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 Post subject: GBN Article next yr Draft Class weak on Defense,2006 strong
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 3:35 am 
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Just another reason if the falcon's get a decent offer for Schaub (1st round or high 2nd round) plus sign a free agent QB to take Schaub's place you must deal Schaub.The draft next year is weak on corners and def linemen.Also I would trade Duckett and just hope we could get a 3rd rounder.If we are going to rebuild the defense it has to be this year.Next yr looks good for off linemen.

THE SCOUT'S NOTEBOOK
Peeking down the road: A very, very early look at the 2007 draft

by Colin Lindsay, Editor and Publisher, Great Blue North Draft Report
February 14, 2006

With the NFL virtually on shut-down until next week when the annual Scouting Combine takes place in Indianapolis, it seems as good a time as any to take a look way down the road to check out what prospects are coming along in the potential 2007 draft class. As we have said in the past, we are big fans of taking something of a strategic approach to drafting in that we always hate to see a team force an early-round pick at a position one year when there will likely be a bountiful crop at that position the following year. Like all good things, though, strategic drafting should be done in moderation because, as with any projection that’s well down the road, many factors can, and will change to reshuffle the deck. Still, it is possible to get something of a sense of what the early line is on what the strengths and weaknesses of the 2007 might end up being.

Preliminary list of prospects for 2007

If at first you don’t succeed!!! One doesn’t have to go far to find a pretty good example of the foibles of trying to predict any draft, particularly one that is 15 months away. This year’s offensive tackle class, for example, had been thought to be one of the real strengths of the 2006 draft class, however, the grades of most of the leading OTs have been in virtual free fall the past few months such that it is entirely possible that D’Brickashaw Ferguson of Virginia could be the only OT taken in the opening round this year.

So at the risk of being proven totally wrong once again, it looks like OT could be the strength of the 2007 draft, especially if big Wisconsin OT Joe Thomas is healthy this coming fall. Thomas had been one of the rising stars of the 2006 draft class, but the junior tore an ACL in the Badgers’ bowl win and will spend the winter rehabbing after undergoing reconstructive surgery rather than working out for pro scouts. If healthy, Thomas should be joined in a very talented senior cadre of OTs including Justin Blalock of Texas, Levi Brown of Penn State, Doug Free of Northern Illinois, Arron Sears of Tennessee, Andrew Carnahan of Arizona State, Andrew Cameron of California, Jake Kuresa of BYU and Joe Ainslie of Minnesota. And the class would get even stronger if juniors Jake Long of Michigan and Sam Baker of Southern California leave school early next winter.

Comeback year for receivers… While the OTs were once considered the strength of the 2006 draft, no one has ever made that claim of the WRs. Indeed, WR could be the weakest position at this year’s draft. In fact, the most exciting receivers in college football these days are juniors Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech, Dwayne Jarrett of Southern Cal, and Ohio State speedster Ted Ginn and sophomores Sidney Rice of South Carolina and 6-6 James Hardy of Indiana, none of whom was eligible to enter this year’s draft where all three would have been top 10-15 type prospects. If those players stay in school, though, it could be more of the same at WR where there is a solid, but not necessarily explosive senior corps of WRs including Steve Smith of Southern Cal, rangy Jeff Samardjia of Notre Dame, Jason Hill of Washington State and Aundrae Allison of East Carolina.

There is also an intriguing group of TEs this year led by Matt Spaeth of Minnesota, and Charles Davis of Rutgers, along with Matt Herian of Nebraska and Joe Newton of Oregon State if the latter two are healthy after missing all or part of the 2005 season with injuries. None of the four, though, is likely to rate as high as top TEs in the 2006 draft class, although one or more of juniors like Greg Olsen of Miami, Zach Miller of Arizona State and BYU’s Jonny Harline could very well break into the opening round next year if they were to opt to leave school early.

Plenty of skill at skill positions… After going through a rather prolonged drought during the early part of the decade, RB appears to be back as a premium position on draft day. Three RBs were chosen among the first 5 picks at the 2005 draft, for example, while Southern Cal RB Reggie Bush is pretty much a lock to be the first player taken this year. And Oklahoma junior Adrian Peterson could very well make it two years in a row that a back is taken first overall if he can stay healthy and regain the form that made him the country’s best player as a freshman in 2004 when he ran for over 1,900 yards. Peterson could be joined in the top 10 next year by fellow junior Marshawn Lynch of California, while 250-pound Michael Bush heads a solid senior group of RBs which also includes Kenny Irons of Auburn, Ken Darby of Alabama, Deshawn Wynn of Florida, Tyrone Moss of Miami and Curtis Brown of BYU. Meanwhile, pro scouts will earn their keep deciding whether rugged 230-pound Brian Leonard, who caught 50 passes last fall, has a future at the next level as a RB or FB.

Oklahoma’s Peterson, though, is no lock in the early competition for the #1 grade among 2007 draft eligible prospects; indeed, a case can be made that Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn is the clear consensus choice as the top-returning player next fall, after leading the resurgent Irish this past fall. Quinn, though, is the only QB currently carrying a potential elite grade in the 2007 draft class, although there are a lot of good passers in the upcoming senior class including Drew Stanton of Michigan State, UTEP’s Jordan Palmer, the younger brother of former USC QB Carson Palmer, the #1 player taken at the 2003 draft; athletic Troy Smith of Ohio State; Kevin Kolb of Houston; Jared Zabransky of Boise State, Jeff Ballard of TCU; John Beck of BYU and Tulane’s Lester Ricard. Junior Brian Brohm of Louisville, though, could make things interesting at the top of the 2007 draft board if he enters next year’s draft; Brohm, though, is another player rehabbing from a late-season torn ACL so his health status will have a major bearing on his draft prospects for next year.

”D” is for desperate on D… Teams looking to upgrade on the defensive side of the ball in the immediate future may want to consider loading up at the 2006 draft, because there appear to be some real questions on that side of the ball looking ahead to the 2007 draft.

The 2007 defensive draft class, though, did get a huge boost when junior LBs Ahmad Brooks of Virginia, Paul Posluszny of Penn State, Patrick Willis of Mississippi and H.B. Blades of Pittsburgh all opted to skip the 2006 draft and return to school for their senior seasons. In the case of Brooks and Posluszny, though, injuries played a key part in their decision to stay in college. If healthy, though, Brooks has top 5-10 potential, while the others are mid-to-late first round types. There’s a major drop-off at LB after this top quartet, although MLBs Rufus Alexander of Oklahoma, Buster Davis of Florida State and Mike D’Andrea of Ohio State, along with speedy Virginia Tech junior OLB Xavier Abidi should provide something in the way of second-tier options.

There is a similar story at safety, which could also be something of a strength in 2007, at least on defense, where top FSs Brandon Meriweather of Miami and LaRon Landry of LSU surprised the NFL and opted to return to school for their senior years. They will be joined by solid veterans Will Herring of Georgia and Michael Griffen of Texas at FS and Jesse Daniels of LSU and Eric Weddle of Utah at SS. Again, though, there won’t necessarily be a lot of depth at either position come April 2007.

While the 2007 CB and FS classes were bolstered by the return of several top juniors, the CB position was devastated as almost all the top junior CBs including Ashton Youboty of Ohio State, Antonio Cromartie of Florida, Charles Gordon of Kansas, Dee Webb of Florida, Jonathan Jackson of South Carolina, Richard Marshall of Fresno State and Derrick Martin of Wyoming all bolted for the NFL this winter. Several veteran CBs including Leon Hall of Michigan, Fred Bennett of South Carolina and John Talley of Duke did return to school, but clearly the best and the brightest at the position will already be in the NFL next fall. Indeed, if there are to be any elite level CBs in the 2007 draft, they likely will have to emerge from next year’s junior class which will players like Antoine Cason of Arizona and Darelle Revis of Pittsburgh.

The struggle on defense next fall should also extend to the defensive line where there are more than enough decent prospects, but where plenty of sorting out has to be down. At DE, for example, Gaines Adams of Clemson, Dan Bazuin of Central Michigan, Victor Abiamira of Notre Dame, LaMarr Woodley of Michigan, Quentin Moses of Georgia, Baraka Atkins of Miami, Mkristo Bruce of Washington State, Larry McSwain of Alabama-Birmingham, Paul Carrington of Central Florida, Adam Carriker of Nebraska, and Larry Birdine and juniors Tommy Blake of TCU and Lawrence Jackson of Southern Cal are all good players, but its not clear yet that any one in the group has done enough to establish themselves as a potential elite prospect. Same at DT where Quinn Pitcock of Ohio State, Justin Harrell of Tennessee, the Florida duo of Ray McDonald, if healthy, and Marcus Thomas, and Brandon Mebane of California are all solid, but there is still much sorting out to do at the position.

Future top 10… Again, it’s a lifetime until the 2007 draft, but here’s a quick sense of what the top 10 next spring might look like: (* indicates underclassmen; X indicates injury concern could affect draft status)


QB Brady Quinn, Notre Dame
*RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
*WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
Justin Blalock, Texas
LB Ahmad Brooks, Virginia (X)
FS Brandon Meriweather, Miami
OT Joe Thomas, Wisconsin (X)
*WR Dwayne Jarrett, Southern California
*RB Marshawn Lynch, California
*CB Antoine Cason, Arizona

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 5:47 am 
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The hype that went into this year's OT class leads me to believe that trying to project the future in terms of drafts is pretty stupid. Particularly with defensive players, guys come out of nowhere in their junior/senior year and can land in the first round. Kerney is a close example. Merriman and Demarcus Ware are two other good examples. Tamba Hali, Brodrick Bunkley, Demeco Ryans, and Bobby Carpenter are good examples of seniors for this draft on defense that had big years and didn't register big blips on draft radars a year ago. If so, they were considered middle round picks at best, not potential Top 20 picks.

I just never put any stock into someone saying, you shouldn't draft at this position, because next year's draft class will be better. Fact is, it usually winds up that only teams in the Top 10 picks can think like that. It's the same thing as saying, go ahead and trade away next year's #1 because you're planning on making a deep playoff run, and missing out on the 27th overall pick is not that big of a deal.

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 Post subject: Hindsight is 20/20
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:33 pm 
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I understand your view Pudge that players can come out of nowhere to impact the draft.Players can increase in value and decrease in value at the same time.However I read on a draft sight that if Alex Smith were in this draft he would not make the top 20 players so instead of looking at next years draft you could make an argument after the draft a year later where a player might fit in. I think this draft is much stronger ,alot more depth than next years even though you will have players come out of the wood work to increase value.

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