Ten tough draft debates
Answering questions that will shape the first round
1. Who's better, Marshawn Lynch or Adrian Peterson?
Adrian Peterson is an explosive and dynamic runner with outstanding speed and quickness. The former Oklahoma star is a talented workhorse who will invigorate any offense with his big-play ability, but Lynch's versatility and overall ability make him ideally suited to play the pro game. As a natural cutback runner with excellent speed, quickness and vision, he has a slippery running style that allows him to consistently pick up tough yards between the tackles.
In addition to being an outstanding runner, he is a polished route runner who has the hands to be used effectively in the passing game. With the majority of NFL teams incorporating parts of the West Coast offense, Marshawn's overall skills will allow him to have a bigger impact on the next level.
2. Which QB should be drafted No. 1 overall?
This hot debate centers on Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell. Quinn is an experienced and polished QB who has been tutored by one of the most respected offensive minds in football, Charlie Weiss. The Notre Dame product is a sound decision-maker with the arm strength, accuracy and touch to make all of the throws. He has struggled in big games and appears to be a "paint by the numbers" player who needs a strong supporting cast to thrive on the next level.
Russell is an intriguing young prospect with excellent size and a big arm. His extraordinary physical tools push him into the elite category, but his improved decision-making and accuracy shows that he has the ingredients to be a franchise QB.
Both will be good players in the right system, but Russell's upside and potential give him the edge.
3. Who is the best pass rusher in the draft?
Gaines Adams and Jamaal Anderson are the top two pass rushers in this year's draft, but which one is better? Anderson is a gifted athlete with dynamic rush skills off the edge. He dominated the SEC with 13.5 sacks, but due to his limited game experience his game is more "flash" than substance. Adams is a smooth, fluid athlete with explosive rush skills. His combination of speed, quickness and agility will lead some to consider him as a 3-4 OLB. Each has the potential to develop into an impact player on the next level. Adams is the better pick based on his explosiveness, production and game experience.
4. Is Calvin Johnson the best player in the draft?
Quite simply, yes. Calvin Johnson's overall combination of size, speed, athleticism and overall ability has rarely been seen on the pro level. At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, with sub-4.4 speed, he is an extraordinary talent who has a chance to revolutionize the position. He shows surprising explosiveness and polish as a route runner.
In addition to his freakish physical tools, he is a high-character kid who has thrived in the national spotlight since stepping onto the scene as freshman. He is the best player available in the draft, regardless of position.
5. Who is the best WR prospect after Johnson?
The candidates vying for the second position include Ted Ginn, Dwayne Jarrett, Dwayne Bowe and Robert Meachem. Ginn is an explosive playmaker with outstanding speed and quickness. He is raw as a receiver, but his explosiveness gives him the chance to score from anywhere on the field.
Jarrett is a smooth and polished receiver with excellent hands. He lacks big-time speed, but his savvy, awareness and production can't be ignored.
Meachem has good hands and made a name for himself with an outstanding junior year at Tennessee. He has a bit of "one-year-wonder" tag on him, but his combination of speed and athleticism is intriguing.
Bowe is an excellent receiver with a good combination of size, speed and quickness. He has improved as a pass catcher and has all of the physical tools to develop into a lead receiver on the next level.
After closely analyzing these prospects, Ginn is the pick because of his edge in speed and explosiveness and return skills.
6. Who is the best "cover" corner in the draft?
The top candidates are Leon Hall and Darrelle Revis. Hall is a smooth, polished technician with excellent feet and movement skills. He plays with good discipline and shows excellent ball skills in coverage. Revis is a tough, physical corner with quick feet and smooth movement skills. He lacks explosive top-end speed, but his instincts, awareness and ball skills keep him in great position down the field. Both players are best suited for zone heavy schemes, but Hall gets the nod because of his speed and explosiveness.
7. Who is the best safety prospect after LaRon Landry?
Reggie Nelson, Michael Griffin and Brandon Meriweather are battling to be the next safety chosen after Landry. Nelson is a smooth fluid athlete with natural ball skills and awareness. He is ideally suited to be a centerfielder patrolling the middle of the field. He shows up vs. the run, but is most effective as the deep middle player in the Gators' defense.
Griffin is an aggressive, rangy safety with excellent movement skills and instincts. As a fearless hitter, he is most effective as a strong safety, but his athleticism would allow him to slide over to free safety on the next level.
Meriweather is the most versatile of the three. He has played every position in the secondary and his variety of skills makes him a hot commodity as a safety prospect. Not as smooth or polished as the other two candidates, he brings a toughness and aggressiveness that stand out on tape.
All three prospects will upgrade any secondary, but Nelson's athleticism and playmaking skills push him to the top of the class.
8. Who is the top LB, regardless of position?
The top linebacker candidates are Patrick Willis, Lawrence Timmons, Paul Posluszny and Jon Beason. Willis is an aggressive, instinctive linebacker with good overall tools. He has a strong nose for the ball and has been a productive tackler throughout his career.
Timmons is an explosive athlete with all of the physical tools to be an impact player on the next level. Not a finished product, he relies heavily on his outstanding athleticism to make up for his late instincts.
Beason is an active, instinctive linebacker with good speed and quickness. He is slightly undersized, but is an active playmaker with a great feel for the game.
Posluszny is an outstanding player who may be the most natural of all of the candidates. Not an explosive athlete, he has the instincts, awareness and toughness that make him stand out on tape.
You can make an argument for any of these players, but Posluszny's production and instincts make him the pick over the more athletic Timmons.
9. Prospect comparison: Alan Branch vs. Amobi Okoye?
These are the two top candidates at the defensive tackle position. Branch is a versatile interior player with outstanding size, quickness and athleticism. Primarily a run stopper, he has the ability to play all interior positions and is a perfect fit in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.
Okoye is an intriguing young prospect with an outstanding combination of size, athleticism and power. At 19, he hasn't fully developed physically, but flashes the ability to emerge as a disruptive pass-rusher on the next level.
Both will be solid players on the next level, but Okoye's upside and potential gives him the slight edge.
10. Who is the best TE prospect in the draft?
Greg Olsen and Zach Miller have emerged as the top two prospects at the position. Both are viewed as "receiving" tight ends with excellent route running ability and good hands, but Olsen has been elevated to the top of many draft boards based on his impressive performance at the combine. At 6-5 and 258 pounds with 4.4 speed, Olsen's overall combination of size, speed and athleticism make him a legitimate vertical threat down the middle of the field. He has all of the tools to be a difference maker in the passing game and his explosiveness makes him the pick over Miller.