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AFC North Team Draft Grades
Photo – Michael Oher - Ole Miss
Baltimore Ravens - Grade B+
The Ravens had a strong draft class and were able to address their biggest needs on their offensive line and back seven on defense. On the 1st round, they moved up quickly when OT Michael Oher was still available late in the round. He is a well developed left tackle and capable of starting early in his pro career. It was a great move to land a premier left tackle for their young developing line. On the 2nd round, they selected LB/DE Paul Kruger, a versatile quick defender who is an ideal addition for their front seven. He fits the outside role as an attack linebacker with good pass rushing skills and the ability to play up and down. On the 3rd round, they chose CB Lardarius Webb, a compact tough defensive back with fine natural cover skills. He has fine closing speed and the COD skills to match up well in man situations. He is also a sure tackler and should press for the nickel corner role in camp. He has intriguing upside to start on the corner and probably sooner than expected. We ranked him the #2 small college prospect with an early NFL starting grade. With two 5th round picks, they chose LB Jason Phillips and TE Davon Drew. Phillips is a good athlete who runs well and has the instincts and toughness the Ravens seek in a defender. He had a strong career and was a rising prospect until injured. He figures to help on special teams and has the athleticism to play a few linebacker positions for a few roles. Drew is a mobile sure handed receiver who gives them a nice H back prospect behind veterans Heap and Smith. With their 6th round pick, they drafted runner Cedric Peerman, a shifty runner with a nice combination of skills. He is a tough back who fell off ball security concerns. He is a good inside runner who put a few moves together. He must show better ball security to make this roster, but with improvement there, he is a talented back who can surprise in camp and win a backup role.
1 23 Michael Oher - OT - Mississippi
2 57 Paul Kruger - DE - Utah
3 88 Lardarius Webb - CB - Nicholls St
5 137 Jason Phillips - LB - Texas Christian
5 149 Davon Drew - TE - East Carolina
6 185 Cedric Peerman - RB - Virginia
Cincinnati Bengals - Grade B+
The Bengals addressed major need areas especially in the early rounds. They selected players with high grades at key need areas. On the 1st round, they chose OT Andre Smith, a very well developed blocker who they hope becomes a cornerstone performer on their offensive line. He should win a starting job in camp and possibly the left tackle position. He also has the versatility to play inside at guard. On the 2nd round, they were surprised to see LB Rey Maualuga available and quickly chose the Mike defender. He is an athletic defender who is a tough and dominated run defender. He can start on the inside and a defender that HC Marvin Lewis sees as a core player in his scheme. On the 3rd round, they chose DE Michael Johnson and TE Chase Coffman. Johnson is a big athlete who was an underachiever over his career. He is a quick edge rusher with the prototypical skills to be a top flight pro pass rusher. He may be the biggest boom or bust prospect in this class, but a good risk this late and capable of being a huge surprise if motivated. Coffman is a sure handed receiver who is well developed in all areas of the passing game to help immediately in a few roles. He is only a marginal blocker as an inline performer. He was good value here and should start early in his career. On the 4th round, they added OC Jonathan Luigs and punter Kevin Huber. Luigs is a sound technician who understands angles and has the intangibles necessary to start. He was an excellent addition here with a fairly early pro starting grade. Huber is a good punter who can win the job outright in camp. In the 6th round, they added CB Morgan Trent and runner Bernard Scott. Trent is a savvy cover man who fits a cover 2 scheme and will press for the nickel corner role. Scott is a troubled prospect with natural running skills. He gets a huge chance here at a position with only marginal talent after the release of veteran Chris Perry. On the 7th round, they added FB Fui Vakapuna, DE Clinton McDonald and WR Freddie Brown. Vakapuna is a tough relentless blocker with good physical skills to compete for the starting role. He can play on special teams. McDonald figures to challenge for a roster spot along their average front four. He can fill a few roles and has a make it grade. Brown is a big athlete with good hands to compete for a backup role.
1 6 Andre Smith - OT - Alabama
2 38 Rey Maualuga - LB - Southern Cal
3 70 Michael Johnson - DE - Georgia Tech
3 98 Chase Coffman - TE - Missouri
4 106 Jonathan Luigs - OC - Arkansas
5 142 Kevin Huber - P - Cincinnati
6 179 Morgan Trent - CB - Michigan
6 209 Bernard Scott - RB - Abilene Christian
7 215 Fui Vakapuna - FB - BYU
7 249 Clinton McDonald - DE - Memphis
7 252 Freddie Brown - WR - Utah
Top Feature Backs Knowshon Moreno & Donald Brown Chosen in First Round
Photo - Brian Cushing - Southern Cal
New Jersey has always supplied college football with premier talent that has helped teams like Penn St and Southern Cal compete for national titles. This year the Jersey college talent converted into seven #1 picks in the NFL Draft 2009, including two prospects in the top ten overall selections. OT Eugene Monroe and NT B.J. Raji were among the elite draft selections this past weekend with each selected among the top ten picks.
The top two running backs, Knowshon Moreno and Donald Brown were selected in the first round. Both prospects are Jersey Shore players who I have been familiar with for the past six seasons and ranked at the top of the class. Each prospect is a talented feature back and carries an early NFL staring grade. Both have excellent intangibles and character, in addition to well rounded running skills.
The Jersey first round contingent fittingly finished with Rutgers wideout Kenny Britt selected by the Tennessee Titans as the 30th overall selection. Britt was the first Rutgers player ever chosen in the 1st round of the NFL Draft.
First Round Selections
Overall - Player - Pos - School
8th Eugene Monroe - OT - Virginia
9th B.J. Raji - DT - Boston College
12th Knowshon Moreno - RB - Georgia
14th Malcolm Jenkins - CB - Ohio St.
15th Brian Cushing - LB - Southern Cal
27th Donald Brown - RB - UConn
30th Kenny Britt - WR - Rutgers
Jersey - Rutgers Players Highlight NFL Draft 2009
Photo - Eugene Monroe - Virginia
Scarlet Scuttlebutt with Keith Sargeant
Scarlet Scuttlebutt caught up recently with Frank Coyle, a nationally-known pro football scout based in Red Back who publishes Draft Insiders’ Digest. In its 18th season, DraftInsiders.com is a website and publication dedicated to the year round coverage of NFL and NCAA Football.
Coyle discussed the NFL Draft prospects of each Rutgers hopeful as well as several other New Jersey products in a Q&A.
Scuttlebutt: Have you ever seen a year like this, where there’s so many New Jersey products scattered through the draft. I mean, seven alone could go in the first round.
Coyle: “No I haven’t to tell you the truth. It’s pretty interesting, especially the running backs — Knowshon (Moreno) and (Donald) Brown and (Shonn) Greene. And then you start factoring the Rutgers kids and B.J. Raji is a kid from North Jersey. Michael Ray Garvin, the kid from Florida State who ran a 4.22. There’s a lot of players.
“You know, Penn State made a 25-year gravy train off New Jersey kids when Rutgers was no good. And obviously Rutgers stepped up, so it’s kind of changed it a bit. But Jersey’s always had a good base of kids. They just never went to Rutgers.
“But I do think the high school talent-level has increased with better coaching, and I think it’s going to be reflected in the draft.”
Scuttlebutt: The Rutgers guys, let’s get them out of the way first. Kenny Britt is obviously the headline guy. Where do you see him going?
Coyle:“Possible late-round guy to the Colts or the Giants, and certainly off the board in the first 10 picks of the second round. A kid who really came on strong after his one-game suspension. Big, good run-after-catch ability, not a true burner but good speed and some good, natural receiving skills. I expect him to play and play well fairly early in his career.”
Scuttlebutt: Tiquan Underwood, Courtney Greene are guys being discussed in the mid-rounds. What do you think of their chances this weekend?
Coyle: “Greene, I like him a lot. I think some inconsistencies probably cost him an early-round grade, but I give him a middle-round grade and I see him being a starting NFL strong safety in the right set. He’s going to have to prove more consistent in coverage but he’s a good player and I think someone in the 4th, 5th round is going to get a real quality safety.
Here is the Yearbook Report - Larry English out two weeks ago.
Photo - Larry English - N. Illinois
Larry English #51 - 6’2” 255 lbs. - N. Illinois - Sp. 4.75 - Rating 88
Hindu Theory - LaMarr Woodley
Fast outside defender is coming off another strong performance that earned him first team MAC honors. Larry has been an impact defender since his breakout sophomore season earning MAC honors his final three seasons and Defensive Player of the Year over his last two seasons. He has lined up at both defensive end and outside linebacker over his career, displaying the quick first step that gives him an advantage off the snap with fine hand and arm technique to flatten out and get to the passer. He has come on strong over his career and is one of the top ‘tweener attack ends/ linebackers in this year’s class. He is ideally suited for the attack linebacker role in the 3-4 defensive scheme with further development. He has actually played more up as a linebacker than with his hand on the ground as an end over his college career. His fast hands and long arms allow him to counter quickly and use his natural leverage vs. offensive tackles whether playing down or up off the edge. He has quick feet and excellent change of direction skills that allow him to redirect fast and recover whether attacking the LOS or dropping in pass coverage. He separates well from blockers that allow him to use his fine closing speed to the ball and make big plays. He has the flexibility to bend the edge and get his shoulders past a blocker with the burst to pressure the passer consistently. He usually wins early on the down and needs development on additional counter moves and better overall strength to separate if his initial move is contained. He has shown the ability to stunt and spin and come back inside with a burst to the QB, but needs further work on that maneuver especially hand usage to separate. He can struggle to shed blockers once his initial move is contained and further counter moves is essential to win starting NFL time. With further hand development, he can compete for playing time as either a situational pass rushing as an end in a 4-3 set or up as a linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He brings the key component from the outside, pressuring the passer off the edge. He has a good level of development with the fire to battle bigger athletes and win many confrontations. In run support, he shows fine functional strength that allows him to hold the POT fairly well, though at times, bigger tackles can engulf him. He struggles to anchor vs the double team and can get washed out at the POA too often at plays directed at him. He is a very good athlete with fine instincts while playing in space either vs the run or the pass. He has the change of direction skills, instincts and speed to cover backs and tight ends with equal success, though he has performed mainly in forward motion. He has improved his hand technique to separate from blockers quicker with the ability to get his shoulder past blockers as an edge defender but needs further work in that key area. As a senior, he started all 13 games displaying fine pass pressure off the edge. Over his final season, he totaled 37 tackles with 16 TFL, 8 sacks, 3FF and 1FR in a fine effort earning 1st team MAC honors and his 2nd Defensive Player of the Year award. As a junior, he had 67 tackles, 17 TFL, 1 FF, 2 PBU and 10.5 sacks while starting all 12 games. His career totals include 233 tackles, 57 TFL and 32 sacks. At the Senior Bowl practices and game, he displayed quickness off the edge and the ability to get after the passer with some ability to counter. He works hard, leads by example and shows fine football intelligence and instincts. He is similar to tweener defenders LaMarr Woodley, Shaun Phillips and Rosevelt Colvin in size, AA and big play ability. At the combine, he checked in at 255 lbs. and had an impressive workout. He ran 4.82 and 4.84 times with a 1.61 time for the ten yard split. He did 24 reps with a 36” VL, 8’11” BJ and a 4.38 short shuttle and 7.26 time in the three cone drill to complete an outstanding performance. He has the ability to start early in the NFL after some improvement in his lower body strength and overall technique, but he should contribute early as a good situational pass rusher. Fast rising top 40-50 prospect and a player in high demand by the 3-4 clubs like the Patriots, Jets, Cardinals and Dolphins. Big play defender with impact ability as a pass rusher and great fit for the attack backer role in a 3-4 defense. Fine early round selection with big upside potential.
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Top 50 Pro Prospects for the NFL Draft ’09
* underclassmen Rating - April 7
Photo - WR Darrius Heyward-Bey - Maryland
1. * Matthew Stafford - QB - Georgia
2. Aaron Curry - LB - Wake Forest
3. * Michael Crabtree - WR - Texas Tech
4. Eugene Monroe - OT - Virginia
5. Brian Orakpo - DE - Texas
6. Jason Smith - OT - Baylor
7. * Mark Sanchez - QB - Southern Cal
8. * Jeremy Maclin - WR - Missouri
9. * Everette Brown - DE - Florida St
10. B.J. Raji - DT - Boston College
11. * Andre Smith - OT - Alabama
12. * Vontae Davis - CB - Illinois
13. * Percy Harvin - WR - Florida
14. Malcolm Jenkins - CB - Ohio St
15 * Darrius Heyward-Bey - WR - Maryland
16. Michael Oher - OT - Ole Miss
17. * Knowshon Moreno - RB - Georgia
18. Brandon Pettigrew - TE - Oklahoma St
19. Brian Cushing - LB - Southern Cal
20. Michael Johnson - DE - Georgia Tech
21. Rey Maualuga - LB - Southern Cal
22. Tyson Jackson - DE - LSU
23. * Chris Wells - RB - Ohio St
24. * Eben Britton - OT - Arizona
25. * Aaron Maybin - DE - Penn St
26. * Josh Freeman - QB - Kansas St
27. Peria Jerry - DT - Mississippi
28. Alphonso Smith - CB - Wake Forest
29. James Laurinaitis - LB - Ohio St
30. * Hakeem Nicks - WR - North Carolina
31. Alex Mack - OC - California
32. Darius Butler - CB - UConn
33. William Beatty - OT - UConn
34. Evander ‘Ziggy’ Hood - DT - Missouri
35. Louis Delmas - S - Western Michigan
36. Clay Matthews - LB - Southern California
37. * Kenny Britt - WR - Rutgers
38. Larry English - DE - Northern Illinois
39. * Sean Smith - CB - Utah
40. Robert Ayers - DE - Tennessee
41. William Moore - FS - Missouri
42. Clint Sintim - LB - Virginia
43. * Donald Brown - RB - UConn
44. * Jared Cook - TE - South Carolina
45. Connor Barwin - DE/TE- Cincinnati
46. Brian Robiskie - WR - Ohio St
47. Max Unger - OL - Oregon
48. * D.J. Moore - CB - Vanderbilt
49. * Jairus Byrd - CB - Oregon
50. * LeSean McCoy - RB - Pittsburgh
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