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NFL Draft Preview- 1/17/08

The race for that coveted Lombardi trophy is on for four hard-working teams, but what about the other 28 teams that need a little help capturing that silver football?

  Well, their off-season is in full swing, and one of the main, if not the main, aspect(s) of it is preparation for the NFL draft.

  It also happens to be one of the main proponents of the off-season fantasy owners should be carefully monitoring, especially those trying to build an unstoppable dynasty.

 

While it may be too early for any official mock drafts, it’s never too early to learn a little something about potential signal-callers, ball-carriers, reception-artists, and intense defenders; this is where the NFL Draft Preview comes in to play.

  Every two weeks I’ll highlight four prospects and breakdown some news surrounding the draft, so read carefully, and never forget that there is always time for football no matter what time of the year it is.

 

Four Profiled

QB Matthew

Stafford:

  With his recent announcement that he’s declaring himself for the draft I figured we could start out strong; Texas-sized strong.

  The

Dallas born gun-slinger has all the physical tools to be a good-great NFL quarterback immediately, but it’s his mental makeup that places him a cut above the rest of the quarterback prospects in this draft.

 

Stafford never panics and has the ability to find the open receiver when in trouble.

  He’s mobile and smart, and has an extremely strong arm.

  His three year career stats at

Georgia (7731 passing yards, 51 touchdowns) aren’t that appealing, but his 2008 campaign was.

  In thirteen starts

Stafford threw for 3459 yards, and 25 touchdowns.

  Right now he’s projecting as the top quarterback prospect and could be had by any of the five teams slotted in the top five of the 2009 draft.

  He’s bound to make an immediate impact almost right away with whichever team he lands with, but the amount of production he’ll give fantasy owners will depend on the supporting cast around him.

  He may not be Matt Ryan, but he won’t be Ryan Leaf either.

 

RB Javon Ringer: The senior

Michigan

State product is an explosive playmaker who knows how to make defenders miss.  He broke out in 2007 with 1447 yards and six touchdowns, but bettered that this past season with 1637 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns as his workload increased.  His value will jump or fall with his combine times for he’ll have to show something more to get drafted in the first or second round of a draft that features a boatload of solid defensive prospects.  He’s a sure fire top five back, but may slip overall due to the lack of need at the position.  He would be a great fit for the new look

Josh McDaniels Broncos offense, and should make an immediate impact for any team as a third down role player if he can stay healthy (see below).

  He’s definitely somebody dynasty owners should keep on their radar.

 

 

LB Rey Maualaga: This USC linebacker could be my favorite defensive prospect in this draft as he not only possesses all the physical skills to be a great NFL player, but he also has the mental make-up to be a team leader on any defense.

  He’s a hard hitting linebacker who isn’t afraid to drive through opposing runners, but needs to learn a little control so he doesn’t miss the easy tackles at the next level.

  His statistics weren’t the greatest this past season, but he always seemed to be around the ball when teams worked in his area of the field.

  He’s good in pass coverage and isn’t afraid to step in front of a few passes.

  Overall, he’s an intense tackling machine who has a lot of potential, but alo could make an immediate impact for a team in need of a leader in the middle.

  Some teams who may have him on their radar include

Cincinnati (#6 overall), Buffalo (#11 overall), and

New Orleans (#14 overall).

  If for some reason he falls out of the top 20 don’t be surprised if the Vikings scoop him up at #22 overall.

 

 

Sleeper Watch-

DB Dominique Johnson: The former transfer from Missouri flew under most scouts’ radars at Jackson State in 2008, but Johnson has the frame and skill set to be a solid defensive back in the NFL.

  Johnson is a good tackler, with a good frame to add some bulk, and has been clocked between 4.3 and 4.38 in the 40 yard dash.

  Some are projecting him to move to safety, but for fantasy owners that could be great news.

  A move to safety would mean that he would be able to rack up more tackles and make more big plays.

  If his character doesn’t get in the way Johnson could prove to be a steal in the third or fourth round; think Tanard Jackson.

  And if he’s developed properly he could prove to be a heck of a steal for dynasty owners as well.

 

 

Shark Attack:

Draft News

According to

ESPN.com USC quarterback Mark Sanchez has declared for the 2009 draft, and is expected to be the third first round quarterback drafted to come out of USC in the past decade.

  

 

According to

ESPN.com Rice standout wide receiver Jarrett Dillard showed he can do it all at East-West shrine game practices on Thursday.

  Dillard is undersized at 5’11”, but displayed great route running ability, explosion after the catch, and outstanding leaping ability.

  Keep him on your radar as the combine approaches.

 

 

According to the

Seattle

Times

Washington

State wideout Brandon Gibson has accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl, which will be played on January 24th.

  Gibson finished first all-time in WSU school history with 2,756 career receiving yards.

 

 

According to the

Dayton

Daily

News

Michigan

State running back Javon Ringer (highlighted above) has pulled out of the senior bowl and will be replaced by Purdue standout Kory Sheets.

  “We were told he had his knee scoped and would not be ready,” said Kevin McDermond, Senior Bowl public relations director.

  Ringer has had a history of knee injuries dating back to his high school days.

 

 

According to the

Columbia Daily Tribune

Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel was named starter for the East in this weekend’s East-West shrine game.

  Daniel will also play in the Senior Bowl, but is surrounded by stiff competition, so to say that he has to raise his game a little is an understatement, as he has a lot to overcome to position himself well for the ’09 NFL draft.

 

According to the

Idaho

Statesman

Boise

State running back Ian Johnson will get his chance to show NFL scouts what he’s all about in this weekend’s shrine game.

  “It’s basically my last hoorah,” said Johnson, who set a WAC record with 58 career rushing touchdowns. “It’s my last chance to show truly what I’m all about. It’s a team game, but this is the first game that does have a lot of personal aspects to it.

  It’s really my last chance before the NFL to say, ‘This is what I’m all about. This is how hard I run. This is how hard I practice.’ It’s a great way to wrap up my career as a college athlete.”

My Top Five Fantasy Prospects (Updated Monthly)

QB Matthew Stafford- Sanchez’s declaration could land

Stafford in better situation?

WR Michael Crabtree- Seattle bound?

RB LeSean McCoy- Late first round running backs have had a history of higher success as rookies.

 

LB Rey Maualaga- Will turn in to a tackling machine.

 

RB Chris “Beanie” Wells- Move over Cedric, Wells is staying in

Ohio?

 

On the outside looking in…..

OLB Aaron Curry- He may have the best physical skills, but lacks intensity.

QB Mark Sanchez- He will turn in to a game-managing quarterback if he lands in

Detroit.

 

S William Moore- One of the few safeties that could start immediately.

 

RB Knowshon

Moreno– Has good all-around skills, but will be more of a role player in his first year.

 

WR Hakeem Nicks- An underrated prospect who could make an immediate impact for a team in need of a big play wideout.

 

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to e-mail me at

e.huber12@yahoo.com

.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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