Friday, April 22, 2005
Offensive players dominate top 10
By Len Pasquarelli
Although not in the order they will be selected, here is how ESPN.com ranks the top 65 prospects in the draft:
1. WR Braylon Edwards, Michigan, 6-foot-2 7/8, 210 pounds, 4.48 in the 40: Tall and linear, long arms, a superb playmaker. Knows how to use his size, especially in the red zone, to take the ball away from defenders. Great frame, looks like a slightly too-tall tailback and has the same kind of open-field running skills.
2. QB Alex Smith, Utah, 6-foot-4 1/8, 217 pounds, 4.71 in the 40: Smart not only in the classroom but on the field, a team leader, possesses all the intangibles you want at the position. Like having a coach on the field. Manages a game nicely but also athletically gifted enough to make plays when things break down and improvisation becomes a must.
3. RB Ronnie Brown, Auburn, 6-foot-0¼, 233 pounds, 4.43 in the 40: Thick, fullback-style body but tailback-type speed and running skills. Great acceleration, can get to peak speed quickly, a real downhill-style runner. Powerful and will break tackles, can get into the secondary and run away from defenders. Finishes off every run. Superb receiver.
4. RB Cedric Benson, Texas, 5-foot-10½, 222 pounds, 4.53 in the 40: Tough, workhorse back who is accustomed to carrying 20-25 times a game and can erode defenses in the fourth quarter. Very durable and will play hurt. Runs with his pads under him and can power through tackles. Better feet than anticipated and has displayed good cutback skills.
5. WR Mike Williams, Southern California, 6-foot-4 5/8, 229 pounds, 4.56 in the 40: Naturally gifted playmaker with great size/speed combination. Huge and inviting target who can muscle off smaller defensive backs, knows how to shield himself and to create separation. Can, and will, make the acrobatic catch. Nice fluidity for such a big receiver.
6. CB Adam "Pac-Man" Jones, West Virginia, 5-foot-9½, 188 pounds, 4.43 in the 40: Quick and physical, has terrific closing speed, and loves to jump the short routes in front of him. Fluid and economical, can plant and explode out of backpedal, and nice recovery speed. Despite his size, plays physically and can handle himself against bigger receivers.
7. RB Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, Auburn, 5-foot-10 7/8, 217 pounds, 4.43 in the 40: A slasher and cutback runner who can get through the small creases and pop out the other side. Superb vision, great feet, can pick and slide until he finds a hole, then accelerates into space. Decisive runner who isn't afraid to attack defenders. Strong through the legs.
8. CB Antrel Rolle, Miami, 6-foot 1/8, 201 pounds, 4.48 in the 40: Big frame and powerful build through the upper body. Strong, active hands, can jolt a wide receiver with initial contact and pin him at the line. Loves to roughhouse with receivers, and will flat-out beat up wideouts as he runs with them. Excellent in bump and press coverages.
9. OLB Derrick Johnson, Texas, 6-foot-3¼, 242 pounds, 4.52 in the 40: Fluid athlete with great flexibility, loose hips and great speed. Can chase down plays all over the field. Good range, covers a lot of space with only a few steps. Knows how to pick up his feet to avoid getting caught up in the trash. Moves laterally with a lot of facility.
10. QB Aaron Rodgers, California, 6-foot-2, 223 pounds, 4.76 in the 40: Makes tough reads and good decisions. Has played in a sophisticated passing game and authored terrific performances against superior teams. Short, compact delivery, and can get the ball from the tee and into the secondary in a blink. Has a fairly consistent release point.
11. WR Troy Williamson, South Carolina, 6-foot-1 3/8, 203 pounds, 4.32 in the 40: Long limbed and angular wideout with top-end deep speed. Excellent all-around athlete, fluid, almost lithe, in his movements. Seems like he is gliding sometimes, and that plays to his advantage, since cornerbacks don't seem to realize how fast he really is moving.
12. OLB/DE Demarcus Ware, Troy, 6-foot-4, 251 pounds, 4.56 in the 40: Natural outside pass rusher, explodes out of his stance and gets upfield, can flatten out and close on the passer. Like a heat-seeking missile at times. Over a 10- or 15-yard space, there are few players faster. Terrific athlete, can run all day and changes direction well.
13. OLB/DE Shawne Merriman, Maryland, 6-foot-4 3/8, 272 pounds, 4.68 in the 40: Classic downhill player, quick-twitch speed, doesn't take long for him to get to maximum acceleration. An explosive athlete, comes off hard with the first step and can fly into the backfield and disrupt offensive flow. Powerful enough to stand up blockers.
14. CB Carlos Rogers, Auburn, 6-foot-0 3/8, 196 pounds, 4.46 in the 40: Far better athlete than he was credited with being early in the draft evaluation process. An aware player who has an innate feel for the synergy in the secondary and uses that knowledge to his advantage. Pretty good closing speed. Really plays well when he is able to sit in a zone.
15. SS/OLB Thomas Davis, Georgia, 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, 4.52 in the 40: Incredible, freaky size, and moves well for such a big man. Explosive tackler, who hits with a naturally rising action, and drives through in textbook fashion. Can really de-cleat a ball carrier or receiver and is always looking for knockout hit. Will put fear of God in people.
16. DE Marcus Spears, LSU, 6-foot-4, 307 pounds, 5.05 in the 40: Thickly built, by far the biggest player among the top-shelf end prospects, and probably projects best to playing the strong-side position. Terrific athlete for such a big man, and his basketball skills are obvious, most notably in a 34-inch vertical jump. Very nice instincts.
17. DE Erasmus James, Wisconsin, 6-foot-4 1/8, 266 pounds, 4.81 in the 40: Upfield rusher with explosiveness, edge quickness and closing speed. Corners well when he turns inside toward the pocket. Can recover and change direction and will chase down plays from behind. Not just a speed rusher, because he has worked very hard to diversify.
18. WR Mark Clayton, Oklahoma, 5-foot-10 3/8, 193 pounds, 4.40 in the 40: Lacks the physical dimension of the bigger receivers in this year's pool, but has a wiry build and can take punishment, certainly knows how to protect himself. Much more quick than fast, although he opened a lot of eyes at the scouting combine with his performance in the 40.
19. OT Jammal Brown, Oklahoma, 6-foot-5 7/8, 316 pounds, 5.06 in the 40: Arguably has more natural strength and power than any of the other top-shelf tackle prospects in the '05 pool. When he's on his game, can really stun a defender with his initial surge. Strong through the hands and shoulders. Plays with nice pad level and will sustain blocks.
20. DE/OLB David Pollack, Georgia, 6-foot-2 1/8, 265 pounds, 4.75 in the 40: Huge motor, plays every snap as if it might be the one on which he draws his last breath, always passionate about the game. Great technique, active with his hands to slap away blocks, plays with natural leverage and football instincts. Plays stronger than he looks.
21. OT Alex Barron, Florida State, 6-foot-7½, 318 pounds, 4.86 in the 40: Terrific athlete who has all the physical qualities you want in a left tackle. Freaky-type workout numbers in all the key drills. A guy this big isn't supposed to be this flexible, but vertical jump and change-of-direction skills verify he can be special. Long arms and a 90-inch wingspan.
22. DT Travis Johnson, Florida State, 6-foot-3 5/8, 298 pounds, 4.87 in the 40: Compelling size/speed/quickness combination. Exceptional athlete with quick, active hands, and nifty feet. When he's on his game, explodes off blocks, finds the ball and makes the play. Enough movement to get wide. Enough power to compact the pocket.
23. ILB Odell Thurman, Georgia, 6-foot 1/8, 233 pounds, 4.62 in the 40: Huge hitter who strikes a natural, rising blow, and really gets his legs and hips into a tackle. When he smacks you, chances are that you're going down. An explosive first-contact defender who can jolt a ball carrier and stop him in his tracks. Wraps up on tackles.
24. CB Justin Miller, Clemson, 5-foot-9¾, 201 pounds, 4.46 in the 40: Strong and physical and has all the tools to be a shutdown defender. Is around the football a ton, as indicated by his interception and passes defensed totals. Terrific athlete, with an NBA-level vertical jump. Exceptional burst and acceleration and can close in a hiccup.
25. WR Roddy White, Alabama-Birmingham, 6-foot 1¼, 207 pounds, 4.47 in the 40: Good hands, not just in catching the ball, but in shaking free from corners at the line of scrimmage. Got better every season and topped off career with brilliant year in 2004. Tracks the ball and makes good adjustments. Can lull secondary, then burst by everyone.
26. OT Khalif Barnes, Washington, 6-foot-5¾, 305 pounds, 4.92 in the 40: Exceptionally quick feet. Moves nicely laterally, can shuffle and stay in front of a defender. Big, long frame, and can probably handle another 10-20 pounds pretty easily. Takes good angles, stays balanced and will cut off the perimeter. Plenty quick enough to recover.
27. QB Jason Campbell, Auburn, 6-foot-4¾, 230 pounds, 4.67 in the 40: Terrific overall size, a long frame, physically looks the part. Stands tall up in the pocket and his textbook, high release makes him even longer. Can see whole field, scans nicely, patient in going through his progressions. Lots of zip on the ball, more than enough strength and velocity.
28. WR/TE Matt Jones, Arkansas, 6-foot-6, 242 pounds, 4.37 in the 40: The guy is huge and runs under 4.4. How much more upside do you need than that? He's got incredible burst and acceleration for a man so big. Super hands and nice hand-eye coordination. Covers a lot of ground with very few steps. Incredible all-around athlete.
29. TE Heath Miller, Virginia, 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, 4.70 (est.) in the 40: Productive receiver with natural, soft hands, and terrific instincts. Has a great feel for where the holes are in the secondary and is particularly effective at creating some separation in red-zone situations. Knows how to keep safeties away from his body and protects the ball.
30. CB Fabian Washington, Nebraska, 5-foot-10½, 188 pounds, 4.29 in the 40: Real burner with Deion Sanders-level straight-line speed. Super athlete with loose hips, quick feet and nice change of direction. Natural recovery speed allows him to get back into plays on which it appears he might be beat. Smooth, fluid, plays under control.
31. C/OG David Baas, Michigan, 6-foot-4½, 319 pounds, 5.06 in the 40: Powerful and explosive blocker, comes off the ball hard every time, really gets into people. Great strength through his lower body. Possesses the kind of short-area quickness you want at either guard or center. Knows and fully understands the angles and leverage game.
32. DT Shaun Cody, Southern California, 6-foot-4, 293 pounds, 5.03 in the 40: Very productive, complete and explosive athlete who seems to rise to the occasion at big times and in big games. Has maybe the best overall body control of any of the defensive linemen in the draft. Possesses an innate ability to get off blocks, either with spin or counter moves.
33. CB Marlin Jackson, Michigan, 6-foot-0 5/8, 192 pounds, 4.49 in the 40: Nice size and playing strength. Powerful enough to stop wide receivers in their tracks, or at least force them to throttle down, and can redirect a route. Closes pretty well on the ball. Very alert in zone coverages and feels comfortable playing the "quarter" and "halves" looks.
34. DE Justin Tuck, Notre Dame, 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, 4.71 in the 40: Agile and athletic, nice long physique, certainly looks the part for the position. Aggressive and energetic, surprisingly powerful. Will hold his ground versus the run and, if he doesn't make the play, will redirect the flow back to the inside. Takes good angles to the ball.
35. OT/OG Marcus Johnson, Mississippi, 6-foot-6½, 321 pounds, 5.45 in the 40: Good frame, long torso, looks like he can carry another 10-15 pounds. Active blocker with nice lateral movement. Natural arm extension allows him to get separation and cushion from defenders. Knows how to use his hands. Big enough to envelop some speed rushers.
36. C Chris Spencer, Mississippi, 6-foot-2 7/8, 309 pounds, 5.21 in the 40: Absolutely explodes out of his stance and can knock defenders back with his initial sustained surge. Impressive combination of power, speed, quickness and technique. Can really pop people and is rarely tardy with his hands. Moves well enough laterally to pick up blitzes.
37. DT Mike Patterson, Southern California, 5-foot-11 5/8, 292 pounds, 4.90 in the 40: Explosive one-gap defender and can get up the field and disrupt flow. Super first step and knows how to naturally compact himself and use his innate leverage to squeeze through the creases and get into the backfield. Spatially aware, and has great feel for the game.
38. WR Reggie Brown, Georgia, 6-foot-1 5/8, 196 pounds, 4.45 in the 40: Naturally smooth athlete and incredibly explosive over a 10- to 15-yard stretch. Really comes hard off his cuts, will snag the ball in front of his body, and add yardage after the catch. Deceptively strong and will break tackles if cornerbacks come soft after him.
39. FS Brodney Pool, Oklahoma, 6-foot-1, 207 pounds, 4.52 in the 40: Good size and frame and his long arms provide even more extension. Natural athlete who gets around the ball. Good diagnostician, sees the play, takes good angles and moves with economy. Might be fluid enough to play nickel corner and good enough to play over the slot.
40. OLB Kevin Burnett, Tennessee, 6-foot-2 7/8, 235 pounds, 4.61 in the 40: Very active but, at the same time, economicall. Sees the ball quickly, takes solid angles, and gets into the play. Compensates for a lack of explosiveness and closing speed with instinctive style. The kind of defender who looks fairly unremarkable during a game.
41. RB J.J. Arrington, California, 5-foot-8 7/8, 214 pounds, 4.40 in the 40: Muscular and compact, a short man but certainly not a small man, and will often initiate contact. Can accelerate and burst quickly to the second level. Has demonstrated some slash and cutback ability. Very competitive and a hard worker. Stronger than he appears.
42. DE Dan Cody, Oklahoma, 6-foot-5½, 254 pounds, 4.68 in the 40: Gritty, mean-streak type of defender, very productive despite lack of bulk. Very competitive, will make plays all over the place, and plays to the whistle. Instinctive and aware, finds the ball, uses his short-area quickness and solid hand strength to cut through the trash and get into action.
43. DT Luis Castillo, Northwestern, 6-foot-2¾, 305 pounds, 4.79 in the 40: Really improved his speed and quickness in the past year, a motivated player, aspires to be more than just another guy and willing to pay the price. Powerful build, especially strong in the lower body, can sink down and grow roots on interior. Moves well for such a big man.
44. WR Terrence Murphy, Texas A&M, 6-foot-0 7/8, 202 pounds, 4.39 in the 40: An impressive looking specimen, really cut, looks the part. For all his speed and explosion, best part of his game might be the manner in which he sets up defenders, and his innate feel for the game. Has an uncanny spatial instinct and great vision. Strong in open field.
45. CB/FS Bryant McFadden, Florida State, 5-foot-11 3/8, 190 pounds, 4.45 in the 40: Tough, physical competitor, goes hard all the time. Solid, compact physique. Pretty good feet. Can mirror most wide receivers and pretty clever in how he uses his hands and the power in his shoulders against bigger wideouts. Reliable tackler who gets off blocks.
46. DE Matt Roth, Iowa, 6-foot-3¾, 278 pounds, 4.81 in the 40: Great natural strength and always plays from a terrific base. Very aggressive and ultra-competitive, and his motor is always revving high. While he isn't big or physically imposing, can stack blockers up, doesn't get knocked out of the hole. Really superb at moving down the line.
47. DT Jonathan Babineaux, Iowa, 6-foot-2 1/8, 286 pounds, 4.87 in the 40: Has played some at end and perhaps quick enough to move outside as a rusher in some situations. Very active and athletic, can play down the line and redirect back when the play goes away from him. A flexible athlete who bends his knees well. Good power in initial surge.
48. QB Charlie Frye, Akron, 6-foot-3 7/8, 225 pounds, 4.76 in the 40: Good size and stature, good enough arm strength, and has been productive every season as a four-year starter. Admirable work habits, a student of the game, knows what everyone's role on the field is supposed to be. A leader in the huddle. Nice accuracy and touch. Excellent vision.
49. ILB Barrett Ruud, Nebraska, 6-foot-2½, 241 pounds, 4.75 in the 40: Intense, smart and, as his numbers indicate, very productive. Competes on every snap. Uses his hands well to shed blockers and does a nice job of keeping people off his legs. Plays on his feet and under control. Moves his feet well and very fluid in going laterally down the line.
50. OT Adam Terry, Syracuse, 6-foot-8, 330 pounds, 5.40 in the 40: Looks like Herman Munster in shoulder pads. In fact, even at 330 pounds, looks kind of thin. Surprisingly good knee bender for such a tall player and deceptively agile. Tough enough to anchor and quick enough to seal. Smart and aware, when he gets riled up, flashes a nasty streak.
51. CB Corey Webster, LSU, 6-foot-0 1/8, 199 pounds, 4.48 in the 40: Super-productive player. Gets his hands on a lot of footballs. His combined 67 interceptions/knockdowns are among the top three totals in the draft. Great instincts. Uses his hands well to redirect receivers and to fight off blocks when he comes up to support versus the run.
52. FS Josh Bullocks, Nebraska, 6-foot-0, 209 pounds, 4.46 in the 40: Tracks the ball well in the air and very aware in coverage. Particularly adept playing "halves" zone schemes. Will flash some speed out of his breaks and fluid in his movements on the ball. Good leaper as indicated by 38-inch vertical jump. Nice hands and won't drop interceptions.
53. OLB Darryl Blaystock, Virginia, 6-foot-2 5/8, 247 pounds, 4.70 in the 40: Premier athlete with basketball-type movement skills and NBA-caliber leaping ability. Good pursuit player and an excellent blitzer off the edge. Nice feel for when and where the holes will open for him in the blitz. Plays with an economy of motion.
54. WR Roscoe Parrish, Miami, 5-foot-9¾, 170 pounds, 4.37 in the 40: Possesses warp-speed acceleration and can go from zero to 60 faster than most pricey foreign sports cars. Water-bug quick and can find plenty of holes in a secondary after the catch. Good hands. Tougher than one would expect for a player his size. Dynamic punt return man.
55. CB Eric Green, Virginia Tech, 5-foot-11 3/8, 198 pounds, 4.49 in the 40: Nice, compact build and knows how to hang it on receivers. Plays a little faster even than his stopwatch speed. Aggressive and physical, will use his hands to push people around and reroute wideouts. Tracks the ball well, has soft hands. Plants hard and bursts forward.
56. TE Alex Smith, Stanford, 6-foot-4 1/8, 258 pounds, 4.73 in the 40: Lean muscle kind of guy with long limbs and lithe moves, looks like a pumped-up wideout at times. Smooth and fluid, a terrific natural athlete who seems to glide through his routes. A sudden, flexible athlete with good recovery and change of direction abilities.
57. SS Donte Nicholson, Oklahoma, 6-foot-1½, 209 pounds, 4.54 in the 40: Productive player with good size and intensity. Really springs into his tackles. Comes forward with a burst and will close down the running lanes. Good enough speed but more a factor in zone coverages than in man-to-man. An effective blitzer with a keen sense of timing.
58. RB Ryan Moats, Louisiana Tech, 5-foot-8¼, 210 pounds, 4.46 in the 40: Competitive player with compact build, solid work ethic and ability to pile up carries without wearing down. Good but not great burst, seems to move well laterally, can get to the edge. Has gotten bigger and better every year and worked hard to develop his receiving skills.
59. WR Vincent Jackson, Northern Colorado, 6-foot-4¾, 241 pounds, 4.46 in the 40: Imposing size, built more like a tight end or maybe an H-back, but certainly has wideout-caliber straight-line speed. Towers over most defenders and exhibits solid body control. Has the kind of size to create mismatches in tight areas, could be force in the "red zone."
60. CB/FS Nick Collins, Bethune-Cookman, 5-foot-11¼, 206 pounds, 4.38 in the 40: Solid, compact build, but lightning-fast speed and quickness. The kind of innate cover and movement abilities you don't just learn. Arrives at the ball in a hurry. Gets his hands on a lot of throws. A sudden, quick-twitch defender.
61. OG Logan Mankins, Fresno State, 6-foot-4 1/8, 307 pounds, 5.06 in the 40: One tough hombre and a classic, road-grader type of blocker. Huge hands, powerful through the forearms, strong enough to just rag-doll defenders at the college level. Relishes trench battles, just a mean guy, the kind you want mashing defensive linemen inside.
62. CB Stanford Routt, Houston, 6-foot-1 3/8, 192 pounds, 4.31 in the 40: Outstanding build for the position. Terrific speed and can mirror even the swiftest wide receivers deep down the field. Good break and recovery. Doesn't surrender much cushion or separation. Nice hands and usually does a solid job reading the quarterback and then reacting.
63. OLB Matt McCoy, San Diego State, 6-foot, 234 pounds, 4.62 in the 40: Just a good, steady defender who is never going to be flashy or athletically jaw-dropping, but a guy who makes the plays he is supposed to make. A sure, wrap-up tackler who is always in position. Solid cover skills and can run deep. Big heart and big motor as well.
64. FS Sean Considine, Iowa, 6-foot-0 1/8, 212 pounds, 4.50 in the 40: Nice anticipation and his ability to quickly read plays helps compensate for average running skills. Natural ability to sense the flow and to move to the ball without having to cheat by looking into the backfield. Spatial awareness is a big key for him. Basically, a student of the game.
65. OG Elton Brown, Virginia, 6-foot-4 7/8, 329 pounds, 5.55 in the 40: Huge, girthy body, tough guy to get around. Thick all through the upper body but surprisingly thin hips and thighs. Can control the inside gaps with his raw size. Powerful man and can jolt defenders. Strong drive blocker. Surprisingly good recovery and redirection skills.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.