Notebook: Never too early to scope next draft's top 10
Notebook: Never too early to scope next draft's top 10
The college football season is winding down and all over the country NFL scouts are going from campus to campus, game to game, rating college players.
The draft might be six months away, but the work has already begun in a big way.
Since it is close to the end of the college football regular season, it's a good time to take a look at the players I feel have a good chance to be taken with the first 10 picks next spring.
Naturally, a quarterback tops the list.
That's Matt Leinart of Southern California. He would have been the first player taken last year had he come out, so why should that change?
Texas quarterback Vince Young is also in the top 10, but some wonder if he can be a quarterback on the next level. The feeling here is that he can.
So enjoy the list, and we promise an update at some point in February before the combine, when we do our top 32.
By then, the scouts I talk to might change my mind on some of these players. Then again, they probably won't.
1. Matt Leinart, QB, USC: If the team with the top pick is looking for a quarterback, this is their guy. Leinart is an accurate passer who has a great command of the offense. He doesn't have a great arm, but it's good enough that he can make all the throws. Plus, he seems unflappable. The fourth-down throw he made to Dwayne Jarrett against Notre Dame was as good as it gets. Leinart will be a big-time NFL passer.
2. Reggie Bush, RB, USC: If the team picking first has a quarterback, Bush might be the choice to go No. 1 barring a trade down. A junior, he's almost surely entering the 2005 draft. Bush is explosive and can change a game with one play. There are some who say he's not big enough to handle the pounding on a regular basis, but he's 6-feet, 205. That's plenty big enough. He will be electrifying in the NFL. Take that to the bank.
3. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, T, Virginia: He is an athletic left tackle who has the feet teams love in their pass protectors. He isn't huge at 6-5, 300 pounds, but he has the frame to gain 20-30 pounds, and that shouldn't hurt his quickness. For a team like the Texans in need of a franchise left tackle, Ferguson would be a great fit.
4. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis: An explosive back who leads the nation in rushing, Williams could have been a first-round pick if he had entered last year's draft as a junior. As it is, he stayed and has played even better. At 5-10, 220 pounds, he is strong and fast.
5. Jimmy Williams, CB, Virginia Tech: At 6-3, 215 pounds, Williams has great size for a corner. He has played safety in the past, so he could move inside, but the value comes outside. He can turn and run with receivers and he will be physical as a tackler. Williams is the top-rated corner in this draft, and those players are usually top 10 picks.
6. Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College:
7. Vince Young, QB, Texas: He is only a junior, but he might be on his way out. The only question about him is where does he play? Can he be another Mike Vick at quarterback, a weapon more than a passer? Or is he destined to play receiver or somewhere else? The team that takes him will give him a long look at quarterback and then go from there. He will be a playmaker, no matter where he plays.
8. Halati Ngata, DT, Oregon: A 6-4, 335-pound junior, he's a dominant player for the Ducks. He is powerful and quick and can attack the quarterback. With teams looking for big bodies inside who can rush the passer, Ngata will be a high pick. He's had a great junior year.
9. Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota: Anybody who has watched Minnesota play this year knows all about Maroney. He has that ability to make tacklers miss -- and look bad in doing so. At 5-11, 205, he isn't a big back, but he plays tough. And he has the home-run speed. This guy will have a big impact as a rookie, much like Cadillac Williams has for Tampa Bay.
10. Mario Williams, DE, North Carolina State: He is 6-7, 280 pounds and can rush the passer. He's much like Julius Peppers, who plays for the Carolina Panthers. Williams is a junior, but he is expected to enter the draft next April. In a league starved for big play pass rushers, he will be a high pick and could go first overall if a team is searching for a pass rusher.
Some other potential high picks: A.J. Hawk, LB, Ohio State; Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame; Mercedes Lewis, TE, UCLA; LenDale White, RB, USC; Marcus McNeil, T, Auburn; Winston Justice, T, USC, Gabe Watson, DT, Michigan; Tye Hill, CB, Clemson; Jon Scott, T, Texas.
Give me Quinn in the late first and a use our early first on BAP.
You're not going to get Quinn but he is a damn good player from what I have seen. I'm really not sure what I think the team should get now with all of the role players that have stepped up. I still think we need better cover safeties and a speed rusher. It seems like the D lineman we have get good penetration but can't get the QB down to the ground when the QB moves around. Kiwi and Darnell Bing would solve that problem. However, I also like the idea of having Ngata plugging up the middle and the prospect of having Derek Hagan or Santonio Holmes as a new toy for Plummer and Kubiak aka Nintendo to play with.
Well I sincerely doubt we will get both Brown and Pryce back next year so we will need to fill that void. Safety is a concern obviously and so is WR with Rod getting older but who knows how long he will be able to tap into that fountain of youth.
I think we will fill one of those voids through FA, but the others will need to fill through the draft.
Denver has made a commitment to Plummer and he will be the QB for at least 2 more years after this one. It doesn't make sense to burn a 1st on Quinn in this draft. He is probably going to stay in school anyway.
I guess Kiwanuka didn't warrant any explanation. ???
In any even, so long as we land Mario Williams, Haloti Ngata, or Mathias Kiwanuka, I'll be content.
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