NFL Nation: Rutgers

Bulaga feels he's top OT

February, 25, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS -- Currently, offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga's stock is rising up the draft boards. But the University of Iowa junior believes it should be even higher.

Bulaga said Thursday that he feels he's No. 1 at his position.

"I'd like to think that I'm the best tackle in the draft," Bulaga said. "Obviously, this is a very deep class with a lot of great players. Everyone is going to be jumping each other and going under each other up until draft day. So it's going to be exciting to see.

"Obviously, this weekend is going to decide a lot."

Bulaga will participate in all of the workouts this week in Indianapolis. Right now, he is a projected top 15-20 pick and a possible target for the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 18.

ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. has Bulaga third behind offensive tackles Russell Okung of Oklahoma and Anthony Davis of Rutgers. Bulaga could have returned to school with hopes of being one of the top picks in 2011. But he feels going to the next level this year was the best decision.

"I think I was ready to come out from a maturity standpoint, and from a production standpoint I thought I was ready," Bulaga explained. "I thought I was ready to help out an NFL team right now."

Pro Bowl Watch: Ray Rice

January, 26, 2010
Pro Bowl Watch: AFC East | West | North | South  NFC East | West | North | South

It was the year of the small, speedy tailbacks in the AFC. But perhaps the lowest-profile of the miniature rushers was Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens.

The second-year tailback led the Ravens in rushing with 1,339 yards in the regular season in addition to 78 catches for 702 receiving yards. He was Baltimore's most reliable weapon and nearly tripled his rushing total from a year ago (454 yards).

But perhaps the scariest part is Rice, 23, is just scratching the surface.

"He was awfully good this year, but I do think he can get better," Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson said. "He was a tremendous workhorse at Rutgers, a do-it-all guy. I think the Ravens drafted Rice with intentions of him being their third-down guy, and he immediately exceeded those expectations to the point where they almost had to restructure the offense around his abilities."

Rice is the third tailback for the AFC in the Pro Bowl behind league-leading rusher Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans and Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Rice's production took off when he packed on additional muscle last offseason to help with durability and running between the tackles. As a rookie, Rice missed three games due to injury. This season he played in all 16 regular season games, and two more contests in the playoffs.

With fellow second-year player Joe Flacco at quarterback and Rice at tailback, Baltimore has two young players to build its offense around.

Sunday will mark Rice's first Pro Bowl appearance, but odds are it won't be his last.