Draft Pool Taking Shape
Friday, February 24, 2006
By Nick Wagoner
Post Combine Top 20
With the combine complete and Pro Days in full swing, here’s an updated look at one man’s top 20 players for April’s NFL Draft. Previous rank is in parenthesis.
1. Reggie Bush, RB, USC (1) – Until proven otherwise, still the most dynamic, game-breaking player in the draft.
2. Matt Leinart, QB, USC (2) – The most polished, intelligent signal caller available. He just wins games.
3. Mario Williams, DE, North Carolina State (3) – In most years, he’d be the No. 1 player on the board. He’s a physical freak of nature with the skills to match.
4. A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State (4) – Linebackers don’t usually climb this high, but Hawk is special. He can play any of the linebacker positions and consistently makes plays all over the field.
5. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, OT, Virginia (6) – Ferguson will step on to the field and immediately become a contributor. He has the personality to match the talent.
6. Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland (7) – Davis put on one of the most amazing shows in combine history. He jumps up a spot based on the sub-4.4 second 40-yard dash at the combine.
7. Vince Young, QB, Texas (5) – Young’s stock has dropped because of the debate about his Wonderlic score. But there are still remaining questions about his delivery and arm strength.
8. LenDale White, RB, USC (11) – White is a big; bruising back that seems tailor made for the rigors of being an NFL runner.
9. Jay Cutler, QB, Vanderbilt, (10) – Cutler is rising in the minds of many analysts. That should be tempered some. Sure, he worked out at the combine and was the best of the signal callers to work out, but that doesn’t mean he is the best available.
10. Haloti Ngata, DT, Oregon (8) – This huge run stuffer is clearly the best defensive tackle on the board and can play either technique in the middle. He could go before No. 10.
11. DeAngelo Williams, Memphis (9) – Williams’ stock falls a little, but he should still be one of the top backs taken and could manage to climb into the top 10. Will be in a tight battle for the spot of second back taken.
12. Winston Justice, OT, USC (13) – Justice is pretty clearly the second-best tackle on the board. If not for injury problems, Justice might be a top 10 pick. Could climb more if he works out well.
13. Michael Huff, DB, Texas (14) – Clearly the top defensive back in the draft. He can play safety or corner, but projects as a safety capable of playing in the box or in coverage.
14. Leonard Pope, TE, Georgia (15) – An absolute monster at tight end at almost 6’8, Pope is a good athlete and a willing blocker to boot. Might not go this high, but he’s a potential climber.
15. Bobby Carpenter, LB, Ohio State (17) – Still being slept on by many because of an injury, but by the time the draft rolls around, he should move up. Outstanding blitzer off the edge in the mold of New England’s Mike Vrabel.
16. Chad Greenway, LB, Iowa (16) – A tremendous coverage linebacker with the speed to make plays all over the field. Says he can play any of the linebacker spots, but will likely play the weak side in the NFL.
17. Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota (18) – Still in the running with White and Williams for the title of second best back. Maroney could use a big Pro Day to move up, but won’t be around much longer than either should he fall.
18. Tamba Hali, DE, Penn State (19) – Hali is an exceptional story of the human spirit, but still rather raw when it comes to football skills. He has plenty of upside, but
19. DeMeco Ryans, LB, Alabama (12) – A bit undersized, but should be able to step in and play the weak side right away. Knows how to get to the ball.
20. Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech (NR) – Opinions on Williams are mixed because of his brash personality, but when he applies himself, he can be the best defensive back in the draft. Also an intriguing option as a safety at the next level.
On the Outside: Deuce Lutui, G, USC, Holmes, Chad Jackson, WR, Florida, Sinorice Moss, WR, Miami, Manny Lawson, DE, North Carolina State, Dominique Byrd, TE, USC, Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida State, Ashton Youboty, CB, Ohio State, Tye Hill, CB, Clemson, Ernie Sims, LB, Florida State
IMO this is one of the worst Rankings. Carpenter isn't better than Greenway and Pope isn't that high.