted in the latter rounds, or went totally undrafted.

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The following is a list of top sophomore linebacker prospects, very loosely ranked. It's still very early and things can change significantly -- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Outside Linebackers


Dan Connor ~ Penn State

Xavier Adibi ~ Virginia Tech

Brain Toal ~ Boston College

Ali Highsmith ~ Louisiana State

Earl Everett ~ Florida

Bo Ruud ~ Nebraska

Robert Killibrew ~ Texas

Garry Pack ~ Mississippi

Drew Kelson ~ Texas (SS)

John Shelvin ~ Minnesota

Tyler Clutts ~ Fresno State

Nelson Coleman ~ Tulsa

Beau Bell ~ Nevada-Las Vegas

Jamal Cooper ~ Wisconsin (DE)

Danny Lansanah ~ Connecticut

Cody Kase ~ New Mexico



Inside Linebackers


Corey McKeon ~ Nebraska

Brandon Siler ~ Florida

Vince Hall ~ Virginia Tech

Keith Rivers ~ Southern California

Ben Moffitt ~ South Florida

Dan Bick ~ Purdue

Dane Krogstad ~ Arizona

Jordan Dizon ~ Colorado

Jon Beason ~ Miami-Florida (OLB)

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last updated: 2/14/06
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Gil Brandt, NFL.com senior analyst, pre-combine rankings: Offense

DD.com comment: We think the venerable draft analyst Gil Brandt meant to write Paul McQuistan could surprise at the Combine, not Pat McQuistan -- his Weber State linemate and brother. Either way, notice the amount of praise Brandt throws at the Weber State offensive tackle?

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NFL Draft Almanac recently posted Q & A's with Miami (Florida) offensive tackle Eric Winston and Florida State cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

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Former first round draft pick Ryan Leaf has been named the quarterbacks coach at Division II West Texas A & M.

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Yahoo.com sportswriter takes a much closer look at smallish University of Miami wide receiver Sinorice Moss, who plays big at only 5' 8".

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NFL.com Senior Analyst Pat Kirwan takes a closer look at the top free agents heading into the off-season, including Antwaan Randle El of the Steelers.

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The Pro Bowl is supposed to be about a job well done, not a job audition, but Tennessee defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch continued his story book season by recording 2 sacks in the exhibition game.......Next step for Vanden Bosch is free agency, which could make this once forgotten talent very rich.

DD.com comment: Anyone who watched Vanden Bosch as a rookie in 2001 knows the former second round pick has talent. It was just a matter of him getting healthy enough to do the things he was always capable of doing physically, after missing almost two entire seasons due to serious knee injuries.

Although we can't completely blame the Arizona Cardinals for letting him leave, particularly after all the frustration with the knee injuries, they have to be kicking themselves a bit knowing time has a way of healing knee injuries and they allowed a high character player like Vanden Bosch to leave for the veterans minimum.

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A prominent draft insider told us at the Senior Bowl that Houston Texans owner Bob McNair will ultimately decide who the Texans select number one overall in the draft. He also told us McNair was absolutely smitten with University of Southern California running back Reggie Bush, who would be the first running back selected number one overall since 1995.

The insider told us despite the Houston media aggressively pushing local hero Vince Young on Texans, the team would reaffirm it's commitment to 27 year old quarterback David Carr, which happened last week when the team extended the former Fresno State stars contract for three more seasons. With Carr securely in place, the way is paved for a non-quarterback to be selected -- Reggie Bush?

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Former Florida Gators cornerback Dee Webb, a declared junior, and two other prominent Gators find themselves right in the middle of a bizzare shooting mystery -- who fired shots at the apartment of Webb's girlfriend?

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Ohio State is expected to have at least three players taken in the first round of the NFL draft, and center Nick Mangold is doing his best to beef up that number.......Also, Buckeyes defensive end Mike Kudla, a great workout performer, hopes to shine in Indy -- breaking the bench press record and running a 4.6 40.

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Nebraska running back Corey Ross, who stands only 5' 6", but recently ran a sub 4.4 40, looks forward to next weeks NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

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Attention NFL scouts: Jeremy Bloom is coming your way after Wednesday's moguls event in Turin.....Bloom has also told NFL teams he'll accept a no-skiing clause in his contract.

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The following is a list of top sophomore defensive line prospects, very loosely ranked. It's still very early and things can change significantly -- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Defensive Ends

Lawrence Jackson ~ Southern California

Quentin Groves ~ Auburn

Chris Ellis ~ Virginia Tech

Chris Long ~ Virginia

Tommy Blake ~ TCU

Jarvis Moss ~ Florida

Kenny Iwebema ~ Iowa

Jason Jack ~ Texas A & M

Bryan Mattison ~ Iowa

Nick Larkin ~ Boston College

Larry Birdine ~ Oklahoma

Chase Ortiz ~ TCU

Chris Harrington ~ Texas A & M

Wallace Gilberry ~ Alabama

Jesse Nading ~ Colorado State

Phillip Mbakogu ~ California

Adamm Oliver ~ Georgia Tech

Jeff Van Orsow ~ Oregon State

Jeff Schweiger ~ Southern California

Grayson Gunheim ~ Washington

Ezra Butler ~ Nevada



Defensive Tackles


DT Frank Okam ~ Texas

DT Alan Branch ~ Michigan

DT Nick Hayden ~ Wisconsin

DT Joseph Bryant ~ Texas A & M

DT Ropati Pitoitua ~ Washington State

DT Demario Pressley ~ North Carolina State

DT Aaron Johnson ~ Washington State

DT Sedric Ellis ~ Southern California

DT Chris Norwell ~ Illinois

DT B.J. Raji ~ Boston College

DT Justin Ostrowski ~ Wisconsin

DT Clifton Dickson ~ Florida State

DT Tony Jenkins ~ Syracuse

DT Carlton Powell ~ Virginia Tech

DT Jason Shirley ~ Fresno State

DT Matt Kroul ~ Iowa

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last updated: 2/13/06
**

NFL.com Senior Analyst Pat Kirwan takes a closer look at the quarterback position in the NFL.....What teams are shopping for new ones this winter?

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Breaking News: The agent for former Texas quarterback Vince Young, who stated last month that Young would throw for teams at the NFL combine beginning next week, now says Young may not throw and instead may only interview with teams.

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NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, a star left tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1980 to 1992, came away from the Rose Bowl so impressed with the University of Southern Califonia's sophomore offensive tackle Sam Baker that he called him the best left tackle prospect he had seen in many years.

Munoz, who played his college ball at USC in the latter part of the 1970‘s, gushed over the talent level of the offensive lineman that were on the field that night -- from both USC and Texas. However, he specifically said that the one player that stood out to him, above all the others, was young Sam Baker

Needless to say, Anthony Munoz knows a little bit about what constitutes an exceptional left tackle, and you best believe when he talks up a left tackle prospect to the extent he did with Sam Baker, that player is likely staring at a top 5 selection in the NFL Draft, whenever he's set to come out of school.

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The Bengals have signed free agent linebacker Rashad Jeanty, who has played the last three seasons for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.

DD.com comment: Rashad Jeanty, who was a highly regarded high school star (recruited by the Miami Hurricanes), jumped to the CFL at 20 years old after struggling academically at Central Florida.......Jeanty intended to jump to the NFL in 2005, declaring for draft, but went undrafted. After not being picked, he played out his contract in Edmonton, as no NFL team was very eager to buyout the contract of a street free agent.......Clear of his CFL committment, Jeanty had several NFL suitors this winter, including the Dolphins, Jets, Cowboys and Colts. Jeanty may be a fit for the Bengals as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

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Sport-central.org takes a look at the top offensive tackles available in the upcoming draft, including the University of Southern California's declared junior Winston Justice.

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Below we are going to look at 10 big school defensive tackles (D-1A) that did not make our top rankings at the position, but have a chance to "surprise" people during the draft process. Most of these players should be drafted. But at this point, none is seen as a likely Day one selections.

Tony McDaniel ~ Tennessee -- McDaniel is a towering 295 pound declared junior, with a ton of potential, who's been mostly a career backup for the Vols. Had only 33 career tackles (6 TFL's) and 1 sack in his three college seasons. Picked up 13 tackles (3TFL's) in 2005, playing in only 9 games after being suspended the first two weeks due to a fight with a Tennessee student. McDaniel has said that the NFL Draft Advisory Panel has projected him as a first day draft pick, which sounds high for a player with his lack of experience and off-field problems. Nonetheless, should be a decent project type at some point in the draft. Has not been invited to the Combine.

Sir Henry Anderson ~ Oregon State -- Huge, 6’ 4", 310 pound inside player that specializes in clogging the middle and stopping the run. Along with fellow senior and NFL prospect Alvin Smith, Anderson helped Oregon State finish first in the Pac-10 in rushing defense, allowing only 108 yards per game. Started all 11 games in 2005 and 22 during his career. Had 65 career tackles, including 17.5 for losses. Anderson will be at the Combine, where he hopes to improve his draft stock -- currently looks like a solid Day 2 pick.

Tommy Jackson ~ Auburn -- Run stopping 6'1", 305 pound DT, who's true value can't be measured by stats alone. Was a member of the Associated Press All-SEC First-Team in 2004, after he posted 51 tackles (7 tackles for losses) and 2.5 sacks. Followed that up with a very solid 2005 season, where he collected 41 tackles (5.5 TFL’s) and 2 sacks. Possesses quick first step beating the double team and has the ability to penetrate the backfield on a frequent basis. Deceptively quick for his sluggish looking body type. Has been invited to the Combine and projects as a Day 2 selection.

Scott Paxson ~ Penn State -- Very Much an unsung player on PSU’s talented defensive line. Paxson played next to impact junior Jay Alford and the pair did a nice job, helping the Lions to a 12-1 season. Paxson finished the 2005 season with 44 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. Had 33 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks in 2004. Tall, athletic player at 6’5" and 280 pounds, who blocked 5 kicks in 2004 alone. Sort of reminds us of former NFL player Shane Burton. Paxson did not receive an invite to Combine, which is a mild surprise to us, considering his size and how well he played for a top ranked team.

Domata Peko ~ Michigan State -- 6’ 2", 320 pound run stuffer, who is best known for his trademark free-flowing, reddish long hair. Former JUCO All-American at the College of the Canyons, came to MSU in 2004 and registered 14 tackles as a backup. Took his game up another notch in 2005, collecting 53 tackles (32 solo) for the Spartans. His brother Tupe Peko played in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts as an offensive lineman. We project Peko as a Day 2 selection, with solid Combine workouts.

Gerald Anderson -- Georgia -- If you are looking for a big space-eater in the middle, Anderson is your man, listed at 6’ 2" and 315 pounds. Hampered by injuries in 2005, big Gerald’s numbers plummeted significantly in 2005 (only 15 tackles), which was down from his tackle totals as a sophomore (55) and junior (31). Actually flirted with the idea of entering the 2005 NFL Draft, following his junior season, but decided to stay in school. If he can stay healthy and perform well in workouts, he might be drafted as teams love space-eating DT’s.

Johny Jolly ~ Texas A & M --Jolly was the lone senior on the Aggies defensive line and led the line in 2005 with 54 tackles (11 TFL’s) and 5 sacks, both team highs. Jolly, a tough run stopper who's quick and agile enough at 310 pounds to make an impact rushing the quarterback, will be at the Combine. If he workouts well in front of scouts in Indy, after a strong 2005 season, he should be seen as a solid mid round prospect -- 4th or 5th round.

Larry Dibbles ~ Texas -- Somewhat undersized for a tackle at 6'2" and 285 pounds. But he makes up for his lack of size with quickness and aggressiveness. After not playing too much as a freshman and sophomore, he broke out as a junior in 2004, with 49 tackles, 5 TFL, and 1.5 sacks. His numbers were a bit down in 2005 (35 tackles), but he pulled his weight for the National Champion Longhorns. Was very much battle tested at Texas, as teams usually ran to his side of the line, as they attempted to avoid Texas' strong side with Rod Wright and talented junior Tim Crowder. If he can put on some more weight and keep his quickness up, Dibbles could be an interesting latter-round pick.

Garrett McIntyre ~ Fresno State -- 6’ 3", 250 pound defensive end/defensive tackle hybrid sort, who went from a former walk-on to the WAC Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. Despite battling nagging injuries early last season, McIntyre was a force for the Bulldogs, collecting 7 sacks and 11 tackles for losses in just 9 games. He possesses a tremendous first step and quick burst off the line, and is putting constant pressure on quarterbacks due to his tremendous motor and array of edge rushing moves. His play on the field for Fresno State got so strong, he can no longer be ignored and some NFL team may have to find a spot for him, whether he‘s drafted or not.

Chris Mineo ~ UTEP -- 6'2", 290 pound defensive tackle, who is stout against the run and can push pocket with his strength and quickness. Had eight sacks and added 50 tackles (13 for losses) in 2004. Mineo had sacks in five-consecutive games in 2004. In 2005, Mineo had another solid season, recording 21 tackles (8 for losses) and 6 sacks in only 5 games. High energy player, constantly fighting and scrapping to get to the quarterback. He will not be at the Combine, so he must impress at Pro Day to have a real good shot at being drafted.

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last updated: 2/12/06
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Going back in our blog archives from the 2005 season, we just thought we'd list some of the small school standouts that hope to get a look from NFL teams.......These are players we featured in our blog notes, but aren't listed among our top small school players. All these players are fantastic athletes, worthy of a free agent look, at the very least:

QB Tyler Emmert ~ Carroll College (NAIA)

RB Sean Treasure ~ Mankato State (D-2)

RB Matt Birkel ~ St.Cloud State (D-2)

WR Jerome Eason ~ Southern Utah (D1-AA)

WR Lauren Williams ~ Liberty University (D1-AA)

TE Eric Boatwright ~ Graceland College (NAIA)

TE Josh Radulski ~ Maine (D1-AA)

OT Antwon Trice ~ Coastal Carolina (D1-AA)

OC Pascal Matla ~ Eastern Illinois (D1-AA)

DE Jason Trusnik ~ Ohio Northern (D-3)

LB Lenny Radtke ~ North Central (D-3)

LB Joe Sykes ~ Southern University (D1-AA)

DB Wes Hostetler ~ Northern Ohio (D-3)

FS Adam McGurk ~ Adams State (D-2)

SS Torrance "Tank" Daniels ~ Harding University (D-2)

SS Sterling Green ~ Bowie State(D-2)

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Portland State quarterback/wide receiver Nic Costa, a University of Arizona transfer, displayed amazing speed in front of NFL scouts last spring, but a rash of injuries forced him to miss almost the entire 2005 season, meaning he didn't get the much needs reps at wide receiver NFL teams would‘ve liked.

Last spring, the 5’ 11", 205-pound Costa clocked in at 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash. When NFL scouts couldn't believe their watches, he ran two more 40’s in 4.38 and 4.40. In addition, he possesses excellent strength and leaping ability. However, missing 10 games kept him from learning how to run routes, turn and catch the ball and create separation from defenders.

When Costa did finally suit up in week 11 of the 2005 season, he played quarterback again, completing 7 of 13 attempts for 99 yards and 1 touchdown against Weber State. He also rushed 7 times for 73 yards.

Costa won’t be at the Combine, but he’s sure to join other Vikings stars like running back Joe Rubin, fullback Allen Kennett and linebacker Joey King at PSU’s Pro Day, hoping to re-impress scouts.

Basically Costa remains a project. But if a team is willing to sign this former quarterback as a free agent and invest some time in developing him at wide receiver on the practice squad or NFL Europe, he may be a worthy "long shot prospect".

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Check out Scout.com's NFL Free Agency Tracker, which ranks the top 50 overall NFL free agents, led by a pair of Seattle Seahawks. Also, extensive rankings and listings of "all" free agents by position.

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The following is a list of top sophomore offensive line prospects, very loosely ranked. It's still very early and things can change significantly -- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Offensive Guards:


Will Arnold ~ Louisiana State

Charlston Gray ~ North Carolina

Jordan Grimes ~ Purdue

Kirk Elder ~ Texas A & M

Jeremy Perry ~ Oregon State

Martin O'Donnell ~ Illinois

Rocky Hanni ~ Eastern Washington

Jeremy Zuttah ~ Rutgers

Leon Hart ~ Auburn

John Hafferty ~ Kansas State

Derrick Morse ~ Miami-Florida

Roy Schuening ~ Oregon State

Shannon Tevaga ~ UCLA

Matt Alfred Eastern Washington

Jeff Byers ~ Southern California



Offensive centers:


Adam Spieker ~ Missouri

Doug Legursky ~ Marshall

Andrew Crummey ~ Maryland

Ian-Yates Cunningham ~ Virginia

Jarrid Smith ~ Florida Atlantic



Offensive tackle:


Sam Baker ~ Southern California

Jake Long ~ Michigan

Gosder Cherilus ~ Boston College

Barry Richardson ~ Clemson

Peter Graniello Arizona

Tony Brinkhaus ~ Minnesota

SirVincent Rogers ~ Houston

John Greco ~ Toledo

Bobby Byrd ~ Washington State

Pedro Sosa ~ Rutgers

Ryan Wendell ~ Fresno State

Dylan Thiry ~ Northwestern

Kirk Barton ~ Ohio State

David Overmeyer ~ Florida State

Mike Gyetvai ~ Michigan State

Chris Joseph ~ UCLA

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last updated: 2/11/06
*****

We thought we’d share parts of an E-Mail we got recently from an informed reader in Texas, regarding a running back/fullback named Rashon Myles from Abilene Christian:

Rashon Myles was not invited to the Combine, but he played in the Cactus Bowl, where he was the leading rusher [among West RB's] and had the fastest time at the 40 trials during the week. This player is big and fast. He is 6'1" and 220lbs, and runs an easy 4.45. I noticed him when my son played against him in 2004. I heard from a friend that works for the Cactus Bowl that he had sparked great interest with many scouts during the week. You guys should do some follow-up about him.

DD.com comment: We thank the reader for the input. We are aware of Myles, a University of Indiana transfer. The big prospect from Abilene Christian will be defensive back Danieal Manning, who played in the East-West game and has been invited to the Combine.......Myles, who had 45 yards rushing on 12 attempts in the Cactus Bowl, will be looked at real closely by scouts at Pro Day, as will Wildcats defensive end Clayton Farrell, who had 4 sacks in the Cactus Bowl, and wide receiver Robb Spells. Spells had only 27 receptions in 2005, but averaged over 26 yards per catch and scored 8 Touchdowns.

Two articles, focused on the NFL chances of the Abilene Christian prospects, via D2 Message board.

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27 year old Houston Texans quarterback David Carr talks openly about signing an extension, Vince Young and Reggie Bush -- a future teammate?

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Tennessee looking for help at the linebacker spot, but unless they trade down, it won't happen in round one.

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Great quote by Tennessee GM Floyd Reese on smaller linebackers, fits our thinking perfectly:

"Adding speed at the position is important if you are willing to give up some size, but it is hard. If you plan on going out and scoring a lot of points you can be like Indy. But if not you almost have to find some kind of a balance there."

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A media draft insider told us the obvious: If Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart isn't selected in the 2 spot by New Orleans, he's a virtual lock at #3 overall for Tennessee, due to his longstanding relationship with Tennessee OC Norm Chow.......Tennessee is seeking younger options at quarterback and Leinart appears to be a nice fit because he's more pro ready than some of the other top quarterbacks in the draft. That's very important for a Tennessee team that needs to win soon, after two straight sub-par seasons, and a fanbase used to winning a lot of games.

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last updated: 2/09/06
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Kelly Jennings, Miami of Florida cornerback and a prospect we like a lot, tells nfl.com what he's doing to get ready for the upcoming NFL Combine.

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We thank our loyal readers for linking our site elsewhere on the Net. We know we have actually become the "village idiots" of draft sites to some, on various message boards (i.e: Texans; Cardinals), because we have dared to project Texas quarterback Vince Young going 10th overall.

Reading responses on some of these boards, we can see some think we are "worthless", "morons", "clueless" or whatever, for not having Young in the top 3, like the other sheep on the Net.

Maybe our opinion of Young's draft status will change after the Combine or Pro Days, but for now we've openly stated our reasons why we think Young is a bit of a risk being drafted real high (see January 5th blog notes). Also, we don't see how projecting a player to be taken 10th overall in the draft is an insult to the player. It's just our opinion of how things will play out... Anyhow, it's nice to know the folks over at the Sporting News are going to also be tagged with the "idiot" and "moron" label, as they are now projecting Young to go 10th overall.

Why we think Vince Young "might" last until the 10th overall pick:

Houston -- Some Houston fans seem to think David Carr is about the worst quarterback you can have, but has anybody noticed he has completed over 60% of his attempts, thrown for over 6,000 yards and tossed more TD's than Int's the last 2 seasons (30 TD's; 25 Int's), despite playing on a team that has really struggled to protect him and provide him with weapons?

New Orleans -- What's more realistic, the Saints picking another running QB, long term project with mechanics that are odd - just after the Aaron Brooks era ended so badly for them? Or picking the all-everything, movie-star-to-be Matt Leinart?..And, who knows, maybe one day the owner ships the whole team to LA-la-land, where Leinart has some of the most high powered agents in Hollywood?

Tennessee -- After two poor seasons, the pressure on head coach Jeff Fisher and GM Floyd Reese has multiplied significantly to win now. That said, think they are looking for a "talented project" that could use a couple seasons to develop?.. Do Fisher and Reese have that much time?.. Also, why would Fisher and Reese even care that Steve McNair endorses Young, as some on the Net have suggested. Since when did McNair become owner Bud Adams, calling the shots?

New York Jets -- We were told by a New York Daily News beat writer last month that former Jets GM Terry Bradway was on the "hot seat" and drafting Young was not option for a Jets team needing to win right away. Since then, Bradway has been demoted, so it opens up a chance the Jets might go with Young. But we were in Mobile and it's no secret the Jets loved Vanderbilt’s Jay Cutler. Mangini seems to be the one with the ear of the new GM Mike Tannenbaum and he comes from the pedigree of Tom Brady winning the Super Bowl as a pocket quarterback.

Green Bay -- Very unlikely they go for any quarterback in the first 5 rounds of the draft. First off, they need to improve their defense. Secondly, they drafted Cal quarterback Aaron Rogers in the first round last April.

Oakland -- Tell us the last time Oakland's owner used a top 20 pick on a quarterback or had a winning team led by a quarterback younger than 30 years of age?

San Francisco -- Alex Smith, for better or worse, is the quarterback of the future. It's unthinkable they pick another QB, when they badly need defenders. 49ers could trade down if the demand is there for Young from another team like Arizona or Baltimore, where GM Ozzie Newsome is said to be smitten with Young.

Buffalo -- We actually believe Young would be a more viable option than Bills current quarterback J.P Losman, who we didn't like at all prior to the 2004 draft. But does anyone think owner Ralph Wilson and new GM Marv Levy, who are both in their 80's, want to start over with a new developmental quarterback now?

Detroit -- We just don't see the Lions going for Young. Even more so now, with Mike Martz running the offense. Also, remember this: For all the firings in Detroit recently, staunch Joey Harrington loyalist Matt Millen remains as the teams GM?

Arizona -- Now this is a perfect fit, if we'd dare to be so bold.

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The following is a list of top sophomore tight end prospects, very loosely ranked. It's still very early and things can change significantly -- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Greg Olsen ~ Miami-Florida

Zach Miller ~ Arizona State

Jonathan Stupar ~ Virginia

Martin Rucker ~ Missouri

Fred Davis ~ Southern Cal.

Tom Santi ~ Virginia

Gary Barnidge ~ Louisville

Eric Butler ~ Mississippi State

Marcel Frost ~ Ohio State

Tate Casey ~ Florida

Kory Sperry ~ Colorado State

Joe John Finley ~ Oklahoma

Robert Lewis ~ Washington

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The folks at DallasCowboys.com take an in depth look at the teams needs at wide receiver.

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Despite a constant barrage of taunts from opposing cornerbacks and doubts about his athletic ability from fans his whole career, NFL prospect Mike Hass accepts the 2005 Biletnikoff Award tonight.

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The following is a list of top sophomore wide receiver prospects, very loosely ranked. It's still very early and things can change significantly -- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Dwayne Jarrett ~ Southern California

Calvin Johnson ~ Georgia Tech

Ted Ginn Jr. ~ Ohio State

Todd Blythe ~ Iowa State

Limas Sweed ~ Texas

Robert Meachem ~ Tennessee

Marcus Monk ~ Arkansas

Billy Pittman ~ Texas

Ernie Wheelwright ~ Minnesota

Jordy Nelson ~ Kansas State

Early Doucet ~ Louisiana State

Keith Brown ~ Alabama

Dorien Bryant ~ Purdue

Lance Leggett ~ Miami-Florida

Eddie Royal ~ Virginia Tech

D.J Hall ~ Alabama

De'Cody Fagg ~ Florida State

Kim Thompson ~ Northwestern

Clyde Edwards ~ Grambling

Craig Chambers ~ Washington

Terry Love ~ Michigan State

Anthony Gonzalez ~ Ohio State

Frantz Hardy ~ Nebraska

Cameron Colvin ~ Oregon

Dusty Sprague ~ Colorado

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last updated: 2/09/06
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Looks like the Houston Texans are going forward with quarterback David Carr and will not draft a replacement for him in the upcoming draft -- The Texans set to extend his contract?

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All-MAC linebacker Javan Lee may come back to the Northern Illinois football team in the fall.......Lee was initially listed on ESPN.com as declaring for the NFL Draft, but when asked about it, Lee said he did not officially declare and was only talking about it.

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The Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League are considering signing 2001 Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch to play quarterback north of the border.

Crouch was a star quarterback at Nebraska, but scouts in the United States never felt his size and arm strength were good enough to play the position in the NFL. Crouch spent the 2005 season playing safety for the Hamburg Sea Devils of NFL Europe, after being allocated to the spring league by the Kansas City Chiefs.

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NFL News: Veteran sports broadcasting icon Al Michaels, who gained a tremendous amount of acclaim during the 1980 Winter Olympics, was traded from ABC to NBC for a cartoon bunny.......The rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a bunny created by Walt Disney in the 1920s before he invented Mickey Mouse, were transferred from NBC Universal to The Walt Disney Co. as part of the agreement to release the broadcaster from his contract with ABC and ESPN.

Al Michaels quote -- "Oswald is definitely worth more than a fourth-round draft choice," Michaels said, referring to what the Kansas City Chiefs gave the New York Jets as compensation for releasing coach Herm Edwards from his contract. "I'm going to be a trivia answer someday."

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Closer look at Daniel Fells of Cal-Davis, the only small school tight end invited to the NFL Scouting Combine........"It was definitely a surprise," Fells said. "Just being invited is a huge honor. It means that someone out there likes me".

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It looks like promising Texas A & M sophomore-to-be safety and return specialist Jordan Chambless will give up football to concentrate on pro baseball. Chambless, who injured his knee in week 6 for the Aggies and missed the remainder of the season, is a top notch Major League Baseball pitching prospect (drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 2004) as a right-handed reliever with a consistent 96 MPH fastball.

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Utah has two fine quaterbacks heading into next season -- junior-to-be Brian Johnson and senior-to-be Brett Ratliff, but both can't play at the same time.......Johnson's ACL injury opened the door for Ratfliff, who looked simply dominant at the end of the 2005 season.

*****

Very few NAIA players have been drafted by NFL teams in the last decade, or so, but a fine prospect to keep an eye on is Azusa Pacific linebacker Stephen Holte, who was a two time first team NAIA All-American linebacker.

Holte, a very good student and top playmaker for the Cougars, was a repeat first team NAIA All-American in 2005, after recording 137 tackles (15 for losses), 3 interceptions and 6.5 sacks in just 10 games. Holte is the type of type athlete NFL teams must consider, either as a latter round draft pick, or as a priority free agent, despite the fact he played at the NAIA level.

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Texas Defensive Tackle Rodrique Wright, who hopes to be a high pick in the upcoming draft, is the nephew of former NFL wide receiver Elmo Wright, who was a first round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in the quarterback and running back rich 1971 NFL Draft.

But did you know Rod’s uncle Elmo is widely credited as the first NFL player to celebrate in the end zone after a touchdown?

In November of 1973, after catching a touchdown pass thrown by Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson, Wright ran in place at a frantic pace, pumping his knees and his arms, stopping long enough to spike the football. That was believed to be the first end zone dance in NFL history.

So, even toough Uncle Elmo wasn't a great player in the NFL, he paved the way for future great players like Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Terrell Owens and others to prance around in the end zone.

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Is time running out for Michael Vick, the first overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft, to join the elite quarterbacks in the NFL?.......Amazingly, despite an average to poor 2005 regular season, Vick will be playing in the Pro Bowl this weekend.

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Super agent Leigh Steinberg believes with Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush on the board, draft decisions won't be made until the final moments before the draft......"It's in Houston's interest to play it out to the very last second," Steinberg said. "They will maximize their options."

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Are the linebacker needy San Francisco 49ers focused on using a high draft pick on Iowa Hawkeyes star Chad Greenway, who impressed the 49ers coaching staff all week at the Senior Bowl?

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Below we are going to look at 10 big school defensive ends (D-1A) that did not make our top rankings at the position, but have a chance to "surprise" people during the draft process. Most of these players should be drafted. But at this point, none is seen as a likely Day one selections.

Julian Jenkins ~ Stanford -- This 6’ 4" , 275 pound defensive end, has a nice combination of size, strength and athleticism. Very effective in putting pressure on the quarterback as an inside player, registering 7 sacks in 2005. Played in the Senior Bowl and has been invited to the Combine.

Copeland Bryan ~ Arizona -- Is a 6’ 4", 245 pound edge rusher, who had some success early in his career, only to tail off, production wise, significantly as a sophomore and junior. Bounced back in a big way in 2005, leading the Wildcats rush with 7.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for losses. Has been invited to the Combine, where teams undoubtedly will give him a look at outside linebacker, in addition to defensive end.

Jeremy Mincey ~ Florida -- Some think this 6’ 4", 260 pound defensive end can fit as a 3-4 linebacker at the next level. Good speed and edge rushing skills. Had 62 tackles (10.5 for losses) and 3.5 sacks in 2005 for the Gators. Played extremely well at the Hula Bowl. Has been invited to the Combine, where he will likely show his outstanding speed.

Melvin Oliver ~ Louisiana State -- This 6’3", 280 pounder was a very underrated player, lost in a Galaxy of prominent SEC performers on the Tigers defensive line. Fairly stout against the run, and flashed nice edge rushing skills in 2005, collecting 9 sacks for Louisiana State. Has been invited to the Combine.

Devan Long ~ Oregon -- Brother of NFL defensive tackle Rein Long , although they don’t alike at all. Devan is a tenacious defensive end, who led the Ducks with 14 tackles for losses in 2005. Is very stout against the run and can flash some edge rushing skills from time to time. Played fairly well in the East-West game. Solid talent, who hopes to fair well enough at Pro Day to become a Day 2 draft pick.

Paul Carrington ~ Central Florida -- Very tall, skinny defensive end, who came on big time in 2005 as a redshirt senior for the Golden Knights. He led the defense with 9 sacks last season. Carrington is the type of player that can be drafted on Day 2 if he fares well at the schools Pro Day, as some NFL scouts will like the fact he still has room to add weight to his 260 pound frame. Good athlete for his size.

Jason Hall ~ Tennessee -- Coming into 2005, he was a career backup -- 1 start in 27 games. But given the opportunity to start, he caught fire for the Volunteers, registering 51 tackles (13 for losses) and 7 sacks in 11 games. Hall is somewhat undersized, by NFL standards at his position, at 6' 3'and 260 pounds. This former high school tight end, isn't considered a great athlete. However, teammates and coaches describe him as great technician and an extremely hard worker.

Willie Evans ~ Mississippi State -- Sort of "small" for a defensive lineman, listed at 6’ 2" and 275 pounds, but you can’t take away Evans’ fantastic production -- 15 sacks and 21 tackles for losses in 2005. Had 24 career sacks. Outstanding athlete, with a motor that is always running full speed. Will need to come up big at Pro Day, as he hasn’t received an invitation to the Combine.

Ryan Neill ~ Rutgers -- At "only" 6’ 3" and 260 pounds, Neill doesn’t look like your prototypical defensive end prospect -- kind of small by NFL standards. However, what he lacks in size, he makes up with his excellent athletic ability and tenacity. Son of Bill Neill, former New York Giant starting defensive tackle in the early 1980’s. Ryan Neill, along with fellow senior defensive end Val Barnaby, led Rutgers potent defensive line with 10 sacks each in 2005.

Adam Braidwood ~ Washington State -- The top draft-eligible Canadian prospect from a U.S college. This 6’4", 264 pound defensive end was mostly a backup and special teams performer for the Cougars his first 2 seasons in Pullman. After adding weight and muscle, the native of British Columbia became a starter in 2004 and has been fairly impressive, registering 11 sacks since the beginning of the 2004 season. He’s also very strong at the point of attack and pretty stout versus the run, making him an all around, versatile Pac-10 defensive end.

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last updated: 2/08/06
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DD.com correction note -- Double checking, we noticed we mistakenly left Iowa running back Albert Young off of our top sophomore running back watch list.......Young rushed for for 1,300 yards in 2005, given Hawkeyes a desperately needed running threat they severely lacked in 2004.

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Dennis Erickson, who has held prominent head coaching jobs in the NFL and college football, has been named head coach at the University of Idaho, a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) school.

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www.nbcolympics.com takes a closer look at former Colorado wide receiver Jeremy Bloom, who hopes to make to the jump to the NFL after the games in Torino.

Anonymous NFL scout: "He may have some value as a return man, though not as an everyday wide receiver ... In college, all he did was run fast, he wasn't a memorable receiver"

DD.com comment: Seven days from today the week the nation meets Jeremy Bloom on the moguls course. To say he's not an everyday receiver is true in the traditional sense of the phrase, but discounts the fact that many teams successfully rely on the slot receiver to make plays. Former Pats' OC Charlie Weis' gameplans often depended upon slot receivers beating their easier matchups with nickel or dime defensive backs.

Yes he is undersized but in the sense of a dynamic returner and sometimes slot receiver, Bloom could be alot more than just another player. His game has shades of Jaguar Jermaine Lewis (former Raven/Texan). At Colorado there were taller players on the outside, but other teams doubled the slot receiver, which was the playmaker Bloom. He’s dynamic, speedy and an elite athlete, despite lack of height. Could be a marketing coup in the right market, for example NY Jets to replace the retiring Wayne Chrebet or locally in Denver, who need a deep threat and special teams help. By the way, Bloom has been officially clocked at 9.4 seconds in the 100 yard dash -- that's flying, without wings.

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Brandon Eaton, a 6' 2", 300 pound senior, who was a mainstay on the right side of the University of Hawaii offensive line for the last three seasons at both tackle and guard, is a player that hopes to surprise people at Pro Day workouts, after doing a solid job at the Hula Bowl last month.

Although the Hula Bowl generally invites a whole group of extra Hawaii players each season to help drum up ticket sales, as we noted in our early November of 2005 blog notes, Eaton, a Houston native recruited by the likes of Louisiana State and Oklahoma, was the first Rainbow Warrior to receive an invite and he played extensively in the game, showing his invite was mostly based on NFL potential, more so than the need for the folks in Honolulu to sell some extra tickets.

Hawaii head coach June Jones: "He's really grown up with us. When he first came here he was a young pup. He's gotten stronger. He pays attention to detail. He's become a leader. He'll get a chance, I think, to play at the next level. He's tough, and he's smart. You need those things in an offensive lineman."

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Look at talented Utah State offensive tackle Donald Penn, who will be unable to workout at the Combine due to a MCL injury sustained in the Hula Bowl.......Penn names 7 NFL teams that have shown the most interest in him, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

DD.com comment -- Per our sources, Penn had a great week of practice in Honolulu and good Pro Day workouts in Logan, Utah can place him securely on a number of teams Day 2 radar.......Versatile player too, as he's played both tackle spots and guard during his college career.

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The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports the Pittsburgh Steelers will likely part ways with backup quarterback Tommy Maddox in the off-season and may select a quarterback on the second day of the draft to groom as a possible backup, if they like one that is available.

DD.com comment -- Pittsburgh native Bruce Gradkowski, a truly blue collar quarterback from the University of Toledo, would be a nice fit for the Steelers and he can had, perhaps, with a 4th or 5th round pick, at this point.

The knock on Gradkowski is he lacks top arm strength, but he can still throw the ball with some zip and has shown nice mechanics, solid accuracy and elusiveness in the pocket. Stands tall and makes quick reads. He also Feels the pressure and steps up well in the pocket. His best asset of all, however, may be his team leadership skills.

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Although it's long been expected that Baltimore will will use the franchise tag on Jamal Lewis, GM Ozzie Newsome suggested that is not a certainty.......Some have suggested Baltimore is looking at Southern California's LenDale White as a possible alternative at running back.

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The following is a list of top sophomore running back and fullback prospects, very loosely ranked. It's still very early and things can change significantly -- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.


Running backs

Adrian Peterson ~ Oklahoma

Marshawn Lynch ~ California

Antonio Pittman ~ Ohio State

Kyle Bell ~ Colorado State

Albert Young ~ Iowa

Darius Walker ~ Notre Dame

Rudy Burgess ~ Arizona State

Mike Hart ~ Michigan

Branden Ore ~ Virginia Tech

LV Whitworth ~ Boston College

Yvenson Bernard ~ Oregon State

Gary Russell ~ Minnesota

Justin Forsett ~ California

Lance Ball ~ Maryland

Amir Pinnix ~ Minnesota

Rafael Little ~ Kentucky

Danny Ware ~ Georgia

Ramonce Taylor ~ Texas

Charlie Jones ~ Miami

Lynell Hamilton ~ SDSU

Brad Lester ~ Auburn



Fullbacks

Peyton Hillis ~ Arkansas

Owen Schmidt ~ West Virginia

Jehuu Caulcrick ~ Michigan State

Jacob Hester ~ Louisiana State

Michael Pitre ~ UCLA

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last updated: 2/07/06
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Several former Ohio State players, including safeties Donte Whitner and Nate Salley, among the prospects training in Euclid, Ohio to get ready for NFL Draft Combine.

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According to the Hartford Courant, Randy Edsall, headcoach of the University of Connecticut Huskies, told on-line chatters that junior running back Cornell Brockington was given a sixth round projection by NFL scouts. Brockington renounced his final season of college eligibity in January in order to enter the upcoming draft.

DD.com comment -- After rushing for 1,218 yards (11 TD’s) and collecting 34 receptions for 234 yards in 2004 as a sophomore, which earned him first-team all-Big East recognition, Brockington looked like a rising NFL future prospect.......But things seemed to crash for him in 2005, falling out of favor with the coaching staff and being relegated to backup running back behind Terry Caulley. He ran for barely over 330 yards last season, with about half of that yardage coming against Division 1-AA Liberty (115 yards).

We’ve seen a lot of Brockington, and don’t know what to make of this projection. The player we saw in 2004 seemed very draftable (5th to 7th round); the player we saw in 2005 seemed almost unworthy of a free agent deal.

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With only one starter eligible for free agency -- linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer, Chicago is loaded with extra cap money to spend on quality free agents like Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antwaan Randle El.

DD.com comment -- NFC North cap space, according to link above:

Minnesota Vikings -- Currently $24 below the cap threshold.

Green Bay Packers -- Currently $22 below the cap threshold.

Chicago Bears -- Currently over $16 million below the cap threshold.

Detroit Lions -- Currently $9 below the cap threshold.

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Are the Arizona Cardinals going to attempt to sign Indianapolis Colts running back Edgerrin James, a unrestricted free agent, as a means to help fill a new stadium?....One Arizona writer says James is really needed in the desert.

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Coming into this season, Tennessee defensive end Jason Hall was a career backup -- 1 start in 27 games. But given the opportunity to start this season, he caught fire for the Volunteers, registering 51 tackles (13 for losses) and 7 sacks in 11 games.

Much like fellow Tennessee defensive end Parys Haralson, Hall is somewhat undersized, by NFL standards, for his position at 6' 3'and 260 pounds. Word around Knoxville is Hall, a former high school tight end, isn't considered a great athlete. However, teammates and coaches describe him as a "great technician" and an extremely hard worker.

Will this hard work lead to a job in NFL?

At this point, following a solid senior season, being a Day 2 draft pick seems likely, pending positive post-season workouts.

DD.com info -- Hall has not been invited to the Combine, so he'll have to impress at Tennessee's Pro Day.

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In depth and close up look at North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams, who hopes to be the first defensive player selected in the draft.

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ESPN Draft guru Mel Kiper is predicting the guard needy Indianapolis Colts will select USC's Taitusi "Deuce" Lutui in the first round of the draft.

DD.com comment -- Indianapolis team President Bill Polian has a history of selecting offensive lineman after the second round. To think Polian will draft a "interior lineman" in the first round seems like more of a stretch, although the Colts definitely need a lot of guard help.....With Edgerrin James on the cusp of leaving via free agency, running back could be the Colts greatest need.

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ESPN's Len Pasquarelli: Steady Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot of off-season work to do if they want a shot at another title.

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Below we are going to look at 10 big school offensive guards (D-1A) that did not make our top rankings at the position, but have a chance to "surprise" people during the draft process. Most of these players should be drafted. But at this point, none is seen as a likely Day one selections.

Rob Sims ~ Ohio State (Combine invite)

Chris Chester ~ Oklahoma (Combine invite)

Robin Meadow ~ Washington (Combine invite)

Brad Honeycutt ~ Georgia Tech (No Combine invite)

Dan Stevenson ~ Notre Dame (Combine invite)

Jason Palermo ~ Wisconsin (No Combine invite)

Tony Tella ~ Miami-Florida (Combine invite)

Adam Stenavich ~ Michigan (Combine invite)

Aaron Merz ~ California (No Combine invite)

Will Allen ~ Texas (No Combine invite)

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Below we are going to look at 10 big school offensive tackles and 5 big school centers (D-1A) that did not make our top rankings at the position, but have a chance to "surprise" people during the draft process. Most of these players should be drafted. But at this point, none is seen as a likely Day one selections.

Offensive tackles:


Rashad Butler ~ Miami-Florida (Combine invite)

Brad Butler ~ Virginia (Combine invite)

E.J. Whitley ~ Texas Tech (Combine invite)

Jeromey Clary ~ Kansas State (Combine invite)

Donald Penn ~ Utah State (Combine invite)

Michael Toudouze ~ T.C.U. (Combine invite)

Travis Leffew ~ Louisville (No Combine invite)

Terrence Pennington ~ New Mexico (Combine invite)

Troy Reddick ~ Auburn (Combine invite)

Isaac Sowells ~ Indiana (Combine invite)



Offensive centers:


Brian Van Acker ~ Northern Illinois (No Combine invite)

Pat Ross ~ Boston College (Combine invite)

Donovan Raiola ~ Wisconsin (Combine invite)

Will Montgomery ~ Virginia Tech (Combine invite)

Marvin Philip ~ California (Combine invite)

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Several loyal readers have asked about Georgia guard Max Jean Gilles, and the perception that his stock has fallen among draft guru's, presumably because he didn't impress in Mobile with his physique.

In our opinion, Jean-Gilles is the flat out best guard in the draft and one of the better overall players regardless of position. He came in heavy in Mobile, but he's a natural heavy like Larry Allen or Ted Washington heavy. He's not skinny, but it's a hard fat, so to speak. He's been 340+ since he was 18 this is not a player who just bulked up out of nowhere, he's been a giant all his life and a giant he shall remain.

At the root this is a game of physics: force = mass x acceleration. Take a guy at 360 pounds and move him at the same rate (or faster) than a guy who's 315 pounds the difference is tremendous. Jean-Gilles talent's make him essentially a running game on two feet. Just by showing up at your favorite NFL team's compound, the starting tailback YPC goes up by half a yard. If this player goes as we projected to a place like Tampa Bay in round 1 it would compliment their franchise player completely. A true road grader that we cannot say enough good things about.

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The following is a list of top sophomore quaterback prospects, very loosely ranked. It's still very early and things can change significantly-- new names will emerge and rankings will change in time.

Brian Brohm ~ Louisville

Kyle Wright ~ Miami-Florida

JaMarcus Russell ~ Louisiana State

Chad Henne ~ Michigan

Erik Ainge ~ Tennessee

Blake Powers ~ Indiana

Brett Myers ~ Iowa State

Matt Flynn ~ Louisiana State

John David Booty ~ Southern California

Rhett Bomar ~ Oklahoma

Matt Ryan ~ Boston College

Brian Johnson ~ Utah

T.C Ostrander ~ Stanford

Colt Brennan ~ Hawaii

Paul Smith ~ Tulsa

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last updated: 2/06/06
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Look back at the great 1974 NFL Draft class, which some think is the greatest ever. The Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in the 1970's after picking four future Hall of Famer's in the '74 Draft.......Also, some other picks in that 17 round draft were notable due to the players family ties, including wide receiver Tim Berra, son of a baseball Hall of Famer.

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Next Level Scouting is reporting former University of Texas backup and Oregon State University recruit Edorian McCullough has declared for the NFL Draft. At one point, McCullough was considered the top high school cornerback prospect in the nation, but he only played briefly at Texas due to academic problems.......He spent the 2004 season at City College of San Francisco where he had a huge season, but never made it onto the field for the OSU Beavers in 2005, to the best of our knowledge.

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Next Level Scouting is reporting that 24 year old Saskatchewan Roughriders wide receiver Jamel Richardson has declared for the NFL Draft. Richardson had 55 receptions (12 yard average) and no touchdowns in 2005 for the Riders.......We have no reason to believe Richardson will be given strong draft consideration at this point.

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Scouting report for University of Calgary defensive end Dan Federkeil from the official site of the Canadian Football League.

Dan Federkeil was impressive in the East-West game, although that isn't mentioned in the report above, which was posted prior to that game.......During his time in San Antonio, Federkeil had extended conversations with at least three NFL teams. Coming from the CIS, being drafted isn't going to be easy. But if he can actually run a 4.8 40 and display a 32" vertical leap at 285 pounds for NFL scouts, he definitely deserves Day 2 consideration.

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With Big Ben struggling, former Chicago Cubs draft pick and University of Indiana quarterback Antwaan Randle El hooked up with a former quarterback from the University of Georgia for a huge Steelers touchdown.

DD.com comment -- Antwaan Randle El is now a unrestricted free agent and rumor is the Steelers may have a tough time signing him due to cap reasons. If he does leave, the Steelers will be forced to address the wide receiver spot fairly early in the draft.

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Below we are going to look at 10 big school tight ends (D-1A) that did not make our top 15 rankings at the position, but have a chance to "surprise" people during the draft process. Most of these players should be drafted. But at this point, none is seen as a likely Day one selections.

Quinn Sypniewski ~ Colorado -- Tall, very strong tight end that tips the scales at 265 pounds. Very highly regarded coming out of high school, but an unfortunate streak of injuries held him to just 11 receptions for 79 yards in his first three seasons at Colorado. Finally healthy in 2005, he broke out in a major way, hauling in 29 receptions for 447 yards (15.4 average) and 5 touchdowns. Imagine his numbers if he didn’t have to share the ball with fellow tight end Joe Klopfenstein? If Quinn can show he can stay healthy, NFL teams are very interested in him. He will be at the Combine.

Greg Estandia ~ Nevada-Las Vegas -- Tall, reliable tight end, in the Zach Hilton (New Orleans) mold. Had 49 receptions for 563 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2005 for the Rebels, which is amazing production for a college tight end. May not have gotten a deserved Combine invite due to missing almost the entire 2004 season due to a serious knee injury.

Cooper Wallace ~ Auburn -- Didn’t have a great 2005 season, statistically for the Tigers, with 20 catches for 195 yards, but as a junior (2004) Cooper showed he can stretch the field, registering 19 receptions for 302 yards (16 yard average). At 6’ 4" and 233 pounds, he’s a willing blocker, who brings nice athletic skills to the table. Probably more of a Day 2 pick, at this point, but Wallace will have a chance to move up our rankings at the Combine.

Tim Massaquoi -- At one point, he was regarded as one of the top recruits in the nation as wide a receiver/tight end, but didn’t have a great career at Michigan, hauling in 46 receptions for 489 yards and 2 touchdowns in four seasons. He was hoping for a breakout senior season in 2005, but was affected by injuries and only had 11 receptions for 86 yards in six games. Despite the lack of production, he has been invited to the Combine and might be drafted on Day 2.

Erik Gill ~ Pittsburgh -- Gill is a player we had ranked much higher following a breakout junior season in 2004, when he had 25 receptions for 433 yards (17 yard average) and 4 touchdowns. A lot was expected from Gill in 2005, but some off-field issues during the summer and a drop in production as a senior (24-244-1 TD) caused him to lose some momentum in the eyes of scouts. Still, Gill isn’t a player that should be ignored, due to his size, athletic ability and plus blocking skills. Has not been invited to the Combine, which harms his chances of being drafted.

David Jones -- Louisiana State -- Did not have the breakout season many expected in 2005, but he’s an effective blocker, who can stretch the field as a receiver too. Jones needs to work on his hands a bit, but he really didn’t see the ball thrown his way that much. In three seasons of action for the Tigers, Jones had a career total of 35 receptions for 525 yards and 2 touchdowns. That’s a 15 yard career average. He was not invited to the Combine, so he’ll need to do real well at Pro Day to be drafted.

Dustin Dunning ~ Vanderbilt -- This 6’ 4", 250 pound tight end provided a nice a target for Vandy star Jay Cutler, grabbing 35 receptions for 389 yards (11 yard average) in 2005. Possesses a reliable set of hands and runs precise routes. Has also improved his blocking in his time at Vanderbilt. Truly flying below the radar, having not been invited to an All-Star game or the Combine, but he’s the type of player that can sneak into the draft or be considered a worthy free agent possibility.

Ryan Hamby ~ Ohio State -- Pretty good receiving tight end, with excellent size (6’ 5", 256) who is unfairly judged by some fans because of a key drop against Texas in 2005. A total of 45 receptions for 482 yards and 5 touchdowns for his career. Production dropped sharply in 2005 (9 receptions, 85 yards) due to an injury. Hamby, at this point, projects as Day 2/free agent type prospect. He was not invited to the Combine.

Darcy Johnson ~ Central Florida -- This 6’ 5", 256 pound tight end had a solid season for the Golden Knights -- 36 receptions for 435 yards and 2 touchdowns. Decent blocker, who can create match up problems in the secondary with his athletic ability. Played in the Las Vegas Classic. Has not received an invite to the Combine, so he must impress at Pro Day.

Lee Burghgraef ~ Arizona State -- 6’ 5", 252 pound H-Back/ back-up tight end for the Sun Devils had a total of 19 career receptions and 1 touchdown, but he’s considered a excellent blocker. Probably a 7th round/free agent type.

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last updated: 2/05/06
**

Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart concedes he doesn't have super arm strength or great speed, but feels he brings great leadership skills and intensity to the huddle.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in the Super Bowl tonight to end the 2005 season, so the draft order will be set: The Steelers will select 32nd overall in round one. The NFC Champion Seahawks will select 31st overall.

Considering both teams made it to the Super Bowl, neither team has glaring needs. But that can change in the off-season due to free agency, salary cap cuts, age of their starters and other reasons. We think that both the Steelers and Seahawks will look for help at wide receiver early in the draft. In addition, we expect the Seahawks to look for secondary help and possibly some offensive line and defensive line depth.

Below is a list of the unrestricted and restricted free agents for the Steelers and Seahawks:

Pittsburgh Steelers -- AFC Champions

Unrestricted free agent

QB Charlie Batch

RB Verron Haynes

WR Antwaan Randle El

WR Quincy Morgan

WR Sean Morey

TE Jerame Tuman

OT Barrett Brooks

DE Kimo von Oelhoffen

LB Brett Keisel

LB Clint Kriewaldt

S Chris Hope

CB DeShea Townsend


Restricted free agent

CB Ike Taylor



Seattle Seahawks -- NFC Champions


Unrestricted free agents

RB Shaun Alexander

RB Maurice Morris

FB Mack Strong

WR Joe Jurevicius

WR Peter Warrick

TE Ryan Hannam

OG Steve Hutchinson

DE Rodney Bailey

DE Joe Tafoya

DT Rocky Bernard

LB Kevin Bentley

CB Jimmy Williams

CB Kevin House

S Marquand Manuel

S John Howell

P Tom Rouen


Restricted free agents

QB Seneca Wallace

WR Jerheme Urban

OT Wayne Hunter

PK Josh Brown

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last updated: 2/04/06
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This weekend back in 2001, the World Wrestling Federation (now the WWE) and National Broadcasting Company unveiled a brand new football league -- the Xtreme Football League -- that was supposed to be edgy and irreverent and would appeal to fans of their wrestling product. After a few weeks of surprisingly high ratings and excited crowds in the stands, interest began to wane and the league folded after one, 10 game season.

Some 350 players were on the rosters of the eight XFL teams in the spring of 2001, but as of 2005 we could only find nine players from that league were drawing paychecks from the NFL. Ironically, two of these players will suit up for the Super Bowl tommorow.


QB Tommy Maddox ~ Pittsburgh Steelers -- Was the XFL’s only MVP, leading the Los Angeles Xtreme to a league championship, throwing for over 2,100 yards and 18 touchdowns in 10 games. Maddox first came into the NFL in the spring of 1992, as a first round pick of the Denver Broncos, but was never able to find his way behind Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway. Even when he left Denver for the Los Angeles Rams and N.Y Giants, he continued to struggle. Was out of football for a while, until he returned to the AFL and then the XFL. After leaving the XFL he signed with the Steelers and had some success until the team drafted Ben Rothlisberger in 2004. When needed in 2005 as a backup, Maddox struggled significantly, meaning the Super Bowl might be his final NFL game. All things considered, Maddox’s NFL return is nothing sort of remarkable, as most figured he was done in the mid-1990’s.

FS Mike Furrey ~ St. Louis Rams -- Played for the Las Vegas Outlaws of XFL, but really caught the attention of the NFL as an Arena League star. Was so dominate for New York Dragons of the AFL that the Rams signed him during the middle of an indoor season and had him taken off the field immediately by the Dragons to prevent possible injury. Has been one of the Rams best special teams players the last three seasons, but struggled mightily as a receiver. In an attempt to save his career, former Rams coach Mike Martz moved him to safety in 2005 and he wound up starting the second half of the season, while leading the team with 4 interceptions for 143 yards and 1 touchdown. All things considered, looked surprisingly solid in coverage for the Rams in 2005, but must improve his tackling.

RB Rod Smart ~ Carolina Panthers -- Became, perhaps, the most famous of all the former XFL players after re-naming himself "He Hate Me" as a member of the Las Vegas Outlaws. Listed as a running back, Smart has spent the last 5 seasons in the NFL, mostly with the Carolina Panthers, where he has excelled on special teams coverage. He’s also had some solid moments as a return specialist. Tough player, who lacks great natural talent and has battled with injuries in recent seasons, but plays with great fire and intensity.

FS Kevin Kaesviharn ~ Cincinnati Bengals -- KK, who possesses solid size and excellent speed for a safety, was a starter for the Bengals in 2005. Had a decent season, but had some rough spots in coverage once his safety partner Madieu Williams went down with an injury. Finished the 2005 season with 88 tackles, 8 PD’s and 3 interceptions. Kevin has been a valuable member of the Bengals for 5 seasons since leaving the XFL, starting games at both safety spots, as well as both cornerback spots. His value on defense might be exceeded by his value on special teams. Played at tiny Augustana College (South Dakota) and came into the NFL after playing for the San Francisco Demons of the XFL.

CB Corey Ivy ~ St. Louis Rams -- After 2 seasons floating around NFL practice squads, Ivy led the XFL in interceptions (5) as a member of the Chicago Enforcers. After that one solid season in the XFL, Ivy has been a fulltime NFL player, mostly as a backup/special teams player with the Buccaneers and Rams. Has played in 65 NFL games, but finally got his first NFL interception in the final game of 2005 against Drew Bledsoe of the Cowboys.

CB Kelly Herndon ~ Seattle Seahawks -- If anyone owes the WWE a debt of gratitude, it’s this former undrafted free agent from the University of Toledo, who used his experience with the Las Vegas Outlaws to get a roster spot with Denver, where he was an on and off starter for the Broncos for a few seasons until he signed a nice $15 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks to split time with Andre Dyson. In 57 NFL games, has 8 interceptions and 7 forced fumbles.

LB Paris Lenon ~ Green Bay Packers -- After spending part of the 2001 season with the Memphis Maniax, this former University of Richmond star has gone on to be a special teams demon for the Packers. Has also become a reliable backup linebacker, who has even started some games for the Packers during the last two seasons. Has played in 64 career games for the Packers, recording 136 career tackles (65 in 2005).

PK Jose Cortez ~ Indianapolis Colts -- Dubbed the "Kicking Roofer" in his XFL days, Cortez has bounced around the NFL since kicking for the XFL champion Los Angeles Xtreme. In 2005, the 30 year old Cortez spent 14 games with the Colts, connecting on 12 of 17 field goals and handling the teams kickoff duties.

OG Bennie Anderson ~ Buffalo Bills -- Has been a starting offensive guard in the NFL since the 2001 season. Started 4 seasons in Baltimore, before jumping to Buffalo as a free agent in 2005. Huge lineman, at 6’ 5", 350 pounds, who excels as a run blocker. Anderson suited up for the Chicago Enforcers of the XFL.

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DD.com is pleased to post some quick, but informative, Q & A's we got down at the Senior Bowl in Mobile with a pair of standout receivers from the state of Florida -- Sinorice Moss of Miami and Chad Jackson of Florida.......We have quite a few more Q & A's done with top draft prospects and will post them soon.

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DD.com is proud to present the writing content and up-close player photos of site friend Josh Frank, who was present at the ESPN All-Star Challenge, filmed during the week and to be broadcast on Saturday, February 4th, 4 PM EST.

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Below we are going to look at 10 big school wide receivers (D-1A) that did not make our top 20 rankings at the position, but have a chance to "surprise" people during the draft process. Most of these players should be drafted. But at this point, none is seen as a likely Day one selection.

Travis Wilson ~ Oklahoma -- Wilson was among our top three receivers in the pre-season and early into the 2005 season, but a fairly serious foot injury at the end of the season, coupled with shaky quarterback play for the Sooners early in the season, led to Wilson having a poor senior year (25 receptions, 310 yards and 1 TD in 7 games). There is also the lingering question of speed on Wilson's part, as some have suggested recently he's more of a possession receiver. Needless to say, he’ll need to run fast at the Combine.

Brandon Marshall ~ Central Florida -- Marshall is a player that has literally come out of nowhere to have a great senior season for the surging Golden Knights. In 2004, as a junior, Marshall had a total of 8 receptions for 84 yards, starting three games at wide receiver and seven at safety.......The 6' 4", 230 pounder was moved back to wide receiver during the spring and that move has paid off, as he's put up huge numbers this season for the Knights -- 74 receptions, for 1,195 yards and 11 touchdowns. Played well at the Hula Bowl, which earned him a Combine invite, where Marshall will need to display solid speed to go in the top 4 rounds.

Sam Hurd ~ Northern Illinois -- Tall (6' 2", 188), sure handed receiver, who loves to block and does it well. Had 65 receptions for 1,074 yards and 13 TD's in 2005 for the Huskies. Had a huge game against NFL prospect Darrell Hunter of Miami (Ohio)......Speed "might" be an issue in the NFL's eyes, but his omission from the NFL Scouting Combine is still a surprise to us.

Greg Jennings ~ Western Michigan--Jennings can really get open on the outside, due to his deceptive speed. Listed at 5'11" and 190 pounds, he lacks top size, but is very strong going after the ball and displays exceptional toughness. Had 56 catches for 1,050 yards and 11 TD's as a sophomore. In 2004, as a junior, had 74 receptions for 1,092 yards and 14 TD's. In 2005, Jennings had 98 receptions for 1,259 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Matt Miller ~ Arizona State -- Saved his best career effort for his final game, snagging 5 receptions for a total 135 yards and 2 touchdowns versus Rutgers at the Insight Bowl. He finished the season with only 24 receptions, but gained 563 yards on those receptions (23 yard average) and scored 7 touchdowns. Not bad for a number three slot receiver, right?......If he can display decent speed at Pro Day and show he's willing and able to add some bulk to his frame, he might be a player worthy of consideration in the latter rounds, or as a priority free agent. Simply put: Players that have decent height (6‘ 2"), excellent hands and can regularly stretch the field (almost 20 yard career receiving average), are not easy to find.

Ben Obomanu ~ Auburn -- Intelligent wide receiver, who has been a factor in the Tigers vertical game from the time he arrived at the school. Has never broke out as a star performer, but that probably had a lot to do with the wealth of receiving talent Auburn has had. Clutch performer, who can make some big catches in critical spots. Played in the Senior Bowl and fared fairly well.

Jason Carter ~ Texas A&M -- Due to a medical redshirt that granted him a fifth season, Carter earned a chance to play a lot in 2005 and the senior took advantage of it by impressing NFL scouts with his quick feet and solid hands. Not a true burner, but possesses deceptive speed and will be tough to cut if he gets a fair shot. Cinderella season will be capped off with a Combine date, where he’ll need to flash some speed. If he does, he’s a probable Day 2 pick. Played well in the East-West game.

Jovan Bouknight ~ Wyoming -- At 6’ 1" and 190 pounds, Bouknight is a decent sized receiver with deceptive deep speed and a hard-nosed attitude. One of the better mid-major wide receivers, who had 77 receptions for 1,116 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Cowboys in 2005. Bouknight has received an invite to the NFL’s Scouting Combine, where he’ll have to show solid speed to ensure he’s drafted on the second day.

Travis LaTendresse ~ Utah -- Turned in a nice season for the Utes in 2005, snaring 55 receptions for 810 yards and 8 touchdowns, despite missing three games due to an ankle injury. As he got healthier, he got better -- had 9 receptions for 192 yards against New Mexico in November and absolutely smoked Georgia Tech’s top notch secondary with 16 receptions for 214 yards and 4 touchdowns in the Emerald Bowl.......He’s listed at 6’ 1", 200 pounds and isn’t scared to go over the middle. How fast he runs the 40 yard dash will likely determine if he’s drafted or not.

Damarius Bilbo ~ Georgia Tech -- Is a player with very little experience at receiver, being a converted quarterback, but he's definitely a player worth following closely due to his size and athletic ability. He was Tech's second leading receiver in 2005 with 40 receptions for 591 yards and 2 touchdowns. We know NFL scouts are fascinated by him and his good week of practice at the Hula Bowl, combined with the possibility of solid post season workouts at the Combine, would really help him get the attention of scouts and move solidly into the second day of the draft.

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last updated: 2/03/06
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Minnesota super-sophomore running back Gary Russell is not enrolled in classes for the spring semester, making him ineligible for spring practices.......Russell ran for 1,130 yards on 186 carries with 19 touchdowns last season.

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Ohio State linebacker Anthony Schlegel getting ready for the NFL's Scouting Combine.......Writer points out the "character challenged" Minnesota Vikings are looking at the soon to be 25 year old rookie.

DD.com comment -- We think Minnesota Vikings fans should be ecstatic that new owner Ziggy Wilf is trying to make over that team with a touch of class. That is something the team severely lacked in the clownish era's of Dennis Green and Mike Tice. Although the Vikings won plenty of games with the two aforementioned coaches, it came at a cost -- tarnishing the Vikings image, as many of the players the team brought in just failed to "get it" off the field.

In the 1990's a book written by Don Yaeger about criminal behavior of football players had an entire chapter devoted to the Vikings. At one point, Denny Green seemed to revel in the "outlaw" aura the team had built up. After a 15-1 regular season and the drafting success of Randy Moss, who dropped significantly on draft day due to character issues, Green felt so emboldened by his success of turning around troubled players that he demanded the owner draft colossal head case defensive end Dimitrius Underwood over Patrick Kerney in 1999, despite the fact most of the Vikings front office and scouting staff simply loved Kerney. Kerney is a legit NFL star today, while Underwood snapped mentally and never played in the NFL. Worst part is, former Michigan State head coach Nick Saban warned the Vikings of his troubles ahead of time, but Denny was so impressed by a single workout in shorts, he pushed the pick on former owner Red McCombs, it was said.

In an era were the middle-class is under attack financially and socially and savings rates are falling, we can't imagine the average fan wants to shell out his hard earned money to support a team full of arrogant millionaires acting like fools away from the playing field.

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Ed Thompson of Coltpower: According to one report out of Detroit, Edgerrin James believes his days as one of the Colts Triplets are over.

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Coltpower reports the Colts have interest in Central Michigan quarterback Kent Smith.

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Dan Pompei of The Sporting News: Vince Young vs. Matt Leinart?......Rose Bowl was only the beginning.

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Below we are going to look at 10 big school running backs (D-1A) that did not make our top 15 rankings at the position, but have a chance to "surprise" people during the draft process. Most of these players should be drafted. But at this point, none is seen as a likely Day one selection.

Taurean Henderson ~ Texas Tech -- Small, but fast and powerful back that is a good receiver and runner. May be the best receiving RB in the Senior class. Had 22 touchdown's in 2005 (15 rush; 5 rec).......Projects as a solid 4th round pick, at this point, we think.

Quinton Ganther ~ Utah -- Not very big or real fast, but this 220 pound back is highly thought of in some NFL circles. Has received an invite to the Combine, were he hopes he can display the type speed scouts want to see. May even project as a fullback, with a little added bulk.

Cedric Humes ~ Virginia Tech -- Powerful back, finds the holes well and does a good job of getting low, but isn't very good at making tacklers miss in the open field and cutting back. Could be a nice Day 2 pick, who excels in the red zone.

P.J. Daniels ~ Georgia Tech -- Had over 1,400 yards as a super-sophomore, but hasn't rushed for 1,000 yards in a season since then. Listed at 5' 10" and 210 pounds, Daniels is a former walk-on that plays the game with intensity and works hard. A nice 40 time at the Combine might slide him solidly into the second day of the draft.

Terrence Whitehead ~ Oregon -- Listed at 5' 10" and 220 pounds, this back can run with power and catch the ball with the best of them. Has an invite to the Combine, were he'll need to show good speed to improve his draft stock.

De'Arrius Howard ~ Arkansas -- Fast running back, who had 3 touchdown's in the East-West game. Great turning the corner and shifty through the hole. Hasn't been invited to the Combine, but could surprise people on the second day of the draft with solid workouts.

Chris Taylor ~ Indiana -- Fast running back, who played for a struggling Big 10 team in 2005. Showed fairly well at the Las Vegas All-American Classic.

Ryan Gilbert ~ Houston -- Compact, but very quick running back, that took advantage of injuries to garner increased playing time in 2005 and responded with over 1,000 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns. Possible Day 2 selection.

Wali Lundy ~ Virginia -- 5' 10", 214 pound tailback with decent speed and quickness, who was outstanding as a junior in 2005, but struggled some in 2005 due to nagging injuries. Good hands out of the backfield, but will need to display excellent speed in workouts to crack the top 4 rounds.

A.J. Harris ~ Northern Illinois -- Sort of obscured by junior Garrett Wolfe, but Harris is a solidly built back with decent size and surprising speed. Can also return kicks. Ran behind a Big 10 caliber line for the Huskies, including top junior Doug Free. Possible Day 2 selection, at this point.

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Breaking News -- Impact junior defensive end Jason Berryman from Iowa State, who went to jail for stealing $3.40 (among other things) in 2004, has been kicked off the Cyclones football team for going into a bar two weeks before his 21st birthday.......He could enter the NFL's Supplemental Draft or go to the CFL, but a transfer to a Division 1-AA school would seem most likely.

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last updated: 2/O2/06
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The Wisconsin Badgers dismissed troubled running back Booker Stanley from the football program today.

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Want to see a clip of the next great free safety in action?.......Well maybe it's this kid named Kylar?.......Look at this vicious hit he put on a running back in pee-wee football.

DD.com comment -- The helmet to helmet part of the hit makes us somewhat leery of linking the clip -- not something that should praised or imitated. Obviously Kylar needs to stop the Jack Tatum (former NFL head-hunter) act, or someone will get seriously injured, maybe even himself.

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DD.com News: Combine list updated.......Recently invited juniors and seniors listed below.

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In the last few days, several high profile draft sites have published updated mock draft. It should be noted that we know these things are a lot harder to create than to criticize. Still we can’t help ourselves (and will be posting a new mock on our site before the day is through). Certain trends are becoming apparent and we wanted to address these trends with a non-specific rebuttal.

All of these new mocks have one thing in common they are overrating the late first/early second DB's (especially safeties and especially underclassmen such as Ko Simpson) and they are underrating the second tier of tackle prospects.

Just because there are a ton of first-round grade tackles doesn't mean they all will slip to the second round. Offensive tackle is a premium position, one where you can't find free agents on the cheap (if at all) and, all things being equal, a team will take a premium offensive tackle over a premium safety every day of the week and twice on Sunday. It’s the "Planet Theory" in action, which states there is a very limited amount of athletically gifted big people -- weight or height -- on the planet, so sports teams (mostly NFL & NBA) place a high priority on getting the top ones. None of the prospects that most people have going in the second round, such as Eric Winston, Marcus McNeil or Jon Scott had horrible weeks in Mobile that would warrant such a downgrade. In fact, I was there, watching closely and thought all looked like first round picks. So if this does happen, it will represent huge value for the teams picking in the high second – in fact it’s too high value.

Also in the vein of the Planet Theory, mark these words: Michigan defensive tackle Gabe Watson could be scratching the top 10 after the week he had in Mobile. These mocks have him in the lower edge of the first if not the second round. This is outrageous. We are talking about a player that was so dominating the coaches wanted to take him out of drills because offensive players couldn't get any constructive work done.

Remember, in 2003 defensive tackle Kevin Williams went from no-where (a projected third round pick on that Sunday previous) to being a top 10 after a dominating Senior Bowl week. Gabe Watson had just as good of a week and he didn't come out of nowhere. Scouts have known about him since he was 18, as he was one of the elite 5-star prep defensive tackle’s coming out of high school. Looking at him play he’s ridiculously athletic for a 340 pounder and several times during Senior Bowl week he defeated a double team and a fullback block to make the play on the running back in the backfield for a loss. You just don’t see stuff like that every day and you certainly don’t see it out of second round defensive tackle’s.

All this talk about a poor work ethic is in our opinion more of a reflection on the stereotypes of the "fat defensive tackle" than a knock on Gabe Watson the individual. Go back a couple years and look at draft profiles of players like Sam Adams and Ted Washington, you will find the same claims of laziness. Every player making the jump from college to pros has to re-dedicate themselves and work harder than they have ever worked, in order to achieve success in the NFL. Gabe Watson is no different than every other prospect in the draft, he will have to work harder than he did in college there is no question about that. The point here is you can measure a man’s speed, his size, his strength – all of his physical attributes – but you can never accurately measure his character. It’s a leap of faith to give these guys huge sums of money before stepping on the field, but that’s not going to stop all 32 NFL teams from doing just that in the first round. In the grand scheme of things Gabe Watson is a rare commodity and a better bet than people are realizing.

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While the Indianapolis Colts were one-and-done in the AFC playoffs in 2005 after posting a league-best 14-2 regular-season record, team president Bill Polian doesn’t think the Colts will make massive changes during the off-season. In fact, just the opposite is planned.

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USC Quarterback Matt Leinart would love to play for former USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who currently holds the same postion for Tennesee's NFL franchise......."If it were to happen like that and I was reunited with Coach Chow, it would be cool,'' Leinart said with a smile.

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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer's rehab from a major knee injury is going well.

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Some juniors that entered the draft early have to be be very disappointed that they did not receive a Combine invite. Below we list the top 4 "snubbed" juniors, in our opinion. Here's is our complete list.

OT Derek Morris ~ North Carolina State

OG Rob Smith ~ Tennessee

WR Troy Bergeron ~ Georgia Force (AFL)

DT Tony McDaniel ~ Tennessee

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last updated: 2/O1/06
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BREAKING NEWS -- We have just received the list of new NFL Scouting Combine invites and most are juniors. The few Seniors added on are denoted with the following symbol at the end of their name and college: #.......We've double checked the list for initial ommisions and found some. Still, please contact us if any player definitely going to the Combine is missing from the list.

DD.Com comment We ask our loyals readers to provide a link to this site if they are going to cut & paste this list elsewhere, as we need all the traffic and advertisement clicks we can get to stay afloat and free. Thank you.

QB Barrick Nealy, Texas State #

QB Quinton Porter, Boston College #

QB Marcus Vick, Virginia Tech

QB Vince Young, Texas

RB Reggie Bush, Southern California

RB Brian Calhoun, Wisconsin

RB Maurice Drew, UCLA

RB Laurence Maroney, Minnesota

RB LenDale White, Southern California

TE Vernon Davis, Maryland

TE Anthony Fasano, Notre Dame

TE Matt Henshaw, Florida State #

TE Leonard Pope, Georgia

WR Will Blackmon, Boston College # (Now listed as a WR; was listed as CB last month)

WR Jeremy Bloom, Colorado #

WR Chris Denney, Nebraska-Omaha #

WR Marques Hagans, Virginia #

WR Santonio Holmes, Ohio State

WR Chad Jackson, Florida

WR Greg Lee, Pittsburgh

WR Brandon Marshall, Central Florida #

WR Cory Rodgers, TCU

OT Winston Justice, Southern California

OG Fred Matua, Southern California

DE Ray Edwards, Purdue

DE Stanley McClover, Auburn

DE Mario Williams, North Carolina State

DT John McCargo, North Carolina State

DT Haloti Ngata, Oregon

LB Kai Parham, Virginia

LB Ernie Sims, Florida State

LB Anthony Trucks, Oregon #

LB Stephen Tulloch, North Carolina State

CB Antonio Cromartie, Florida State

CB Charles Gordon, Kansas

CB Devin Hester, Miami-Florida

CB Jon Joseph, South Carolina

DB Danieal Manning, Abilene Christian

CB Richard Marshall, Fresno State

CB Derrick Martin, Wyoming

CB Dee Webb, Florida

CB Ashton Youboty, Ohio State

S Jahmile Addae, West Virginia #

S Darnell Bing, Southern California

S Jarrod Page, UCLA #

S Bernard Pollard, Purdue

S Ko Simpson, South Carolina

S Donte' Whitner, Ohio State

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Football is never far from Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom's mind.......Bloom, a former impact special teams performer for Colorado, has been clocked as fast as 4.25 seconds in the 40 yard dash.

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If you’re looking for a mid-major star that could surprise people on draft day, Utah State offensive tackle Donald Penn may fit that description. Penn started all four seasons at tackle for the Aggies, playing the right side as a freshman and sophomore, before moving to the left side the last two seasons.

Penn, who competed in the Hula Bowl last month, is tall, athletic and possesses excellent flexibility and footwork. His invite to the Combine confirms that NFL scouts really like his makeup and overall game. Overall, at this point, we see Penn going in the latter part of Day two, but he can definitely move upward with a solid Combine, followed by an impressive showing Pro Day.

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CBS 4 News in Miami is reporting that the Denver Broncos are interested in talking to the Miami Dolphins about a deal that would send veteran running back Ricky Williams to the Broncos in exchange for a "high draft pick". Williams, who abruptly retired from football in 2004 to pursue nefarious endeavors in Australia, was a model citizen for Dolphins in 2005, rushing for 743 yards and scoring 6 touchdowns.

As we reported the other day, the Broncos are also chasing troubled Eagles receiver Terrell Owens in a trade. The Broncos are the only team in the NFL that possesses 2 first round picks (#22 & #29), having acquired the Washington Redskins current first round selection in a spring of 2005 trade.

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Below we are going to look at 5 big school quarterbacks (D-1A) that did not make our top 12 rankings at the position, but have a chance to "surprise" people during the draft process. Most of these players should be drafted. But at this point, none is seen as a likely Day one selection.

Reggie McNeal ~ Texas A & M -- Was fantastic in the East West game completing 9 of 11 attempts for 211 yards and 2 touchdowns, after a sluggish 2005 season. That game definitely helped him rehab his image in the eyes of scouts........Great speed (4.3) and nice throwing arm, will likely help him impress scouts in workouts, which makes him a player that could move up by draft day.......Lack of ideal height NFL teams look for ("listed" at 6’ 2") and accuracy problems during his career must be looked at too. Probably a mid-round draft pick -- 3rd to 5th round.

Justin Holland ~ Colorado State -- Truly looks the part of an NFL prospect, listed at 6’ 3", with a very good arm and a completion rate that exceeded over 60 percent during his career. In our opinion, he‘s the best quarterback not invited to the Combine yet......Knack for throwing too many interceptions and poor mobility, as well as fairly limited college experience, are his major negatives........Possible Day 2 developmental type, who could be allocated to NFL Europe in order to gain more reps.

D.J Shockley ~ Georgia -- Excellent athlete, with a nice throwing arm. 2005 was his only season as a starter, but responded by tossing 24 touchdowns and running for 4 more......Good team leader, who showed decent accuracy last season, completing 56 percent of his attempts and only throwing 5 interceptions. Lack of ideal height (6’ 1") and limited game experience probably push him into Day 2 of the draft.

Darrell Hackney ~ Alabama-Birmingham -- Rifle armed quarterback, who is the ultimate team leader and clutch performer. Literally carried the UAB program on his back the last few seasons. Biggest problem facing Hackney is he measured in at 5’ 11" in Mobile. That’s short for any quarterback, especially one that isn’t very mobile and has battled weight problems........Lack of accuracy has dogged him during his career. Possible Day 2 developmental type, due to his arm strength.

Josh Betts ~ Miami (Ohio) -- At 6’ 3" and 220 pounds, Betts is your classic pocket quarterback who loves to throw the ball downfield. Had the unenviable task of replacing Ben Roethlisberger, but did a nice job tossing 50 touchdowns the last two seasons. Decent arm and fairly accurate, but must cut down on the interceptions and isn’t very mobile at all. He’s listed at 6’ 3", but if he measures much shorter at Pro Day, that could be a problem. Has a chance to be drafted on the 2nd day of the draft, depending on workouts.

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