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Friday, February 13, 2009
Updated: April 25, 10:37 PM ET
2009 NFL Prospects: A Closer Look

SportsNation


April 25-26 at Radio City Music Hall.
Football season has come to a close, and now fans everywhere must go months until the gridiron greats return to the field. Luckily for you, there are those two special days in April when the NFL draft takes place. In the meantime, you have the NFL combine and colleges' pro-day workouts to fill your days until the Detroit Lions make the first pick.

The NFL draft can be unpredictable. Your team can up its chances of making it to the Super Bowl with smart picks, or it can set you back with the league's next big bust.

But before your favorite college player gets his first taste of the lights, camera and action of the National Football League as he walks across the stage at Radio City Music Hall, he'll be here first to chat about his college career and what he expects from the upcoming draft.

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Robert Ayres

Tennessee DE Robert Ayres
Tennessee DE
Ht/Wt/40: 6'3", 272 lb, 4.90
Scouts Inc. grade: 93

Erik (Los Angeles, Calif.): How do you think Lane Kiffin will do at Tennessee?

Robert Ayres: I think he will bring a lot of energy to the games and do his best to bring in the right recruits. He will bring in the right staff and have his guys ready to play.

Jason (New York): Do you think you are the best defensive end in the draft?

Robert Ayres: I think so. I feel like every other defensive end in the draft should think the same. That is just part of being a competitor. If you are not striving for that you should probably not be playing football. Every player should try and strive to be their best.

Robert Ayres' full chat transcript



Ramses Barden

Cal Poly WR Ramses Barden
Cal Poly WR
Ht/Wt/40: 6'6", 229 lb, 4.59
Scouts Inc. grade: 74

Steiny (New York, N.Y.): Coming from a small school, do you feel like you need to prove yourself more than say, somebody from Ohio State?

Ramses Barden: I feel as if there is a little bit of added pressure. Most people don't even know where Cal Poly is located. So I'm trying to put Cal Poly on the map and show my skills at the next level.

Steve (Miami, Fla.): What would you tell people about yourself who don't know who you are?

Ramses Barden: I would tell them that I'm a complete receiver. I'm a loyal person, I'm coachable, I love to play the game, I work hard at everything and I will go out to play hard every day. I will do the little things that need to be done.

Ramses Barden's full chat transcript



Kevin Barnes

Maryland DB Kevin Barnes
Maryland DB
Ht/Wt/40: 6'0", 187 lb, 4.52
Scouts Inc. grade: 34

Tynan (San Antonio, Texas): Have you always wanted to go into the NFL? If not, what did you want to do?

Kevin Barnes: I was born in North Carolina and that's a basketball state. Basketball was my first love. I was going back and forth between football and basketball camps. I stopped growing at 6-1 in the 10th grade. I wasn't really a point guard. And your dream is always to make it to the NFL, so I guess the 18 years I've been playing, I thought I could make it.

Justin Behling (Boyceville, Wis.): Who is your favorite current NFL player and why?

Kevin Barnes: Hmmmmm....It sounds kind of odd, but I've always like TO. Beside the off field antics and controversies, on the field, he's a great player. Good work ethic. He always gives it up for his team, aside from the drama. He's a team player with a good work ethic.

Kevin Barnes' full chat transcript



Donald Brown

Connecticut RB Donald Brown
Connecticut RB
Ht/Wt/40: 5'10", 210 lb, 4.51
Scouts Inc. grade: 86

David Ropp (Urbana, Ohio): How are you preparing for the transition from college to the NFL?

Donald Brown: I was training out in California for the combine and now I am back home training and talking to a lot of guys from UConn who are now in the NFL.

Sean (Philadelphia, Pa.): Donald, a lot of people have you going to Philadelphia in the first round. How do you think you would fit into their pass happy scheme?

Donald Brown: I think it would be great. I caught a lot of balls out of the back field at UConn and to be able to learn from Brian Westbrook would be a great opportunity.

Donald Brown's full chat transcript



Everette Brown

Florida State DE Everette Brown
Florida State DE
Ht/Wt/40: 6'2", 256 lb, 4.73
Scouts Inc. grade: 93

John (Bellevue, Wash.): Have some of the FSU Alumni been giving you advice as you prepare for the draft?

Everette Brown: Yeah, I've received advice from many of the former players, like Terrell Buckley, guys on the coaching staff, and Kameron Wimbley. Guys that went through the process and were able to help me.

Travis (Jacksonville, Fla.): You were a sack machine last year. How do you think the speed of the NFL will effect next year?

Everette Brown: I think just going from high school to college was a big change of speed. But at FSU the style that we played, the speed of the game will be one that I will be able to get used to real quick, without it really effecting my game.

Everette Brown's full chat transcript



Darius Butler

Connecticut CB Darius Butler
Connecticut CB
Ht/Wt/40: 5'10", 183 lb, 4.46
Scouts Inc. grade: 89

Tim (New Hampshire): Do you feel you are ready to make an immediate impact in the NFL?

Darius Butler: Yes, I feel like I'm ready to come in on any team and compete for a starting job. I'm definitely ready to contribute on special teams.

Chris (New York, N.Y.): What adivce can you give a kid that is going to enter the NFL draft in four years? Like what matters the most when your going through the process that can get you drafted higher?

Darius Butler: Besides your film, I would say staying clean off the field. That's probably the number one thing teams ask when you interview with them.

Darius Butler's full chat transcript



Chase Coffman

Missouri TE Chase Coffman
Missouri TE
Ht/Wt/40: 6'5", 244 lb, n/a
Scouts Inc. grade: 72

Isaac (Atlanta, Ga.): What are your personal expectations heading into your rookie season?

Chase Coffman: I want to play a lot and hopefully turn into a starting tight end. I just want to do what I can to help my team and hopefully make the Pro Bowl.

James (Laurel, Md.): What NFL tight end would you compare yourself to?

Chase Coffman: I would say Jason Witten from the Dallas Cowboys. He's a great receiver and he gets the job done.

Chase Coffman's full chat transcript



Jared Cook

South Carolina TE Jared Cook
South Carolina TE
Ht/Wt/40: 6'4", 246 lb, 4.50
Scouts Inc. grade: 89

Todd (Boston, Mass.): What were the reasons why you chose to leave South Carolina early?

Jared Cook: I felt it was the right time with the quarterback situation. I felt that next year was not going to be better, so I thought I would go while I was hot.

Travis (Jacksonville, Fla.): What is playing for coach Spurrier like?

Jared Cook: It is a challenge. He is a different kind of coach who has been around a while and seen everything there is to see. He has experienced everything so it was a challenge and I respect him for it. Looking back on it, it was a blessing to play for him.

Jared Cook's full chat transcript



Michael Crabtree

Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree
Texas Tech WR
Ht/Wt/40: 6'1", 215 lb, N/A
Scouts Inc. grade: 96

Sean (Woodbury, N.Y.): What would be your dream city to play in?

Michael Crabtree: Puerto Rico's new football team.

Chris (Queens, N.Y.): Most wide receivers do not have much of an impact their first year. Why will you?

Michael Crabtree: It's football man, you have to be an athlete and want to make an impact. You can't go in there and think you'll make an impact. I'm a guy who wants to make in impact.

Michael Crabtree's full chat transcript



Brian Cushing

USC LB Brian Cushing
USC LB
Ht/Wt/40: 6'2", 243 lb, 4.74
Scouts Inc. grade: 92

Chris (Baltimore, Md.): What kind of system would best utilize your abilities, a 3-4, 4-3, 4-6 or the Tampa 2?

Brian Cushing: I played a little bit of a 3-4 in my sophomore year. For three years I was a 4-3 LB. Whatever team wants to put me, I will play. I feel I'm a versatile linebacker.

SprungOnSports (Long Island, N.Y.): What do you think is your greatest strength and largest weakness?

Brian Cushing: I think my biggest strength is my work ethic. I think it's gotten me to where I am now. I think my weakness is being overly critical of myself. Overanalyzing and getting on myself for things I shouldn't.

Brian Cushing's full chat transcript



Chase Daniel

Missouri QB Chase Daniel
Missouri QB
Ht/Wt/40: 6'0", 218 lb, 4.92
Scouts Inc. grade: 30

Henry (Buffalo, N.Y.): How much will you miss throwing the ball to Jeremy Maclin?

Chase Daniel: It's going to be tough without 9 out there. But he's going to be fine, and I'm excited about the next level.

J.B. (Dunmore, Pa.): Is there any WR currently in the NFL that you are dying to throw to?

Chase Daniel: T.O. would be pretty fun to throw to with his size and speed and ability to go up and get it.

Chase Daniel's full chat transcript



Larry English

Northern Illinois DE Larry English
Northern Illinois DE
Ht/Wt/40: 6'2", 255 lb, 4.88
Scouts Inc. grade: 89

Will (Denver, Colo.): What made you choose Northern Illinois University?

Larry English: Coming out of high school I did not have many big time offers. Many MAC schools made offers and the University of Iowa and NIU recruited me. I wanted to go to Iowa at first, because at the time the program was really doing well, but they never gave me an offer, and NIU made me feel very comfortable and my family could come see me play. It really worked out well for me and looking back on it I think I made the right decision.

Tom (New Jersey): Hello Larry, do you see yourself as a defensive end or an outside linebacker in the pros?

Larry English: Honestly, I feel I have the ability to play either one. I am comfortable playing DE, where I have been the last few years. But I also played LB before college. So really it is up to the team that picks me and the scheme they run. I am open to either one. I will get more clarity on that in the coming weeks.

Larry English's full chat transcript



Brandon Gibson

Washington State WR Brandon Gibson
Washington State WR
Ht/Wt/40: 6'0", 210 lb, N/A
Scouts Inc. grade: 60

Rich (Toms River, N.J.): Other then skill, what do you feel is the biggest difference between a good athlete and great athlete?

Brandon Gibson: I think what they put in, outside of practice. Whether they get extra lifts in or work on routes to work on their skill set outside of practice. A lot of people aren't tremendous athletes, so it's what they put into it.

Chris Williams (St. Albans, W. Va.): How hard is the travel on you? When you play in a different time zone is it hard to adjust?

Brandon Gibson: We're on the West Coast, so there wasn't that much of a time change. We didn't go that far east. It was relatively easy. Maybe at the next level, I think it will be a lot different.

Brandon Gibson's full chat transcript



Nic Harris

Oklahoma DB Nic Harris
Oklahoma DB
Ht/Wt/40: 6'2", 234 lb, 4.85
Scouts Inc. grade: 60

Marcus (Washington, D.C.): Why should you be the first defensive back taken in the 2009 NFL Draft?

Nic Harris: Because of my off the field character and my on the field talent. I feel as if I can bring great things to which ever team drafts me.

Tomwit (New Jersey): Hello Nic. Growing up in Louisiana, were you a Saints fan? Also, what NFL player do you think is not only a fine player but a role model for today and is that important?

Nic Harris: Yes, I was a Saints fan. I think it is very important. Will Smith is a prime example of a player that in great on and off the field. He is an excellent role model.

Nic Harris' full chat transcript



Darrius Heyward-Bey

Maryland WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
Maryland WR
Ht/Wt/40: 6'0", 210 lb, 4.30
Scouts Inc. grade: 90

Dan (Detroit, Mich.): What's your favorite Maryland memory?

Darrius Heyward-Bey: My favorite memory is definitely the Miami game. I scored two touchdowns and we won 14-13. And the fans back at College Park were the best!

Jon (College Park, Md.): What's up Darrius, sophomore Terp here. What do you feel is your biggest asset to a team heading into the draft?

Darrius Heyward-Bey: My speed. Having a chance to stretch the field and go deep to open up the underneath routes. I definitely think that my speed is something that can really help any NFL team.

Darrius Heyward-Bey's full chat transcript



Evander Hood

Missouri DT Evander Hood
Missouri DT
Ht/Wt/40: 6'2", 300 lb, 4.88
Scouts Inc. grade: 81

Steiny (New York, N.Y.): How did you get the nickname Ziggy?

Evander Hood: I'm half-black and half-Mexican, and my grandmother on my mother's side couldn't pronounce my name, so they started calling me by their favorite cartoon-character name, Ziggy.

Jordan (Slinger, Wis.): What are your personal expectations heading into your rookie season?

Evander Hood: I really want to establish myself as a good player. I want to stay healthy and hopefully make a team so that I can show them what I can do on the field.

Evander Hood's full chat transcript



Paul Kruger

Utah DE Paul Kruger
Utah DE
Ht/Wt/40: 6'4", 263 lb, 4.84
Scouts Inc. grade: 86

Nick (Michigan): Did Utah deserve a share of the national title?

Paul Kruger: Definitely. We were the only undefeated team and proved we could play with anyone in the nation. No team in the country could beat us. We all feel very confident that we deserved a title.

Peter (Utah): What is the most intimidating part of the combine?

Paul Kruger: Either the interviews with the coaches or the medicals, because in both situations everything you say and do is being analyzed by at least 20 people. There is nothing you can really prepare for with the physical, since your body is your body. While with the interviews you can be prepared, but you never know what they will ask.

Paul Kruger's full chat transcript



James Laurinaitis

Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis
Ohio State LB
Ht/Wt/40: 6'1", 244 lb, 4.88
Scouts Inc. grade: 90

Roy Ortiz (San Antonio, Texas): How's it going James? Of all the great linebackers that have come out of Ohio State, who has had the most influence on you and why?

James Laurinaitis: I would say A.J. Hawk. I had the chance to deal with him every day. If you want to talk about some of the older players, Chris Spielman has been around and has been an influence on me. The cool thing about OSU is that all the older players want to see the young players succeed.

Dan (Louisville, Ky.): Hey James, big Buckeye fan and congratulate you on your past and future successes. What do you feel is your biggest asset as a linebacker to an NFL team?

James Laurinaitis: Leadership and accountability. I'm a football player--I study the game a lot and I like to make plays. I think I have the ability as a linebacker to make some game-changing plays, against the pass and the run. I can stay on the field for all three downs and can be an asset to an organization.

James Laurinaitis's full chat transcript



Jeremy Maclin

Missouri WR Jeremy Maclin
Missouri WR
Ht/Wt/40: 6'0", 198 lb, 4.48
Scouts Inc. grade: 94

Aaron (Kansas City, Mo.): Hey Jeremy, we'll miss you at the ZOU. That said what do you feel is your biggest strength aand weakness headed toward the draft?

Jeremy Maclin: My biggest strength is my playmaking ability. I feel every time I touch the ball I can make a big play. A lot of scouts do not like the fact that I have not played outside receiver, but it's something I think I can step in and do, so I would not really call it a weakness.

Matt (Norman, Okla.): What do you think will be the toughest part about the transition from college to the NFL and why?

Jeremy Maclin: I think that going 21+ weeks instead of 16 will be a tough transition. You have the preseason games, and the bye week and hopefully the playoffs in the NFL. So it is a longer season than college football. It may be more of a challenge.

Jeremy Maclin's full chat transcript



Tyrone McKenzie

South Florida LB Tyrone McKenzie
South Florida LB
Ht/Wt/40: 6'1", 243 lb, 4.87
Scouts Inc. grade: 68

Ryan (Vermont): How did playing at USF prepare you for the NFL?

Tyrone McKenzie: It was a huge phase in my preparation. Our defense is very complex, so it's similar to NFL defenses.

Nick (New Jersey): Be honest now ...when you put a good lick on someone, does it ring your bell as much as it does to them?

Tyrone McKenzie: No, I don't even feel it. I listen for that "ugh!", and when I hear that, I know I've brought fear to someone's heart.

Tyrone McKenzie's full chat transcript



Knowshon Moreno

Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno
Georgia RB
Ht/Wt/40: 5'10", 217 lb, 4.56
Scouts Inc. grade: 93

Larry (Pasco, Wash.): What NFL running back is your playing style most like?

Knowshon Moreno: I like watching LaDainian Tomlinson. I like the way that Adrian Peterson runs. Probably a combination of both. Maybe a Walter Payton type -- he was a great back. I just love the way those guys run the ball.

Michael (Athens, Ga.): Do you think you would be prepared enough to start in the NFL today?

Knowshon Moreno: I wouldn't say TODAY -- I have to get in, learn the system, and adjust. Coming from high school to college was an adjustment, and it'll be an even bigger one going to the next level.

Knowshon Moreno's full chat transcript



Brian Orakpo

Texas DE Brian Orakpo
Texas DE
Ht/Wt/40: 6'3", 263 lb, 4.70
Scouts Inc. grade: 95

Patrick (Richmond, Va.): Do you think your success at Texas will help you in the NFL? Also, what do you think is the best attribute that you bring to the table as a defensive end?

Brian Orakpo: I think I can carry my success at Texas over into the NFL. We played in big games at Taxes and did well in those games. The number one thing that I can bring to the table is attacking the quarterback. I can wreak havoc in the backfield.

Jake (Syracuse, N.Y.): Brian, why should you get drafted?

Brian Orakpo: I should get drafted because I want to continue my football career. I play at a play making position and I believe that I can make big plays for a team at the next level.

Brian Orakpo's full chat transcript



Jerraud Powers

Auburn CB Jerraud Powers
Auburn CB
Ht/Wt/40: 5'9", 192 lb, 4.47
Scouts Inc. grade: 34

Steiny (New York, N.Y.): What was your greatest memory about playing football at Auburn?

Jerraud Powers: My greatest memory would be in my redshirt freshman year. We were playing Florida and I blocked a punt. That play ended up being the Pontiac Game Changing Performance and we went on to win that game.

Kyle (Auburn, Ala.): Jerraud, thanks for the good years at Auburn! Did the coaching change have anything to do with your decision to come out early? Do you think your size hurts your draft stock? War Eagle and good luck in the NFL!

Jerraud Powers: The coaching change had no effect on me leaving early. I don't think my size will hurt me. I know if I was taller that would be a plus but I really don't think my size will hurt me in the draft.

Jerraud Powers' full chat transcript



Duke Robinson

Oklahoma OL Duke Robinson
Oklahoma OL
Ht/Wt/40: 6'5", 329 lb, 5.33
Scouts Inc. grade: 76

Jones (Harlem, N.Y.): What makes you the best offensive guard in the draft?

Duke Robinson: My mental toughness, I'm athletic and I have the skills to play the offensive guard position on the next level.

Randy (St. Paul, Minn.): What have you learned from Bob Stoops at the University of Oklahoma? What advice has he given you about the NFL?

Duke Robinson: Basically he said it's my life and now my job, it's not just something to do. I played to keep my scholarship while in school and now I have the chance to play at the highest level and help take care of my family.

Duke Robinson's full chat transcript



Mark Sanchez

USC QB Mark Sanchez
USC QB
Ht/Wt/40: 6'2", 227 lb, 4.88
Scouts Inc. grade: 94

SprungOnSports (Long Island, N.Y.): What do you think separates you from other quarterbacks in this draft?

Mark Sanchez: I'm a complete player and a leader. Teams are saying that I have that "it" factor. Plus I'm a real student of the game.

Mitchell (Cleveland, Ohio): What was the reasoning behind going to the NFL instead of staying in college?

Mark Sanchez: When I got to USC I had two goals; one was to graduate, which I will do with a degree in communications on May 15 and the other was to play in the NFL and this opportunity was too good to pass up.

Mark Sanchez' full chat transcript



Jason Smith

Baylor OT Jason Smith
Baylor OT
Ht/Wt/40: 6'5", 309 lb, 5.22
Scouts Inc. grade: 96

Dave (Houston, Texas): J-Smooth, as a current student at Baylor, it is pretty exciting to see a Baylor player listed at the top of all the pre-draft rankings. I was wondering if you could go back and change anything over your football career, what would it be and why?

Jason Smith: I would change the date that Robert Griffin was born and would have gotten him here my freshman year. But I would not change anything. I mean I would have liked to win more. But I would not change anything because what I went through made me who I am.

Kyle (Chicago, Ill.): Have you ever jacked someone up and then had something really funny to say to them? If so, can you share?

Jason Smith: I cannot remember what I said on the field, but I am sure I have said plenty of things because I play with a lot of emotion. If I were to type it, it would need too much editing and censoring, so I won't even bother.

Jason Smith's full chat transcript



Sean Smith

Utah CB Sean Smith
Utah CB
Ht/Wt/40: 6'3", 214 lb, 4.52
Scouts Inc. grade: 84

Erik (Los Angeles, Calif.): How did you feel about your combine performance?

Sean Smith: I think I did OK. I didn't run as well as I would have liked but I had a good time for somebody my size. Overall, I think I made a pretty good name for myself.

David (Ft. Worth, Texas): What can you bring to a NFL team?

Sean Smith: I'm a very versatile athlete and I can make big plays on the defensive side of the ball. I'm also an exciting player that would do anything to help out my team.

Sean Smith's full chat transcript



Matthew Stafford

Georgia QB Matthew Stafford
Georgia QB
Ht/Wt/40: 6'2", 225 lb, 4.81
Scouts Inc. grade: 96

Drew (Buffalo, N.Y.): Did you accomplish everything you intended to in college?

Matthew Stafford: Obviously everyone that plays college football wants to win a national championship and a Heisman Trophy, but not everyone can. I had a good time playing looking back on it.

Gary (Atlanta, Ga.): How far can you actually throw the ball?

Matthew Stafford: At the combine, I threw 80 yards, that's the furthest I've ever thrown it.

Matthew Stafford's full chat transcript