By Peter Christian
Stafford held his own at the NFL Scouting Combine by showing off his skills, strength and poise. He isn’t the best player overall in this draft but he does have a bright future at the QB position.
2. St. Louis Rams Jason Smith OT Baylor
At 6’5″, 305 lbs. Smith has great size but he will wow people with his athletic ability. The converted tight end is extremely agile and quick and will defend against speed rushers very well. Smith’s showing at the combine has likely helped him up draft boards around the league and is now getting consideration as the best Offensive Tackle available in some scout’s rankings.
3. Kansas City Chiefs Aaron Curry OLB Wake Forest
Curry is being called the safest pick in this year’s draft. His size, speed and strength all translate very well to the NFL game and will make an immediate impact on which ever team’s lap Curry falls into.
4. Seattle Seahawks Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech
The stress fracture and subsequent surgery has many scouts, coaches and GM’s, well, stressing about his value. However, the last two years of game film will likely ease some of that stress. The injury shouldn’t affect his value but it may cause team’s to proceed cautiously.
5. Cleveland Browns Brian Orakpo DE Texas
Orakpo has the tools to become an elite pass rusher in the NFL. Some scouts and NFL junkies have said that he could be converted to an outside linebacker which could happen in Cleveland if Eric Mangini brings the 3-4 defense to the Dawg Pound. Where ever the Browns have Orakpo line up he is definitely going to fill a need.
6. Cincinnati Bengals B. J. Raji DT Boston College
Raji has solidified his claim to the best interior defensive lineman in the draft. The team that takes B.J. will be thoroughly impressed with his upper body strength and his ability to change the direction of the play.
7. Oakland Raiders Eugene Monroe OT Virginia
Eugene Monroe’s stock is on the rise after a very solid showing in Indianapolis and due to the meteoric fall of Andre Smith. However, Monroe has great talent. His skills and ability were the reason that Branden Albert (15th overall pick in 2008) was a guard in college. Albert is now a starting tackle for the Chiefs
8. Jacksonville Jaguars Michael Oher OT Ole Miss
Oher is finally getting more buzz about his skills and NFL potential than about the Michael Lewis book that was written about him. He looked great at the combine and the Senior Bowl and should definitely be a top ten pick in 2009.
9. Green Bay Packers Aaron Maybin DE Penn State
Maybin has the talent to be great in the NFL. He also has great versatility to play as a speed rush defensive end or to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
10. San Francisco 49ers Andre Smith OT Alabama
Andre Smith is very large (6’4″, 330 lbs.) and is going to be a great run blocker in the NFL. However, his antics at the combine are causing many character questions and will likely cause him to fall out of the top ten unless he has an amazing pro-day on campus.
Pettigrew’s stock is rising. At 6’6″, 260 lbs. he is a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses, no matter who is throwing him the ball. He can be a great asset to the offense in the short and intermediate passing game.
12. Denver Broncos Rey Maualuga LB USC
Maualuga is without a doubt the best interior linebacker in the draft. He is very explosive and can fill holes in the line very quickly. If Ray Lewis and Troy Polamalu had a baby, Maualuga would be the result.
13. Washington Redskins Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri
Maclin has a great skill set. He has good hands, great speed and agility. He can help a team in the passing game, the return game and was also a very effective option out of the backfield on occasion. His combine performance locked him in as the 2nd best receiver available in the draft.
14. New Orleans Saints Malcom Jenkins CB Ohio State
Jenkins has been given the benefit of playing behind a very good defensive front during his college career but that doesn’t mean he isn’t talented. OSU’s history of producing good CB’s will continue with Jenkins.
15. Houston Texans Mark Sanchez QB USC
Sanchez’s decision to participate in the drills at the Combine was a good one. Not only did it show an eagerness to prove himself as an elite prospect but he was able to silence many of his critics. His performance not only locked him into the first round but will likely be a top 15 pick.
16. San Diego Chargers Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia
Moreno is a blend of speed, agility and muscle and can provide any team with a great home run threat out of the backfield. He has amazing downfield moves and can make just about any defender look foolish.
17. New York Jets Brian Cushing LB USC
Cushing has plenty of question marks to go with his talent, there is quite a bit of debate as to whether he will translate into a OLB in a 4-3 scheme or ILB in a 3-4. However as GM’s watch him on the field, those question marks will likely be forgotten. Cushing’s draft stock will likely hinge on his medical records and team interviews rather than his measurables.
18. Chicago Bears Vontae Davis CB Illinois
Malcom Jenkins gets all the hype of a Big Ten CB but Davis has the better upside. His recovery speed is what is going to make him a great corner in the NFL.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Percy Harvin WR Florida
Harvin is possibly the best athlete in the draft. He has amazing speed and is surprisingly strong for his stature. His game likely translates to becoming a slot receiver in the NFL but he can line up anywhere if asked.
20. Detroit Lions (from Dallas) Eben Britton OT Arizona
Britton is a big man and can anchor an offensive line. He will have to work on his footwork, but he has the raw skills to be great.
Wells is a downhill runner that doesn’t shy away from contact. He has deceiving speed which allows him to break away from opposing linebackers. “Beanie” is working very hard to toss the reputation that he is injury prone.
22. Minnesota Vikings Everette Brown DE Florida State
Everette Brown is an extremely agile defensive lineman. There is talk about his game translating to the OLB position in the NFL which would likely best utilize his versatility.
Laurinitis likely would have been taken in the top 10 in last year’s draft, but his slipping has little to do with his own play. He brings great energy to the field and is always around the ball.
24. Atlanta Falcons DJ Moore CB Vanderbilt
Moore dealt with a lot of injuries last season but was still a finalist for the Jim Thorpe award as one of the nation’s best defensive backs. He has shown an ability to make good reads and get good breaks on the ball, racking up 11 interceptions over the last two seasons.
25. Miami Dolphins Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland
Heyward-Bey went into the combine with the title as a big physical receiver. He can now add “lightning fast” to that resume. His 4.30 makes him the fastest offensive player available. He needs to work on catching the ball with his hands more, but his size and speed make him extremely attractive.
26. Baltimore Ravens Clay Matthews LB USC
Matthews has joined his USC teammates as a first round prospect after a great work-out at the Combine. He can jump even higher up draft boards by showing his great work ethic in individual work outs and at USC’s pro day.
27. Indianapolis Colts Max Unger C Oregon
Unger doesn’t have the intimidating size that you expect out of a first round pick but he is very quick and is very fundamentally sound. He has plenty of frame to pack on another 15-20 lbs. of muscle and could be a solid Center in the NFL.
28. Philadelphia Eagles (from Carolina) Tyson Jackson DE LSU
Jackson’s biggest knock is that he takes plays off, if he had a consistent motor he would likely be mentioned in the same breath as Everette Brown and Aaron Maybin. As long as he doesn’t mail in his performance at the combine he should still be a first rounder
29. New York Giants Larry English OLB Northern Illinois
English’s size will likely lock him into being an OLB in the NFL but his stock is on the rise nonetheless. His stats and accolades in the MAC shouldn’t be downplayed, his ethic is pure.
30. Tennessee Titans Peria Jerry DT Ole Miss
Peria Jerry is extremely quick and agile for a 312 lb. man-child and gets into the backfield with regularity. The biggest knock on Jerry is his lack of sheer strength. At the Senior Bowl he upped his stock into a late first round prospect.
31. Arizona Cardinals Donald Brown RB Connecticut
Brown is very similar to a very successful running back taken in last year’s draft, Matt Forte. He has plenty of experience and is very smart on the football field. He is very patient to find the hole and uses a quick burst to eat up yardage in bunches. He is rising up draft boards very quickly.
32. Pittsburgh Steelers Darius Butler CB Connecticut
Butler is relatively unknown at this point but his cover skills are going to be whispered about in war rooms on draft day. He is very fundamental and has a ton of field experience due to his status as a three year starter.Follow paulmbanks