NFL Draft
NCAA Football
Your Ad Here Firefox 3

last updated: 1/31/06
****

The 9th Annual College Football All-Stars Challenge took place at Dolphins Stadium this week and will be televised Saturday on ESPN. Basically, it features 12 college stars, headlined by Texas quarterback Vince Young, competing in various skill competitions.......We are lucky to have a correspondent give us a recap of the events, which we will feature here on Friday. But for now, just some quick photos and notes.

Vernon Davis -- To no ones surprise, the Maryland tight end has looked the part of the elite athlete. In our opinion, Davis should be a first round pick, but we have been told by insiders that his height could be an issue. He's listed at 6' 3", but if he measures in at 6' 1", or so, at the Combine, that could be a factor in draft, as most top 20 draft picks at tight end are 6' 5" or taller........Dallas Clark of the Colts and Ben Watson of the Patriots were both drafted towards the end of round one and have similar builds to Davis.

Chad Jackson -- Florida Gators junior wideout has looked very sharp this week according to our source in Miami.......Notice in the photo Jackson is catching the ball with his hands? That's a good thing we noticed on tape over and over watching Jackson. He's a hands catcher, not a body catcher, which is a good trait in the NFL.......Jackson told us in Mobile he intends to run a 4.3 40 at the Combine, which he'll need to do, after only averaging 10 yards per catch in 2005.

Brodie Croyle -- As you can tell by this photo, Brody won the distance part of the competition, displaying a nice arm for a shorter quarterback (6' 2"). Keep in mind Carson Palmer and Byron Leftwich have led the NFL'ers in this competition with throws in the early 70 yard area, so Brodie can throw it deep.

*******

Texas Tech’s hard-hitting senior free safety Dwayne Slay wasn’t really on the radar of many NFL scouts coming into this season, but by mid-season 2005, he was. The highly recruited former California junior college star did fairly well in limited playing time in 2004 for Texas Tech (23 tackles; 2 interceptions), but he took his game up several notches in 2005, leading the Red Raiders with 114 tackles and an amazing 8 forced fumbles.

Slay, a fan favorite in Lubbock who played well at the East-West Shrine Game, is a monster against the run and is improving in coverage as well. He possesses excellent athletic ability and really packs a punch at 6’ 3" and 215 pounds, evidenced by the 8 forced fumbles in 2005, which set a Big 12 record for most forced fumbles in a season.

Because Slay is already be out of eligibility, NFL scouts will basically have to determine his worth after just one season as a major college fulltime starter. With that, his workout numbers will likely decide how high he’s drafted. If he does run a sub 4.6 40, as was reported when he come out of junior college, he could be an ideal mid round pick (3rd to 5th round), at the very least.

*******

Former Nebraska safety Daniel Bullocks rasied his draft status at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, now he prepares for the Indianapolis Scouting Combine.

*******

Clemson cornerback Tye Hill, who has been our top rated cornerback for a couple months, had a big week down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl and is getting a lot more attention from NFL teams as a strong first round possibility because of it.

Hill isn’t that big at 5’ 9", 185 pounds, but is a terrific all-around athlete, who hopes to use his track speed to run a sub 4.3 40 at the Scouting Combine. Chicago and Atlanta, both in need of cornerback help, were among the teams that spent a lot of time with Hill in Mobile.

*******

Notre Dame fan site takes a look at 9 of the schools NFL prospects, from rising wide receiver Maurice Stovall, who could be slected on the first day of the draft, to speedy, but often injured wide out Matt Shelton, who's not likely to be drafted.

*******

Texas quarterback Vince Young tosses aside skeptics at College Football All-Star Challenge.

*******

Tennessee looking to draft "best available athlete" at number three overall?

*******

This weekend the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, but back in 2001 America was bracing for arrival of Vince McMahon's brand new Xtreme Football League (XFL) this same week.

****
last updated: 1/30/06
****

Trouble continues to find 2005 draft pick: Cincinnati Bengals rookie wide receiver Chris Henry was arrested on gun charges in a weekend street altercation, authorities said.

*******

Wide receiver Terrell Owens and his agent Drew Rosenhaus are in Denver discussing a potential deal with Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan and owner Pat Bowlen........It's unlikely that the Eagles could get much more than a low draft pick for Owens, but that would suit them fine.

*******

Quarterback Vince Young was back in his Texas Longhorns' No. 10 jersey Monday, competing in a made-for-TV event and wondering whose uniform he'll wear next.

*******

Central Michigan University quarterback Kent Smith has earned an invitation to the National Football League Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, based largely on his performance at the Las Vegas All-American Classic.

Here is revised our Combine invite list.

*******

In a move to create more cap room and move forward with 2005 first round pick Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers are pressuring future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre to retire or commit to returning to the Packers in the next few weeks.

DD.com comment -- Having watched Green Bay so many times in 2005, we simply can't blame the team for wanting to move forward without a quarterback heading into his 16th NFL season. The Packers are really in the midst of a serious rebuilding effort and moving forward with Rogers, who will have the enormous task of following a legend, seems to be the best way to go.

Despite still having tremendous arm strength and a burning desire to excel, Favre's 2005 season was one of sheer frustration, particularly with all the interceptions he threw. But the Packers offense was so depleted by injuries and free agents defections on the interior offensive line, that it was almost an impossible task to lead that team. With that said, Favre would be foolish not to look around the league to see if there is a better fit for him elsewhere, much like Joe Montana did in 1993 when he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs and led them to the AFC title game. Perhaps there is a contending team that can use him in the shortrun?

After Dan Marino was forced out in a similar fashion in 1999 by Miami, he seriously considered offers from the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings, but couldn't accept either, because he never wanted to wear the uniform of a team other than the Miami Dolphins. That is not a problem for Favre, who began his career with the Atlanta Falcons.

*******

The Cincinnati Bengals seem to be focused on adding tight end and safety help early in the upcoming draft.

*******

We’ve been asked several times by readers why we’ve dropped Oklahoma wide receiver Travis Wilson from our top 10 rankings?

That's a good question. Wilson was actually among our top three receivers in the pre-season and early into the 2005 season, but a fairly serious foot injury at the end of the season, coupled with shaky quarterback play for the Sooners early in the season, led to Wilson having a poor senior year (25 rec, 310 yards and 1 TD in 7 games). There is also the lingering question of speed on Wilson’s part, as some have suggested recently he’s more of a possession receiver.

Needless to say, we are looking forward to seeing how the 6' 1", 208 pound Wilson runs at the Combine, after watching him have a solid (not great) week at the Senior Bowl. Honestly, we just want to make sure we aren’t watching a slightly more gifted version of former Purdue star Taylor Stubblefield (not real big or fast), who went undrafted in 2005.

*******

Colorado fullback Lawrence Vickers is a top notch athlete, who was one of Colorado's best players. At the Senior Bowl, he played extremely well and may’ve solidified himself as the top fullback in the class. That’s the good news.

Now the bad news: The fullback position isn't featured prominently in a lot of NFL offenses, so the chances of Vickers being selected before round 4, barring a super showing at the Combine, are remote. Nonetheless, if a team really needs a top line fullback prospect, Vickers is a player to look at. Good blocker and receiver, who can even run the ball a bit. Truly a fantastic college player.

*******

Tulsa tight end Garrett Mills had 1,235 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns during the 2005 season. The "smallish" 6' 1", 225 pound tight end was moved to fullback at the Senior Bowl, and according to several insiders we talked to in Mobile, he really impressed on the field during the week.

ESPN’s Craig James, a former tailback who led the 1985 Patriots to the Super Bowl with a 1,227 yard rushing season, was very impressed with how fast Mills picked up the blocking aspects at fullback and his desire to get better. Mills sort of reminds us of long time NFL player Ernie Conwell, who is about the same size, but will have to display excellent speed in workouts to be drafted as high as Conwell.

Nonetheless, he's a player worth watching going forward and probably projects as a 4th to 6th round pick at this point. Like Vickers, he must face the reality that several NFL teams have phased out the fullback position and just aren’t in the market for one in the draft.

**** ****
last updated: 1/29/06
****

In our opinion, Notre Dame’s Maurice Stovall was one of the bright spots at wide receiver in Mobile, but everyone we talked to brought up the fact that there are questions about his speed. He didn't look like a big yard after the catch receiver to us and his first step isn't that great. He also needs to work on getting off the jam at the line of scrimmage.

Unless Stovall comes out of nowhere and runs a 4.4 something at the Combine or Pro Day, he's going to be seen as a possession red-zone type by NFL scouts, much like Ernest Wilford of the Jacksonville Jaguars. With that being said, Wilford is a tremendous asset for his team and a productive receiver, so Stovall could be an excellent "value pick" in the third round, or so, even if he doesn’t flash a gaudy 40 time in workouts.

*******

Here are some of Pat Kirwan's impressions as we get ready to turn the page on the Senior Bowl part of the evaluation process.

*******

Despite a lackluster performance throwing the ball in the Hula Bowl (4-12, for 58 yards), Missouri's Brad Smith will workout as a quarterback at the NFL's Scouting Combine, according to his agent Mark Bartlstein.

*******

Texas A & M's Boone Stutz went from walk-on to starting tight end and he might even make the NFL as a deep snapper.

*******

Quick glance at Arizona State center Grayling Love, who is hoping to sneak into the second day of the draft.

*******

ESPN Draft expert Mel Kiper believes there is a strong chance Pittsburgh guard Charles Spencer will be a first round draft pick. At the very least, Mel thinks Spencer is a lock second round pick.

Having watched Spencer all week in Mobile, we came away impressed with him and believe he could be a second round pick. Matter of fact, we mentioned in the blog after Pitt played Louisville in early November how we felt Spencer was a fine prospect, playing out of position at tackle, so we've liked him for a while.

However, we just do not foresee a scenario were Spencer will be a first round pick, at this point. It's fairly rare for more than one guard to be selected in the first frame of any draft and we really believe Georgia's Max Jean-Gilles is the best guard out there, with the best shot to be the only guard picked in round one.

*******

Indiana defensive end Victor Adeyanju quietly impressed during the week of practice in Mobile. We don't expect him to be selected on the first day of draft, barring amazing workouts at the Combine, but he could be a very solid Day 2 selection, who can help add depth to a defensive line.

*******

Penn State defensive end Tamba Hali showed an explosive first step during the times we watched him practice in Mobile and he continued doing that in the game, recording 2 sacks and winning the defensive MVP for the North squad yesterday.....The Kansas City Chiefs were among the teams paying the most attention to Hali during the week of practice.

*******

Georgia Tech linebacker Gerris Wilkinson, a former defensive end for the Jackets, had an impressive week in Mobile and fared well in the game, winning the defensive MVP award for the South squad.......With solid workouts, we believe the 6' 3", 235 pound Wilkinson can sneak into the first day of the draft. While in Mobile, we noticed that the Cincinnati Bengals seemed to really be paying a lot of attention to him.

*******

In an attempt to sell more tickets, the folks running the Senior Bowl seemed to be eager to add as many Auburn and Alabama players to the South roster as they could. One beneficiary of this tact may've been Crimson Tide defensive Mark Anderson, who had a solid week of practice in Mobile and had a big sack in the game.

Anderson is great at chasing down opposing quarterbacks, but the knock against him is he's not a great run-stopper and a little small for a defensive end at 6' 4" and 256 pounds......We are currently projecting him as a solid 4th round pick, with a chance to move higher in workouts.

*******

Recap of yesterday's Senior Bowl, which turned into a 31-14 North blowout mostly due to a pair of muffed South punts (Skyler Green and Jerious Norwood) that led directly to 14 North points....Game Stats.

****
last updated: 1/28/06
****

Some random, but very pertinent, observations of some the top performers in today's Senior Bowl from site contributor Doug C:

Georgia offensive guard Max Jean-Gilles is lightning fast for a man his size. I didn't watch a lot of SEC football this season, so I didn't get to see him play much and I'm extremely impressed. He's one of the best guards to come out for the draft in the past few years.

Running back Cedric Humes of Virginia Tech looked good today in Mobile, but when you watch backs like him run you really can see how much better prospects DeAngelo Williams and Reggie Bush are. Humes finds the holes well and does a good job of getting low, but isn't very good at making tacklers miss in the open field and cutting back. There were a few runs that Humes had that I'm convinced Bush would have taken it to the house if it had been him with the ball.

Running back DeAngelo Williams of Memphis really seems like a class act and just looks like he's having fun out there, judging by his sideline interview and the way he conducts himself on the field. Very relaxed player who's confident in his abilities and also respects his opponents. He could really be something special at the next level, despite being only 5‘ 8".

Outside linebacker Thomas Howard out of UTEP dropped at least three balls that should have been interceptions, lending credence to the idea he might be a better athlete than player at this point.

Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst looked very good, but I think it's going to take a few seasons for him to get acclimated to the NFL for this reason: A lot of the throws he made would never have gone through the defenders in the NFL. He's going to have to adjust to where he puts the ball. But he's a calm quarterback who stands tall in the pocket, and has the tools to be a good quarterback. In my opinion, it's going to take patience by whatever team drafts him.

I was very impressed with Alabama’s Brodie Croyle. For his sake I hope his knee withstands all the probing from team trainers at the Combine. He's a good quarterback and, more specifically, he’s a tremendous team leader, who is able to rally his teammates around him as soon as he steps onto the field.

Miami wide receiver Sinorice Moss can be really special for the right team. He reminds me a lot of Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers in terms of his speed and ability to go deep on one play and then take the end-around on the next. He's not going to be a possession receiver, but if used the right way he's going to be a significant threat for the right offense.

Auburn offensive tackle Marcus McNeil's catch was the coolest play of the day. The funny part about it was that he switched the ball to his outside arm and tucked it in, as he was really ready to try and go for the big play there. Got to love it when the big boys get the ball, it's always entertaining.

Washington State running back Jerome Harrison is the most underrated running back prospect in this draft, in my opinion. Basically he's a poor man's Reggie Bush, as there is nothing he's not able to do on the field and has big-time versatility. Someone is going to get a steal with this kid in the latter part of the 2nd round or early in the 3rd.

Texas defensive back Cedrick Griffin was very impressive, particularly in coverage today. He's deceptively quick on the field and might have been the smartest player on defense today. He’s projects as either a safety or cornerback at the next level. Made a spectacular interception in the first quarter.

*******

Closer look at Texas El-Paso linebacker Thomas Howard, who is perhaps the most sought-after UTEP player in history.

DD.com comment: Howard did a great job during the week of practice, particularly flashing his physical skills in drills. Our man in Mobile noticed, however, he might be more of a "workout warrior" than an instinctive linebacker, at this point, which makes him a bit of a first round risk. He also mentioned Howard might even project as a strong safety on the next level due to his superior speed and quickness.

*******

Another closeup look at Momouth wide receiver Miles Austin, who is heading to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

*******

As we reported, the gossip around Mobile earlier in the week was that Stanford defensive end Julian Jenkins would be added to the North squad. The Fresno Bee is confirming that Jenkins is on the North roster and will wear #92 in the game today.

*******

If quarterback Brodie Croyle is drafted by the New York Jets, wouldn't it be a kick if Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath agreed to let him use #12?

We don't remember Namath in his prime, but per the photos, the facial resemblance between Croyle and a young Namath are simply striking -- Croyle in Mobile this week -- A younger Namath.

If Namath, who only has two daughters in their teens, had a son, it would be hard to imagine he could look more like Joe than Brodie does. But the similarities don't stop there, as Croyle and Namath both attended the same college and wore the same number. Both had to deal with significant knee injuries early on in their careers. Also, both flashed great quarterback skills early on as kids, which made them prime college recruits.

That said, Croyle isn't as highly regarded as Joe Willy was back in the day -- top college prospect in the eyes of the AFL and NFL in 1965. But with a solid week in Mobile, he's probably elevated himself to a solid 2nd or 3rd round pick.

*******

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper is currently projecting Penn State quarterback Michael Robinson as a 7th round draft pick, at best. Mel feels Robinson does not project as a quarterback at the next level, but believes the 220 pounder may be able to play safety in the NFL, due to his size, athletic ability and toughness.

*******

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper is currently projecting 5' 7", University of Miami wide receiver Sinorice Moss as a second round draft pick, based on his speed and special teams potential.

*******

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper is a big fan of Southern California guard Duece Latui, who's done a nice job in Mobile. Kiper has said Latui is a solid 2nd round possibility, with an outside shot at being selected in the latter part of round.

*******

Despite the fact that the Cincinnati Bengals have solid young talent at the linebacker position, we noticed the team eye-balling several defensive end/linebacker hybrids that could fit into a 3-4 scheme, which is the base defense head coach Marvin Lewis used to gain fame as a defensive coordinator in Baltimore.

*******

After such a strong week in Mobile, despite measuring in at 5' 8", some believe Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams has a legitimate chance at being top 10 pick, with the Arizona Cardinals a strong possibility at number 10 overall.

*******

Nebraska safety Daniel Bullocks had a great week in Mobile, no doubt raising his draft stock. A number of teams are in the market for safety help, including the Bengals, 49ers, Chargers, Cowboys and Giants, so Bullocks solid week could make him a hot commodity in the 2nd or 3rd round, if he also displays solid speed in pre-draft workouts.

*******
last updated: 1/27/06
*****

With free agency right around the corner, Patriots.com breaks down the teams' unrestricted free agents.

*******

Former University of Colorado wide receiver Jeremy Bloom looking forward to the NFL Combine right after he attempts to win a Olympic gold medal in Turin.

Gary Wichard: "I represent a lot of players and, by far, I've got more people coming up to me asking me what's going on with Jeremy than anyone else"......."He's an explosive playmaker, that's what people want in the NFL."

*******

Agent for Texas quarterback Vince Young says his client will throw at the upcoming NFL Combine, but won't lift or run for scouts.

*******

Some insider info from longtime DD.com friend Tony Pauline, who we finally got to meet face to face this week. As he told us personally in Mobile, he is very high on Oregon wide receiver Demetrius Williams.

****

Fixed Link: Defensive end Tyler King of the Arizona Cardinals, one of our highest rated undrafted players in 2005, was the #1 pick in NFL Europe Allocation Draft today.

****

Offensive linemen on Patriots' shopping list, despite using several day one picks on lineman in 2005.

****

Senior Bowl quarterbacks, including Penn State's Michael Robinson, hope for NFL's Attention in Mobile.

****

Pat Kirwan of nfl.com say there are a number of "other" players -- non super-stars -- who have caught his eye this week in Mobile.

****

Rising, young wide receiver James Hardy will not play basketball for Indiana this season, which might be an indication he's looking forward to an NFL career.

****

Auburn Tiger offensive tackle Marcus McNeill hoping to prove to doubters he's an impact player, worthy of a high draft pick.

****

If Chad Greenway is still hanging around at number 14, the linebacker from Iowa could be drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.

****

Closer look at South Florida RB Andre Hall, who is projected as a mid-round pick.

****

NFL Europe allocations are in, and a number of players we featured at DD.com prior to the 2004 and 2005 drafts are on the allocation list.

****

Offensive players that need a big game to leave a favorable impression at the Senior Bowl:

QB Darrell Hackney ~ UAB -- Hackney has a plus NFL arm, but his lack of accuracy continues to be a huge problem. Also, he measured in at 5' 11", which is way too short for a pocket quarterback in the minds of some scouts. Will need a big game to sooth some doubts.

WR Derek Hagan ~ Arizona State -- Upon talking to our man down in Mobile, a great deal of the conversation revolved around the need for us to re-arrange our wide receiver rankings after this week....Hagan has been our top wideout in the Senior class since he ran a 4.45 40 at ASU 's 2005 Pro Day, but he has struggled mightily in Mobile at times. Could redeem himself with a good game and a solid 40 time at the Combine, however.

WR Jason Avant ~ Michigan -- Another wide receiver that has struggled catching the ball. Avant is not considered a real fast receiver, so dropping the ball too much is not a good way to impress scouts....Avant has talent, so we can't let one tough week totally cloud our opinions.

OC Ryan Cook ~ New Mexico -- Our man in Mobile, a former D-3 lineman, just hasn't been impressed with some of the interior lineman in Mobile and Cook is one of the players he pointed out several times in phone conversations. He said he was a decent player, who would probably get a shot in the NFL, but he wasn't real impressed.....Our man in Mobile said Mike Degory of Florida and Marvin Phillip of Cal have also looked sluggish at times, so all three need to have a big game to impress.

****

Scout.com is reporting Boston College star Mathias Kiwanuka is questionable for the actual Senior Bowl game after he was forced to leave the field Wednesday with a shoulder injury. While Kiwanuka did come back and finish that session, he was held out of Thursday workout and will undergo X-rays to determine if there is possible ligament damage to his shoulder. If the X-rays are negative, Kiwanuka will play on Saturday; otherwise, he will not.

****

New Texans head coach Gary Kubiak seems to be a big fan of David Carr, which means local hero Vince Young of Texas may not be on Houston's radar.

DD.com Note: Klint Kubiak, son of Gary, impressed us last season while watching Colorado State. He didn't get a lot of playing time, but he was only a 18 year old true freshman.......Don't let the baby face fool you, Kubiak can hit. Definitely a player to watch down the line.

****

The San Francisco 49ers doing some linebacker shopping at Senior Bowl, with fast rising Manny Lawson being a possibility.

****

Memphis RB DeAngelo Williams got an early - but not unexpected - potential setback when NFL teams found out he's only 5-foot-8 at the weigh-in on Monday...."size isn't anything." Williams has tried to go about proving that in practices.

****

In an apparent philosophical shift, the Jets are seriously considering drafting Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler in the first round should they trade down from the fourth pick overall.

****

Teams held their final workout in pads ahead of the game.......Scouts have identified Clemson cornerback Tye Hill and Virginia Tech offensive lineman D’Brickshaw Ferguson as two of the North’s standout performers during the week, with Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle and receiver Sinorice Moss impressing for the South.

****
last updated: 1/25/06
****

Scout.com reports former South Carolina/Grambling defensive end Moe Thompson, who was embroiled in legal problems during the entire 2005 season and didn’t play, was on hand at the Senior Bowl, announcing he will not return to school and will opt for the draft.

Thompson expects the league to grant him a special exemption. He is also expecting an invitation to NFL’s Scouting Combine and hopes to run the 40 yard dash at the RCA Dome in 4.6 seconds.......Thompson was a top tight end recruit coming out of high school, who flashed decent skills on defense for South Carolina before his off-field problams hit.

****

LB Demeco Ryans put RB Andre Hall on the deck yesterday in a very "whoa" moment in the stadium - didn't wrap up or go low, just cleanly decked him. Ryan is a hitter that loves to put people down and is taking full advantage of the small gray area between "pop" practice and "full speed" - let's be real coaches and scouts love that crap. Violent! The hype on that guy is real.

Memphis PK Stephen Gostkowski was getting a lot of careful observations from CHI staff. He has an interesting technique can kick it straight ahead old-school style and he can hit with that from 40+ - but most of the time he uses soccer style. Again his long kicks yesterday (57,57, 56) were wind aided - he is not super accurate but will probably draw a paycheck on the next level due to simple positional scarcity.

****

Scout.com reports New York Jets GM Terry Bradway was speaking with a coach from Hofstra yesterday. The meeting may be a little more then coincidental, as Hofstra has wide receiver Marques Colston one of the quick risers of draft standing in the last week. Also the Pride boast under-radar but good offensive guard Willie Colon, and guard is a position of need for New York.

****

Scout.com reports all the scouts they have spoken to in Mobile agree that Auburn wide receiver Anthony Mix projects to tight end in the NFL.

****

Florida State defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley looks thick and mean but didn't practice yesterday due to a minor injury. If you consider he's probably more highly regarded at this point than Darnell Dockett in 2004, but less highly regarded than Tank Johnson in 2005, he's probably on the cusp of round one and two. It's not real "likely" he’ll make it into the first round, but it also wouldn't totally shock us if he did. NFL GM's love prospects that look, act and play like Bunkley - his talent and motor are not in question - he's just got to deal with the other 45 prospects with first round grades this year.

****

North Carolina State defensive end Manny Lawson is having a great week of practice. He picked off a screen pass yesterday, displaying great speed and quickness in the process. Lawson is extremely fast and scouts love that he used to be a sprinter. Reportedly possesses a 45” vertical leap, which is off the charts for a defensive lineman. As a track star for North Carolina State, he has long-jumped 24 feet (second in the ACC) and triple-jumped 41 feet

Despite the fact that some teams like him as a defensive end and others like him as a linebacker, he's not going to make it out of the first round if he keeps flashing his skills at this rate. Also, we talked with Lawson at length this week and he‘s very outgoing and likeable, so we expect him to ace any interview with NFL executives.

****

Clemson cornerback Tye Hill has displayed his sprinter's speed and ball skills all week in Mobile. That’s pretty much the package GM's look for. He’s our top rated cornerback right now pending workouts. Even though Hill is only 5’ 9” and 185 pounds, he’s very strong and has a tremendous vertical leap, which should help him against bigger receivers at the next level.

****

Boise State offensive tackle Daryn Colledge is 6'4 and 295, which isn't quite as big as some of the other tackles in Mobile, but he is smart and plays a premium position. Better than even money he is still on the board when the second round begins, which would make him a nice “value pick” for any team that takes him in that round.

****

Breaking News Report: District Attorney Jerry Jones has announced he has dismissed felony drug charges against LSU defensive tackle Claude Wroten Jr.

****

Auburn CB David Irons gets another season of eligibility.......Irons said he was told he would have been selected in the second or third round in the draft, had he declared early.

****

Valdosta State (D-2) offensive tackle Richard Collier All-Star performance really impressed Chicago (NFC) scouts and others.

****

Vanderbilt QB Jay Cutler talks about meeting the Miami Dolphins

*****
last updated: 1/24/06
********

DD.com Photos from South Tuesday:

McNeil and Scott
Croyle
Toeaina, Winston, McNeil
Ryans and Roach
T Jennings DB Drills
Minter
McNeil versus Lawson
Elvis versus Winston
Williams versus Jean-Gilles
11-on-11 group 1
11-on-11 group 2

******

SENIOR BOWL SOUTH PRACTICE NOTEBOOK (Tues)

Watching the South, there are certain players that initially stand out as covering alot of ground. In the defensive backfield #22 Kelly Jennings and #6 Cedric Griffin both had serious wheels and showed above average recovery speed in passing drills.

From the LB corp, #40 Thomas Howard looked very quick indeed. Great in agility drills when he's not overthinking - can shuck blockers, if they catch up to him... Takes instruction well and definately looks the part. A lump of clay ready for NFL coaches to mold and one could tell when at the end of the practice he was surrounded by the following teams: Redskins, Bucs, Steelers, Jets, Giants, Dolphins and those are just the ones I saw on the field... I'd bet dollars to donuts there are teams swarming him at the hotel as well. Coming from UTEP he's a bit of an unknown quantity compared to these other well known players, that coupled with the speed factor make him an interesting prospect for many. Stock watch: late first/early second on our board.

Another player who can flat out book is #94 Kamerion Wimbley. Aggressive in drills, slightly faster than others at the position (and it's a stacked group overall). Had several "sacks" in 11-on-11 (not real sacks as not only are QB's contact free but the players are instructed to let the QB's throw the football so that WR/DB get reps). His obvious football speed coupled with his buff appearance at the weigh-in has to give his stock a healthy boost.

#20 Deangelo Williams has been putting on a clinic in Mobile. Today he was doing the jitterbug all over the field and it's a pleasure to watch. His anticipation, vision and ability to find odd cutback angles are uncanny - and he's not doing this against bums - he's making very good defenders grab air with consistency. The fact that he measured in a couple inches short is not really an issue, at least it's not one for me. He's an elite talent and solidly so.

Another RB who had a good day was LSU's #10 Joseph Addai. He's not as flashy as Williams but shifty, quick and fast. He has a great bounce to the outside to get the corner and he also can work north/south up the field. Stock rising and he's shaping up to be a great value pick for someone.

The rock-star of the South practices is clearly #12 Brodie Croyle, who had a relatively decent day, looking sharp on out passes and a quick delivery. His height isn't optimal but that didn't stop Belichick and his phalanx of assistants from forcing their way through the media circus to spend a good 10 minutes talking with Croyle. One can't read these guys too closely but they seemed to be genuinely interested and impressed. Perhaps it's a smokescreen but also it's possible the Patriots want to address their backup QB situation and light a new fire under Tom Brady all with the same move.

#42 Spencer Havner ran high in agility drills but proved much more comfortable in game situations. It has been said he is a two down backer, I don't believe this to be true based on his performance in coverage. Not in the same class as Greenway and Hawk but can be had at a far smaller cost, which may make him a better value if he lives up to potential.

#35 Demeco Ryans has been having a good week and exhibited plus body control, acceleration and change of direction. Pending workouts a polished and legit player who's stock is hovering mid to late first round/early second.

From the defensive line, #47 Mark Anderson was explosive in drills and showed a nice first step in pass rush. #52 Broderick Bunkley is a wide load who can move well down the line in pursuit, has a high motor and can stuff plays before they build momentum. Both of these players have what can be described as a nasty temperment on the field, and at various times this was praised by the 49er's coaching staff (who runs the South practices).

During 1-on-1's #74 Eric Winston was efficient, agile and quick. Had a low center of gravity and quality technique. All told possibly the second best OT in Mobile. Was given attention by Chargers and Jets after practice.

#77 Max Jean-Gilles can get pulled off balance but can recover and rarely was beat outright. Had some serious battles with Bunkley and I would call the Heavyweight slugfest a draw. Extremely strong and as advertised, a physical marvel in the mold of Cowboys great Larry Allen, but missed his blocking assignment once during 7-on-7's.

#71 Jon Scott was seen at RT, LT and longsnapping for punts and his versatility has to be a plus with scouts and coaches. He is nimble enough to run with the South's quickest defenders in pass protection and strong enough to push unwitting LB's practically into the second row. Although Wimbley beat him once, most of the time got the better of his opposing number.

#73 Marcus McNeil had some battles with #91 Manny Lawson during 1-on-1's and the results were mixed. One rep Lawson got McNeil off balance and beat him handily, the next, McNeil engulfed Lawson and buried him in the turf. Overall both players had good days and show alot of upside. McNeil isn't the most agile OT on the field but does well enough to get by on reaches and pulls, but on the other hand is an absolute monster at the point of attack. Lawson drew attention from Chiefs, Panthers, Chargers and Bears after the session.

Word around the campfire, the Bowl might be bringing in another player: DE Julian Jenkins from Stanford. We will know more tomorrow and will be able to confirm or deny this rumor at that time.

#21 Julius Norwood has very soft hands, good burst and was featured as a punt returner during special teams practice. Has quickness and that extra playmaking gear that scouts love. Another real burner at PR is #83 Sinorice Moss, who had a relatively positive week so far. He's not huge but that wasn't exactly a secret going into the week. Not a first round pick, but still will have a legit shot to carve out a niche at the next level.

*****

SENIOR BOWL NORTH PRACTICE NOTEBOOK (Tues)

The North morning practice kicked off with RB/LB blitz pickup drills. #18 Chad Greenway made his mark early with a helmet-removing hit on #38 Terrence Whitehead that had the relatively full stadium buzzing. It's hard to use the word "smooth" when describing an athlete with as much violence surrounding him as Greenway but make no mistake, this player is smooth.

Another player who turned heads in the drill was #27 Brian Iwuh. Later in the day, was excellent breaking up a screen and covering RB's out of the backfield in general. I had him pegged as a possible safety convert after Monday but if he keeps it up he will convince someone he can be a backer at the next level.

Generally we try to keep it positive but the sub-par nature of the North WR play cannot be glossed over. Without naming names several highly regarded athletes couldn't catch a cold today. Again the best hands were displayed by the TE, #85 Klopfenstein (who caught another long gainer) and #86 Byrd (who was very consistent).

#77 Davin Joseph had a bounce-back practice after Monday, creating huge holes in 7-on-7 and holding his own against the rush. He showed patience and balance handling good spin and rip moves.

#91 Tamba Hali, #94 Mathias Kiwanuka and #78 Gabe Watson were very stout against the run, especially in pursuit down the line. All three players had multiple tackles for loss and displayed above average quickness and agility for their respective positions.

It should be noted that besides the obvious Cutler hoopla, Watson has done the most to help his draft stock out of all the participants this week so far. In 2003, current Viking DT Kevin Williams came out of nowhere to have a great week and turn his 3rd round stock into a high first round stock. Watson isn't having quite as good a week, but then again he isn't exactly coming from "out of nowhere." Early to mid first round to a team in dire need of a 2 gap NT seems more realistic with every day that passes.

#72 Jeremy Trueblood has been working at RT and even there can be beaten when smaller players (and everyone is smaller than Trueblood) get into his body. He doesn't have great leverage or balance and can get pushed back or pulled forward. Also jumped false start on several occasions. Still a first day pick based on all the other things he does well but not likely first rounder.

#14 Daniel Bullocks and #4 Jamille Addae both had pretty interceptions, both against #6 Charlie Whitehurst, whose below average delivery speed seems to have become a liability as the week wears on.

#56 Charles Spencer had a top-notch session, defeating all matchups in one-on-ones and recording 2 pancakes. He has a high motor and great handplay.

Last but not least, #66 D'Brickashaw Ferguson looked very good, showing consistant improvement with coaching. After he was beat by #94 during 1 on 1's, took some instruction, came back and pancaked Kiwi - it was extremely impressive. Dominated run blocking in 7 on 7's opening up huge holes for the not-so-sweet North RB's. Looking at Brick the word that comes to mind (if it is a real word) is "rangey" - he's long and has fantastic lateral agility - sidesteps extremely well in pass protection.

Fans have e-mailed wondering how Brick can be having such a great week of practice if all they read about here on Draft Daddy is how he gets beat by Kiwi. The bottom line here is that Kiwi is a top notch prospect (elite!) in his own right - possibly the toughest DE assignment D'Brick has had in his entire career to date. He is a complete pass rushing dynamo.

Some respected draft voices have said Kiwi lacks an inside move but this is flat out inaccurate; in fact his single triumph in one on one against Brick came on a nasty inside rip. Yesterday I saw Brick talking to Trueblood, presumably to try and get some scouting on Jeremy's close friend Kiwi. By Brick's rueful smile it didn't look like True was giving up much in terms of useful info.

At this point, while he is far from perfect he has solidified his position as the best tackle in Mobile and top five pick seems assured. The way Titans coaching staff (who run the North practices) are fawning over him, it would not surprise us at all if he went higher than projected and cracked the top three.

****

We spoke at length with Florida junior wide receiver Chad Jackson today and he promised us he is going to run a 4.3 40 at the NFL's Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. If he can pull this off he has enough upside to be the first WR off the board.

*******

Bucking conventional wisdom, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper is currently projecting Miami offensive tackle Eric Winston as a possible 3rd to 4th round pick, based on his slow return from a serious 2004 knee injury.

*******

Mel Kiper stated Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway has been so impressive in Mobile so far this week, that he believes the linebacker hungry San Francisco 49ers may select him with the 7th overall pick.

*******

Mel Kiper said Memphis running DeAngelo Williams should still be the second running back selected in the upcoming draft, despite measuring in at only 5’ 8" yesterday. Williams had been listed at 5’ 10" during his college career.

*******

DD.com Photos from North Tuesday:

Demetrius Williams
Greenway in LB Drills
Tye Hill jamming Avant
Kiwi versus Brick
Dusty versus Setterstrom
11-on-11 group 1
11-on-11 group 2
Greenway no helmet
Belichick and Saban
A Phillips versus Avant (punt)

*****

SENIOR BOWL NORTH PRACTICE NOTEBOOK (Tues)

Today the last shall be first as we want to present a really quick update on who the teams were talking to after practice:

Several members of the NY Jets staff were seen bee-lining it to the crowd gathering around #6 Jay Cutler, who had another sharp, crisp practice and is defining himself as the star of the North. KC Chiefs were also paying attention.

#85 Joe Klopfenstein (who has been longsnapping for punts) - Bears
#73 Daryn Colledge - Falcons, Browns
#76 Duece Latui - KC Chiefs
#18 Chad Greenway (another great practice) - NY Giants
#52 D'Qwell Jackson - Steelers
#80 Jason Avant - Panthers
#56 Charles Spencer (very good in 1 on 1's) - Browns
#78 Gabe Watson (draft stock soaring) - Dolphins, Chiefs, and Dallas
#95 Victor Adeyanju - Browns
#2 Demetrius Williams - several Panthers and NO Saints

Check back during the afternoon for breakdown of "actual football" observations.

*****

One day after arriving in Mobile, we have already seen what we expected from the wide receivers, which isn’t a lot. After watching recent Biletnikoff Award winner Mike Hass (90 rec, 1,532 yards and 6 TD's) from Oregon State light up defensive backs at the East-West Game Saturday (4 receptions, 107 yards and the game winning TD), we are left to wonder why the organizers of the Senior Bowl are so insistent on keeping him out the game, despite repeated pleas to add him to the roster?

Rumor is the Senior Bowl is unimpressed with Hass’ estimated speed. This has prompted Senior Bowl spokesman Vic Knight to constantly claim "Awards are not a basis for our invitations." However, the Senior Bowl recently added Oregon wide receiver Demetrius Williams, who is just about the same size as Hass and has consistently clocked in the mid 4.6’s in college. That’s not to say Williams isn’t a worthy player, because he is. Nonetheless, if size and speed isn’t a huge factor for Williams, why is it a factor for the more productive Hass?

*******

Native New Yorker D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the left tackle from Virginia, is at the Senior Bowl this week to remove all doubt about who the New York Jets will choose with pick No. 4 -- and maybe even shake up that top three......."I'm really just trying to do the best I can and let the external factors take care of themselves. I've spoken to several teams here and I've talked a lot to the Jets."

DD.com comment: The Jets have been all over Ferguson this week in Mobile. Is this a smokescreen, or do the Jets really covet Ferguson?

*******

At this week's Senior Bowl, Georgia quarterback D.J Shockley is being asked to prove himself again.

*******

Mike Mayock, NFL Network, Day 1 Senior Bowl Practice Standouts:

QB Jay Cutler ~ Vanderbilt

OT D'Brickshaw Ferguson ~ Virginia

CB Ty Hill ~ Clemson

WR Maurice Stovall ~ Notre Dame

CB Anwar Phillips ~ Penn State

DD.com comment: Much of Mayock's Day 1 stars correspond with the Day 1 stars our publisher/chief scout saw in Mobile yesterday.

Just a little story: Our man in Mobile played offensive line at the small school level in college. Upon arriving at the Senior Bowl, he ran into one of his former college teammates that has become a fulltime scout for a Division winning NFC team.

Needless to say, our man had the same credentials that paid NFL scout had leaving college, he just pursued a different path. We believe in our man's ability to scout players. He's particularly adept at judging offensive and defensive lineman, which are hardest positions for the average fan to judge, as these players usually toil in anonymity, unless they get a penalty or record a sack.

****
last updated: 1/23/06
******

DD.com Photos from North Monday:

Whitehurst and Cutler warmup
Players warming up
Cutler and Bell
7-on-7 group 1
7-on-7 group 2
Stovall vs Hunter
Blackmon and Phillips
11-on-11

*********

SENIOR BOWL NORTH PRACTICE NOTEBOOK (Mon part II)

We talked about the dueling #6's in our last part, now let's talk about the dueling #1's.

#1 CB Anwar Phillips had a great practice, turning alot of heads. He was in on several pass breakups - fast, has a nice break on the ball and smooth hands in drills.

#1 Will Blackmon was sticky in bump and run, showed good quickness and had he been lining up at WR, might have been the North squad's best at that position.

The North WR corp overall was pretty sub-par with some ugly drops throughout the session, the best potentially being #21 Maurice Stovall, who showed good hands, body control and nice route running.

During passing drills #8 Tye Hill had an acrobatic one-handed INT in the end zone that turned plenty of heads. Definately the best coverage CB on the squad - he showed great body positioning, ball skills and showed off his sprinter speed on several occasions.


The linebackers and safeties were thrown together for backfield coverage drills and out of the group, #18 Chad Greenway distinguished himself as the most talented in pass coverage, even among the North safeties. Greenway was absolutely mugging people in passing drills, but within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage. Very active in run support, shucking blocks to get to the ball carrier. Talking to him and watching him interact, Greenway strikes one as a real throwback player who just loves to play. Even if his stock rose to the point where he didn't have to play this week, it's questionable whether he'd pull out of the game - just because he seems to enjoy it so much.

More from RB/TE/S/LB coverage drill: #52 D'Qwell Jackson also had several good reps, breaking up the pass and exhibiting his sideline-to-sideline range. The best coverage safety on the North might not be playing safety yet - #27 Brian Iwuh - running with the linebackers, for now.

#86 Dominque Bryd may have the best hands on the squad, catching balls that were outside, low, behind - and making it look easy. #85 Joe Klopfenstein also had a very efficient day and seemed more fast than quick - a quality north/south runner after the catch.

While the D'Brick/Kiwi main event got all the headlines, the undercard was just as exciting: #55 Nick Mangold vs. #99 Dusty Dvoracek. These guys were going all out and the results were spectacular. There were no decisions it was all about going for the knockout.

In one particular series, Mangold got beat for a sack with a nifty swim move, but during the next rep rebounded to pancake Dusty. It went back and forth like this all day. Both players went all out, proved alot and, at this rate, won't make it past the end of the first day.

Other standouts from the OL/DL drills were #73 Daryn Colledge, who had a nice kick out block in 11-on-11's and #91 Tamba Hali who showed explosive first step. Both beat their opposing number with regularity.

******

SENIOR BOWL NORTH PRACTICE NOTEBOOK (Mon part I)

#6 QB Jay Cutler is a legit game manager with upside. Had more than enough arm on the 15-20 yard outs and a smooth deep ball. Delivered short and intermediate dump/swings with accuracy. Not alot of wasted motion. Footwork good. Threaded the needle to Klofenstein on a 25 yard go during 11-on-11's. No real bad mistakes - a very nice practice. Carries himself well and when he walks in the room everyone knows he's there - charisma.

Not to be outdone, the other #6 Charlie Whitehurst looked good as well. A shrewd GM might be thinking Cutler's nice but why not take Whitehurst two rounds later? Similar players today, both efficient and looked the part of a pro QB.

#12 Michael Robinson wasn't really in the same class as a passer as the other North QB's. The question is not if, but when he takes reps at WR. It would be in his interest to take some in Mobile to show the pro's his versatility.

#66 D'Brickashaw Ferguson was good to very good: Multiple false starts (not uncommon among both sides of the line, the players were amped up) Had some real battles with #96 Mathias Kiwanuka, who has a blinding quick first step.

Best practice overall? In my eyes was DT #78 Gabe Watson. The knock on this player is he's lazy - well he certainly did not look lazy, threw himself into everything 100% - even stretches. At least 3 tackles for loss or just "breaking up the play" against the run in 11 on 11's. A monster during 1 on 1 pass rush drills (at least 2 genuine "sacks") utilizing bull, push pull and rip techniques. Surprisingly flexible and fast.

More to come as we break down the notes and the night continues...

*******

DD.com Senior Bowl news: Tennessee cornerback/free safety Jason Allen, who injured his hip midway through the 2005 season, is walking around at the Senior Bowl in Mobile with press credentials (like the players playing in the game) and seems to be in a good frame of mind and almost fully healed from his unfortunate injury, which some considered real serious at the time it occurred.

It’s doubtful that Allen will play or practice at the Senior Bowl this week, but he’s seems to be on the fast-track towards being fully recovered, which is good news for teams that need help in the secondary.

Archive Note: Please check our January 10th blog notes for insider info on Jason Allen.

*******

DD.com SENIOR BOWL news: WEIGH-IN

The League is takes precautions that the recorded hand/arm lists are not distributed to agents, hence we cannot post the entire list. However here are some general observations, highlights and lowlights:

Tallest player: OL Jeremy Truebloood, Boston College - 6'7 & 3/4"
Shortest player: TIE - WR Sinorice Moss, Miami, CB Tim Jennings, Georgia - both 5'7 & 3/4"
Heaviest player: OL Max Jean Gilles, Georgia - 358 lbs
Lightest player: CB David Pittman, Northwestern St (LA) - 177 lbs
Largest hands: OL Davin Joseph, Oklahoma - 11 & 1/4"
Largest arms: OL D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Virginia - 36 & 1/4"

Players that aced the eyeball test:

NORTH:

WR Jason Avant - Michigan
WR Maurice Stovall - Notre Dame
LB D'Qwell Jackson - Maryland
DE Mathias Kiwanuka - Boston College
S Anthony Smith - Syracuse

SOUTH:

RB Joseph Addai - LSU
RB Deangelo Williams - Memphis
WR Sinorice Moss - Miami
DE/OLB Manny Lawson - NC State
DE Kamerion Wimbley - Florida State
DB Pat Watkins - Florida State
LB Demeco Ryans - Alabama

Players that had difference between listed and real measurements:


NORTH:

QB Michael Robinson, Penn State: listed 6'2" was 6'1"
RB Mike Bell, Arizona: listed 6'1" was 6 feet even
WR Jason Avant, Michigan: listed 6'2" was 6'0 & 1/4"
OL Marvin Phillip, Cal: listed 6'2" 298 was 6'1" 307
OL Ryan O'Callahan, Cal: listed 363 was 347
OL Deuce Lutui, USC: listed 6'5" 375 was 6'3" 338
OL Davin Joseph, Oklahoma: listed 6'4" was 6'2"
DE Darryl Tapp, Virginia Tech: listed 6'2" was 6'1"
LB Chad Greenway, Iowa: listed 6'3" was 6'2"
LB Jon Alston, Stanford: listed 6'1" was 6 feet even
LB Abdul Hodge, Iowa: listed 6'1" was 5'11 &1/2"
LB D'Qwell Jackson, Maryland: listed 6'1" was 6 feet even
S Jamille Addae, West Virginia: listed 5'11" was 5'9 & 3/4"

SOUTH:

QB Brodie Croyle, Alabama: listed 6'3" was 6'2"
QB Darrell Hackney, UAB: listed 6'1" was 5'11"
RB Deangelo Williams, Memphis: listed 5'10" was 5'8 & 1/2
WR Ben Obomanu, Auburn: listed 6'1" was 6'0"
DT Jesse Mahelona, Tennessee: listed 6'2" was 6 feet even
DT Kyle Williams, LSU: listed 6'2" was 6'1"
DE Elvis Dumervil, Louisville: listed 6'0" was 5'11"
CB Cedric Griffin, Texas: listed 6'1" was 6 feet even
S Greg Blue, Georgia: listed 210 was 220

(NOTE: only differences of 1 whole inch or more/10 pounds or more - also this is not necessarily a down-grade of draft stock, sometimes the true measurement was better)

Other Observations:

Jay Cutler has an air about him.
Brodie Croyle looks in the face like Joe Willie Namath re-do.
Ryan O'Callahan, Charles Spencer and Jon Scott looked soft.

****

DD.com Senior Bowl news: Please check in frequently during the week for more news. We have spoken in length to the following stars already: Defensive tackle Gabe Watson of Michigan; Defensive tackle Dusty Dovracek of Oklahoma; offensive tackle Daryn Colledge of Boise State and wide receiver/tight end Anthony Mix of Auburn.

*******

DD.com Senior Bowl news: It appears Auburn offensive tackle Marcus McNeil is no where to be found in Mobile. He may've just decided he did enough in four seasons at Auburn to impress scouts and didn't need to play in the Senior Bowl, or perhaps he just hasn't arrived yet?....We'll have more info on this as it comes in.

*******

Closer look at talented and productive Tulsa tight end Garrett Mills, who will be making the move to fullback at the Senior Bowl.....At 6' 2", 225 pounds, Mills lacks the ideal size to play tight end in the NFL, but his his 87 receptions for 1,235 and 9 TD's in 2005 speaks volumes about his ability as a receiver.

*******

Q & A: Bruce Gradkowski, Toledo quarterback

Bruce Gradkowski: Right now it is sounding like the third to fifth rounds and I'm considered a safe pick. In my mind, I feel I should go the first day of the draft. That's my goal -- to go the first day, but it's hard to say.

*******

Yesterday we reported Louisiana State defensive tackle Claude Wroten had his Senior Bowl invite revoked due to drug possession charges.......Today, our correspondent in Mobile told us Florida State linebacker A.J Nicholson also had his invite revoked. Nicholson was charged with sexual assualt last month.

*******

If Central Florida wide receiver Brandon Marshall was disappointed over his exclusion from the NFL Combine invitation list released this week, he didn't show it at Saturday's Hula Bowl......."Surprise of the week," ESPN analyst Bob Davie called Marshall during the telecast. "He has opened every scout's eyes in attendance this week."

*******
last updated: 1/22/06
****

An 11-5 regular season record, coupled with a loss in the NFC title game, means the Carolina Panthers will "likely" be selecting 27th overall in the NFL Draft.......We believe wide receiver, tight end and running back will be primary needs, prior to free agency, with depth at linebacker and offensive line also being concerns.

Panthers unrestricted free agents

QB Chris Weinke

RB DeShaun Foster

WR Ricky Proehl

WR Rod Gardner

TE Mike Seidman

OT Todd Fordham

OT Matt Hill

OG Tutan Reyes

OC Jeff Mitchell

DE Kemp Rasmussen

LB Will Witherspoon

CB Dante Wesley

CB Ricky Manning

S Marlon McCree

S Idrees Bashir

P Jason Baker


Panthers restricted free agents

DT Kindal Moorehead

LB Vinny Ciurciu

S Colin Branch

*******

Linebacker Clint Ingram of Oklahoma has been added to the North squad for the upcoming Senior Bowl.

*******

Linebacker Jon Alston of Stanford has been added to the North squad for the upcoming Senior Bowl.

*******

Northwestern State (D1-AA) cornerback David Pittman has been added to the North squad for the upcoming Senior Bowl.

*******

Oregon wide receiver Demetrius Williams has been added to the North squad for the upcoming Senior Bowl.

*******

Oregon running back Terrance Whitehead has been added to the North squad for the upcoming Senior Bowl.

*******

Following a very tough loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game, the Denver Broncos locked up the 29th overall pick in the upcoming draft.......Wide receiver, safety and defensive end would appear to be the Broncos primary needs heading into the off-season. With cornerback, offensive line and linebacker being other areas of concerns -- at least depth wise.

Broncos unrestricted free agents

RB Ron Dayne

TE Mike Leach

DE Marco Coleman

DT Monsanto Pope

LB Patrick Chukwurah

LB Keith Burns

S Sam Brandon


Broncos restricted free agents

WR Charlie Adams

DT Demtrin Veal

*******

The following players will not compete in the Senior Bowl, despite receiving an invitation.

QB Matt Leinart ~ Southern California -- Has declined offer, feeling his draft stock is already high enough.

QB Kellen Clemens ~ Oregon -- Invited to all major post-season games, but will miss the game due to a leg injury.

DT Claude Wroten ~ Louisiana State -- Word is Wroten was "uninvited" after his recent legal problems.

LB A.J Hawk ~ Ohio State -- Has declined offer, feeling his draft stock is already high enough.

LB Bobby Carpenter ~ Ohio State -- Might compete this week, but it's not likely, due to a leg injury sustained in OSU's final Big 10 game.

LB A.J Nicholson ~ Florida State -- Nicholson was "uninvited" after his recent legal problems.

DB Jimmy Williams ~ Virginia Tech -- Has declined offer, feeling his draft stock is already high enough.

*******

DD.com note: Since scouts mostly judge these players in practice, expect several players to come up with "minor injuries" during the week in order to pull out of the game, due to the risk of injury.......Some players that insiders claim might be on "standby" as replacements include:

RB Leon Washington ~ Florida State

OT Andrew Whitworth ~ Louisiana State

WR Mike Hass ~ Oregon State

OC Greg Elsinger ~ Minnesota

LB Rocky McIntosh ~ Miami

LB Dale Robinson ~ Arizona State

*******

The Jacksonville Jaguars are very pleased with the play of rookie wide receiver Matt Jones, a former college quarterback and 2005 first round pick.

*******

Hula Bowl Notebook: Central Florida wide receiver Brandon Marshall dominates for East, while West squad left helpless due to an injury to Texas Tech quarterback Cody Hodges.

*******

DD.com feature: We take a much closer look at some of the players that impressed us at the East-West game yesterday. One player that really surprised us was huge, but very quick University of Calgary star Daniel Federkeil.

*******

Texas A & M quarterback Reggie McNeal has a big fan in Ourlads scout Don Shonka, who tell an Austin, Texas paper he thinks McNeal's a much better prospect than Texas junior Vince Young:

"Write this down," said NFL evaluator Dan Shonka, a former scout with three NFL teams. "Reggie McNeal will be a better pro quarterback than Vince Young. Vince is a good athlete, but he could be a $50 million mistake."

*******

Former USC safety Darnell Bing, who has been projected as either a low first-round or high second-round pick in the draft, speaks about his early departure to the NFL.

*******
last updated: 1/21/06
****

Central Florida wide receiver Brandon Marshall's five receptions for 101 yards and one touchdown leads the East to a 10-7 victory over the West in the Hula Bowl.

*******

Texas A & M quarterback Reggie McNeal leads the West squad to a 34-31 win over the East squad in a well played East-West Shrine game in San Antonio, Texas.

*******

Louisville defensive end Elvis Dumervil, who enjoyed one of the greatest defensive seasons in NCAA history in 2005, has been named to the South roster for the Senior Bowl, officials have announced.

*******

Michigan State head coach J.L. Smith believes Spartans safety Eric Smith, who has been invited to the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis is a player that surprise people:

"I really believe that Eric Smith has a chance to play at the next level," Smith said. "The NFL scouts have expressed an interest in him all season long because Eric is a smart, instinctive football player. He stayed healthy and had a very productive senior year. No one questions his toughness, and scouts have learned that he's faster than he looks on film."

*******

Linebacker Lenny Radtke of North Central College and four others begin climb out of Division III football today at the Hula Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.....Radtke, who has drawn some attention from the Jacksonville Jaguars, realizes he probably wont be drafted, but just wants a free agent shot.

*******

Defensive back Willie Andrews, projected as a solid Day 2 selection, among the Baylor defensive standouts scheduled to play in All-Star games today.

DD.com comment: Andrews, Baylor's all-time leader in total kick return yards (kickoff and punt returns), is ranked among our top 10 return Specialists.

*******

Division 1-AA superstar Marques Colston of Hofstra was recently added to East squad for today's East-West Shrine Game.

****

Marques Colston vs. Miles Austin

One of our contributors located in the Northeast, who is part of the electronic media in New York, had the chance to see the nations top two Division 1-AA wide receivers -- Miles Austin of Monmouth and Marques Colston of Hofstra -- up close in the fall of 2005 and was kind enough to share his thoughts on the pair, who will both be attending the NFL’s Scouting Combine:

Austin possesses excellent strength, a great attitude and strong hands. Austin will do anything and he's definitely a full-sized wide receiver at 6' 3" and 227 pounds. While he's big and wide, Austin did not appear to run as fast as some in the media claim. Just eyeballing him, he was probably more of a 4.6 type according to our source. We think there is a chance Miles could bulk up to play tight end or H-Back on the next level, if his 40 time in workouts doesn't impress scouts.

Monmouth gave Austin the ball in every way, shape and form: Go routes, comebacks, bubble screens. He was their go to player when they needed yards - basically he was their whole offense. Monmouth liked to bring him across in motion and handoff on the way through for a short end around. Outstanding and very willing blocker. Versatile too, as last season he threw a touchdown against Stony Brook.

Miles looked like a man amongst boys at the mid-major 1-AA level. He even blocked a punt, picked it up and ran it in for a touchdown all in same motion in one game, so he is a really good special teams player with "no ego". His punt gunner/ kickoff coverage ability could help him at the next level.

Our correspondent felt Colston from Hofstra looked like a better raw athlete and would still be the number one receiver if he was on the same team as Austin. Colston, at his level, is a sheer Terrell Owens type of athlete, with big hands, solid speed and ability to use his size (6' 4", 230 ) to dominate smaller defensive backs.

In summation, our correspondent felt Austin was the more complete football player, while Colston is a better pure wide receiver. Also, Colston has better straight line speed, while Austin is the better all around athlete. Nontheless, it appears both have a legimate shot at being drafted in the first 4 or 5 rounds, barring a real negative 40 time at the Combine.

*******

Georgia Tech linebacker Gerris Wilkinson has been added to the South squad for the upcoming Senior Bowl in Mobile.....Wilkinson will not play in today's East-West Game, as originally scheduled.

*******

Oklahoma State fullback Shawn Willis will play in today's Hula Bowl. Sources tell us the big fullback has looked sharp this week in practice. Not only has he blocked well, as usual, but he has also done a good job running with ball and catching it.

*******

A number of Virginia Tech Hokies get to play one more college game -- a college All-Star game.......Linebacker James Anderson, who will play in the East-West Game today, believes he'll be drafted in the top 4 or 5 rounds, based on the input he's gotten from scouts.

****
last updated: 1/20/06
*******

For five University of New Mexico football players, including running back DonTrell Moore, the chance to showcase their skills to NFL scouts kicks up another notch in the coming weeks.

*******

Former University of Texas guard Will Allen has been added to the Senior Bowl roster.

*******

Close-up and in depth look at small college star Danieal Manning, a defensive back from Abilene Christian, who ESPN's Mel Kiper feels has a chance to be drafted in the second or third round.

*******

Senior Bowl notebook: A lot of Senior Bowl related news, including the games organizers removing LSU defensive tackle Claude Wroten from the game due to an off-field drug charge.

*******

Agent Leigh Steinberg, says USC quarterback Matt Leinart has no qualms about playing in New Orleans -- "New Orleans is a classic city with a wonderful heritage, which I am sure will rebuild...If New Orleans is interested in Matt, then I am sure Matt will be interested in them."

*******

Patriots GM Scott Pioli and his staff are in San Antonio, Texas, scouting the East-West Game. Patriots front office takes in pride in comparing their franchise, in terms of player character, to the San Antonio Spurs, 2005 NBA World Champions.

*******

Taurean Henderson, a record-breaking receiving back at Texas Tech, needs to impress pro scouts with inside running skills at the East-West Game.

*******

DD.com is quoted on the website of former Indiana linebacker Paul Szczesny, a gifted athlete who hopes to catch the NFL's attention after sitting out the 2005 season due to personal reasons.

*******

Texas quarterback Vince Young has got them talking. Can a quarterback who doesn't have a classic throwing motion and is used to the shotgun make it in the NFL?

Related article: Being a first-rounder offers quarterback's no guarantees. History unkind to the majority of top college arms.

*******

East-West Game notebook: Florida cornerback Vernell Brown was added to the East roster Thursday after Maryland defensive back Gerrick McPhearson went down with a hamstring injury.......Plus more info.

*******

World Class moguls champ Jeremy Bloom, who is going for an Olympic gold-medal in Turin, can't wait to get back on the football field.

*******

Long and detailed look at Oregon State wide receiver Mike Hass, who seems to be very popular, judging from our reader E-Mail's.......Any questions Hass' fans have, will likely be answered in this four page look at him, via the Oregonian.

*******

Indiana State running back Cornell Johnson request to enter the draft early was accepted by the NFL this week.......So who is Cornell Johnson?

Like a lot of lesser known players, he possesses a lot of potential, but also holds character risks. Johnson, a 6’ 1", 210 pound former Nevada High School Player of the Year, was a juco superstar in 2004 (averaged 10 yards per attempt), before enrolling at ISU, where he showed glimpses of ability due to his outstanding speed and athletic skills.......However, he never was really able to gain momentum as a player and he struggled off the field, as he was suspended two games due to non-football issues. He eventually quit the team at the end of the 2005 season, never touching the ball more than 15 times in a game.......We’d say he’s an extreme long shot to be drafted at this point.

*******

Cornerback Jovon Johnson, a starter all four seasons at Iowa and the nations active career interception leader (17 Int‘s), measured in at 5'8'' and 180 pounds at the Hula Bowl, according to a source in Honolulu. Johnson has done real well during the week of practice and even expects to return punts in the game -- something he did well for the Hawkeyes in 2005 after wide receiver Ed Hinkle (also at the Hula Bowl) was injured. Surprisingly, Johnson may also be returning kicks, which he has not done since high school.

Johnson's lack of ideal size seems to be the area of most concern to NFL personnel, per the source. However, on the upside, he sports a 41" vertical leap and holds the Iowa record of 3.71 seconds in the shuttle drill, so he‘s a very quick player. He ran a 4.5 in the 40 yard dash in front of scouts last season, but expects to be in the 4.4 to 4.45 range by Pro Day (or the Combine). All these numbers, by the way, were confirmed at Iowa's junior Pro Day in 2005.

At this point, Johnson has yet to receive a Combine invite, but is hoping his play in Hawaii might change that. He’s a very productive and hard working player, who, at the very least, looks like a solid Day 2 prospect, with the ability to play nickel back effectively at the next level and help out on special teams -- punt returns and coverage. He’s definitely a player to watch Saturday.

****
last updated: 1/19/06
****

Our friend Ed Thompson reports on his site (www.coltpower.com) that scouts feel there were fewer gaps in the East-West Shrine Game roster this year and the consensus on the top five performers of the week included:

WR Brandon Williams ~ Wisconsin

OT Isaac Sowells ~ Indiana

OT Andrew Whitworth ~ Louisiana State

DE Frostee Rucker ~ Southern California

RB Leon Washington ~ Florida State

*******

Ole Miss junior linebacker Patrick Willis, a vastly underrated star in our opinion, ranked 10th best college football player heading into next season.

*******

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who was once dropped from the NFL Scouting Combine's list of invites to make room for draft bust Ryan Leaf, hopes to lead his team to the Super Bowl this weekend.

*******

Northern Colorado safety Reed Doughty, who has been invited to the NFL's Scouting Combine, was recently named the Colorado Player of the Year.

DD.com comment: Northern Colorodo safety Reed Doughty has received a coveted invite to the NFL's Scouting Combine, so he is certainly on the league's draft radar. Northern Colorado coaches have said his 40 time will determine his draft value and warn he's not that fast (4.56 to 4.6) by today's NFL standards.......Those same coaches, however, feel Doughty could make an immediate impact on special teams at the next level and possibly grow as a safety in time.......He's a real good player, but coming from Division I-AA, probably not better than 5th round pick, at best, unless he surprises with his 40 times.

*******

The NFL (at nfl.com) has just announced the names of 48 players who have been granted special eligibility to enter the NFL Draft as underclassmen.......We have listed these 48 players, plus mention a handful of other players that the media has widely reported have entered the draft, but are not on the NFL's official list yet.

DD.com note: The other day we wrote scout.com had University of Nevada defensive end J.J Milan and Wyoming offensive tackle Chase Johnson listed on their roster of players that "had declared" .......No other media outlets have confirmed this, so we assume the report was false.

*******

Closer look at LSU offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth, a Senior Bowl alternate, who will play in the upcoming East-West Shrine Game.

*******

Hula Bowl: Members of national champion Texas and runner-up Southern California were asked to be an NFL GM's for a day and rank Longhorn quarterback Vince Young and Trojan running back Reggie Bush and quarterback Matt Leinart.

*******

Antwon Burton, a 6' 2", 315-pound senior defensive tackle for Temple, Burton will be playing in college football's East-West Shrine Game this Saturday.......NFL scouts have told Burton he should be drafted in or around the fifth round. He's hoping for a solid performance in the Shrine Game to enhance chances.

*******

New Mexico fullback Adrian Byrd was added to the West roster (East-West Game) Wednesday, arriving the same day to replace Southern California fullback David Kirtman, who suffered a broken hand in Tuesday's practice and will miss the game.

*******

East-West Game: Hard work comes easy for Army cornerback Dhyan Tarver, who hopes to impress NFL scouts in order to take advantage of a new policy implemented by the Army.......Players now will be able to sign and play immediately on the condition they recruit for the Army during the offseason.

*******

East-West Game: Canadian wide receiver Andy Fantuz hopes to make an impact in San Antonio and impress NFL scouts.

DD.com news: Western Ontario wide receiver Andy Fantuz will be sharing his experiences at the East/West game this week with DD.com readers.

*******

DD.com news: Our junior watch list is back, now that we’ve been able to eliminate about 46 names of players that decided to jump to the NFL early. It appears, to us, running back and cornerback took the heaviest hits with top juniors declaring. Meanwhile, the defensive line, linebacker and quarterback positions remain very strong.

DD.com comment: Although Vince Young declared for the draft, the quarterback position remains very strong with Brady Quinn and Drew Stanton leading the way.......Right after the 2004 season, we ranked then Vanderbilt junior Jay Cutler among the top 3 quarterback’s in his class. We showed some foresight there, as most pay sites didn’t even rank him among the top 10 quarterbacks in his own class in the spring of 2005.

We were recently asked who the next "Cutler type" might be in the current junior class -- player that may surprise folks. We believe Stanford quarterback Trent Edwards could be in line to make a huge move upward next season, if he can stay healthy and come up with a big senior season. In terms of physical skills, insiders tell us the 6’ 4", 220 pound cannon-armed quarterback is very highly regarded by PAC-10 coaches and NFL regional scouts.

******
last updated: 1/18/06
****

Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart will be represented by agents Leigh Steinberg and Chuck Price in upcoming contract negotiations.

*******

Tennessee GM Floyd Reese talks about the top prospects in the upcoming draft, including Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler.

"I think before the workouts, he is probably projected about the third (QB) in the draft,'' Reese said of Cutler. "Now what happens after workouts is of course a different story. He is probably a pretty good blend between Young and Leinart. I think he will (climb)."

*******

Updated Hula Bowl rosters

*******

Q and A with San Francisco 49ers Vice President of Player Personnel Scot McCloughan. Q & A loaded with NFL Draft commentary.

*******

Western Ontario wide receiver Andy Fantuz, the likely top pick in the CFL Draft and legit NFL hopeful, will be sharing his experiences at the East/West game this week.

Editors Note: We really do thank Andy Fantuz for his input. Andy first contacted us in 2005, regarding our blog notes. After some back and forth via E-Mail, we came away impressed with him as a person. We also loved his polished writing style (not common in the player E-Mails we get), so we tried to figure out if we could use him in some way down the line.......About a month after our first contact with him, we asked him to do a mini-blog at the East-West Game. Luckily for us, he said yes.

*******

Hula Bowl Notebook: Texas defensive tackle Larry Dibbles and University of Southern California free safety Scott Ware, who has also been invited to the NFL's Scouting Combine, among the players hoping to impress scouts in Honolulu.

*******

Marshall cornerback Chris Hawkins will play for the East squad in the Hula Bowl.......Hawkins earned second team All-Conference USA honors after recording 28 tackles (17 solo) and a team-best 7 PD's in 2005.

DD.com comment: The Hula Bowl and East-West game will both be played this Saturday. Because both games invited many of the same players to participate, we are now seeing a rash of roster moves as the Hula Bowl fills the rosters spots of players that chose to attend the East-West game.

*******

Texas El-Paso (UTEP) tailback Tyler Ebell has been added to the West squad for the upcoming Hula Bowl.......Ebell, a 5' 9", 190 pound UCLA transfer, rushed for 536 yards (118 attempts) and had two touchdowns in 2005.

*******

Northwestern's Mark Philmore, a solid possession wide receiver, will play for the East squad in the Hula Bowl.

*******

We recently got a fascinating E-Mail from the family member of a lineman that played in the Las Vegas All-American Classic. What made the E-mail so unique, was the sender wasn't trying to "hype" her son to us. Instead she just wanted to give us a detailed feel of the atmosphere she witnessed and enjoyed at the game, which we appreciated. She also mentioned to us several celebs were out watching their son plays:

Hollywood superstar Denzel Washington was mingling with other players families and very cordial, while watching his son John David Washington, a Morehouse College running back, who led the losing West squad with 27 rushing yards and just 4 attempts.......We were unaware Denzel had a son on the NFL's radar.

Also, former UCLA quarterback David Koral, a rarely used backup in his two seasons at the school, is the son of Peter Koral, the President and CEO of Seven Jeans, a hot selling product among the Hollywood crowd.

We would say both these players are unlikely to be drafted. But, needless to say, neither will be overcome by financial hardship if they don't play pro football.

Las Vegas All-American Classic Stats

*******

UCLA linebacker Justin London has been added to the West roster for this weekend's East-West Shrine Game in San Antonio.

*******

East-West Game: Texas tight end David Thomas still Vince Young's main man.......The 6' 3", 245-pounder lacks the size of most NFL tight ends. Thomas said he heard he is projected as a third- to fifth-round pick, but could move up with a strong performance at the E-W Game.

*******

East-West Game notebook: Texas A&M wide receiver Jason Carter looking impressive....... “I guess I’ve been getting lucky the last couple of days,” Carter said, chuckling. “But I just wanted to come out and show what I could do.”

*******

East-West Game: Texas A&M's Reggie McNeal on clock to revive pro hopes.

McNeal: "Basically in college, we worked out of the shotgun about 90 percent of the time. We've been working on my drop in the pocket. That's the biggest thing, and I can see a huge difference."

*******

The Daily Nebraskan takes a closer look at four senior Cornhuskers that are getting set for the NFL's Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, including safety Daniel Bullocks.

*******

DD.com Correction? We mentioned yesterday that scout.com had Nebraska tight end Matt Herian on their list of underclassmen leaving school early for the NFL Draft, despite the fact Herian is simply unable to perform for NFL scouts due to a serious 2004 leg injury.......To this point, we have not been able to verify scout.com's inclusion of Herian on their declared underclassmen list.

According to one source we know of, Herian simply can't understand how this rumor even got started, as he still had screws in his foot until recently and needs at least two more months of physical thearpy before he can even think about running at full speed, which is what he would have to do to impress NFL scouts.......I guess the truth will come out eventually, but we would think Herian would be wise to stay.

****
last updated: 1/18/06
****

Southern California quarterback Matt Leinart will be represented by agents Leigh Steinberg and Chuck Price in upcoming contract negotiations.

*******

Tennessee GM Floyd Reese talks about the top prospects in the upcoming draft, including Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler.

"I think before the workouts, he is probably projected about the third (QB) in the draft,'' Reese said of Cutler. "Now what happens after workouts is of course a different story. He is probably a pretty good blend between Young and Leinart. I think he will (climb)."

*******

Updated Hula Bowl rosters

*******

Q and A with San Francisco 49ers Vice President of Player Personnel Scot McCloughan. Q & A loaded with NFL Draft commentary.

*******

Western Ontario wide receiver Andy Fantuz, the likely top pick in the CFL Draft and legit NFL hopeful, will be sharing his experiences at the East/West game this week.

Editors Note: We really do thank Andy Fantuz for his input. Andy first contacted us in 2005, regarding our blog notes. After some back and forth via E-Mail, we came away impressed with him as a person. We also loved his polished writing style (not common in the player E-Mails we get), so we tried to figure out if we could use him in some way down the line.......About a month after our first contact with him, we asked him to do a mini-blog at the East-West Game. Luckily for us, he said yes.

*******

Hula Bowl Notebook: Texas defensive tackle Larry Dibbles and University of Southern California free safety Scott Ware, who has also been invited to the NFL's Scouting Combine, among the players hoping to impress scouts in Honolulu.

*******

Marshall cornerback Chris Hawkins will play for the East squad in the Hula Bowl.......Hawkins earned second team All-Conference USA honors after recording 28 tackles (17 solo) and a team-best 7 PD's in 2005.

DD.com comment: The Hula Bowl and East-West game will both be played this Saturday. Because both games invited many of the same players to participate, we are now seeing a rash of roster moves as the Hula Bowl fills the rosters spots of players that chose to attend the East-West game.

*******

Texas El-Paso (UTEP) tailback Tyler Ebell has been added to the West squad for the upcoming Hula Bowl.......Ebell, a 5' 9", 190 pound UCLA transfer, rushed for 536 yards (118 attempts) and had two touchdowns in 2005.

*******

Northwestern's Mark Philmore, a solid possession wide receiver, will play for the East squad in the Hula Bowl.

*******

We recently got a fascinating E-Mail from the family member of a lineman that played in the Las Vegas All-American Classic. What made the E-mail so unique, was the sender wasn't trying to "hype" her son to us. Instead she just wanted to give us a detailed feel of the atmosphere she witnessed and enjoyed at the game, which we appreciated. She also mentioned to us several celebs were out watching their son plays:

Hollywood superstar Denzel Washington was mingling with other players families and very cordial, while watching his son John David Washington, a Morehouse College running back, who led the losing West squad with 27 rushing yards and just 4 attempts.......We were unaware Denzel had a son on the NFL's radar.

Also, former UCLA quarterback David Koral, a rarely used backup in his two seasons at the school, is the son of Peter Koral, the President and CEO of Seven Jeans, a hot selling product among the Hollywood crowd.

We would say both these players are unlikely to be drafted. But, needless to say, neither will be overcome by financial hardship if they don't play pro football.

Las Vegas All-American Classic Stats

*******

UCLA linebacker Justin London has been added to the West roster for this weekend's East-West Shrine Game in San Antonio.

*******

East-West Game: Texas tight end David Thomas still Vince Young's main man.......The 6' 3", 245-pounder lacks the size of most NFL tight ends. Thomas said he heard he is projected as a third- to fifth-round pick, but could move up with a strong performance at the E-W Game.

*******

East-West Game notebook: Texas A&M wide receiver Jason Carter looking impressive....... “I guess I’ve been getting lucky the last couple of days,” Carter said, chuckling. “But I just wanted to come out and show what I could do.”

*******

East-West Game: Texas A&M's Reggie McNeal on clock to revive pro hopes.

McNeal: "Basically in college, we worked out of the shotgun about 90 percent of the time. We've been working on my drop in the pocket. That's the biggest thing, and I can see a huge difference."

*******

The Daily Nebraskan takes a closer look at four senior Cornhuskers that are getting set for the NFL's Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, including safety Daniel Bullocks.

*******

DD.com Correction? We mentioned yesterday that scout.com had Nebraska tight end Matt Herian on their list of underclassmen leaving school early for the NFL Draft, despite the fact Herian is simply unable to perform for NFL scouts due to a serious 2004 leg injury.......To this point, we have not been able to verify scout.com's inclusion of Herian on their declared underclassmen list.

According to one source we know of, Herian simply can't understand how this rumor even got started, as he still had screws in his foot until recently and needs at least two more months of physical thearpy before he can even think about running at full speed, which is what he would have to do to impress NFL scouts.......I guess the truth will come out eventually, but we would think Herian would be wise to stay.

****
last updated: 1/17/06
****

Ten days ago, Abilene Christian defensive end Clayton Farrell wasn't getting a lot of attention from NFL scouts or Cactus Bowl coaches, but the 6' 4", 280 pound defender responded in big way in the D-2 All-Star game -- 4 sacks.

Official stats from the Cactus Bowl.

*******

The East-West Shrine Game has added recently declared junior cornerback Danieal Manning of Abilene Christian to the West roster.

DD.com comment: Manning is considered a player that has potential to "surprise" people in the upcoming draft, due to his speed and kick return ability. Manning hopes to be selected in the top 4 rounds of the draft, but will have to test real well, coming from a D-2 school, to acheive that goal......He originally signed with Nebraska out of high school, but never made it there due to academic issues.

*******

Toledo’s Bruce Gradkowski and Bowling Green’s Omar Jacobs were by far the two best quarterbacks in the Mid-American Conference this season, but who is the better NFL prospect?

*******

The South team's wide receiver corps in this year's Senior Bowl will have a definite orange-and-blue bias.......Ben Obomanu has been added to the roster, making him the third Auburn receiver -- joining Devin Aromashodu and Anthony Mix -- to be invited to the prestigious All-Star game.

*******

Purdue defensive tackle Brandon Villarreal will become the seventh Boilermaker to play in the Hula Bowl in the Joe Tiller Era.

*******

Occidental College safety Derek Turbin, who has ties to the state of Hawaii, has been added to the Hula Bowl roster.

*******

The Ottawa Sun reports troubled Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick is "on the radar" of the Toronto Argos of the Canadian Football League.

*******

Quick glance at four Nebraska seniors, including Safety Daniel Bullocks, invited to the NFL's Scouting Combine in Indiana.

*******

DD.com friend Glen Naughton, a frequent contributor, takes a look at a pair of talented Florida State players:

Brodrick Bunkley -- This extremely gifted Florida State defensive tackle continues to show elite quickness off the line of scrimmage. He was 2nd in the nation with 23 tackles for losses in 2005, to go along with 9 sacks. If the 300 pound Bunkley can add a few pounds of muscle, he has the opportunity to be a very productive NFL player down the line.

Bunkley possesses a good motor, but will play too aggressively at times, allowing the ball carrier to get away from him for some sizeable gains up field. An excellent bull rusher for an interior lineman, Bunkley projects to be drafted in the latter part of round one, or round two. If he is drafted in round two, or lower, he‘ll present excellent value for the team that selects him.

Leon Washington -- Quite possibly the most underutilized player in the country. This 5' 9'', 202 pound tailback from Florida State was a projected second round pick by the NFL following his junior season in 2004. He rushed for 951 yards last season, highlighted by a 12 carry, 195 yard effort against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl.

Washington decided to stay in school to improve his draft stock. However, a injury depleted Florida State offensive line, an inexperienced freshman quarterback and being asked to split carries with Lorenzo Booker, led to a significant drop in his playing time and production (430 yards on 97 attempts) in 2005. The skills he flashed in 2004 are undoubtedly still there, it‘s just a matter of scouts breaking down the situation and impressing in workouts.

Washington has also shown a penchant for making big plays on special teams during his career, breaking the schools single game record with 159 yards on seven punt returns. Also had a 65 yard punt return for a touchdown to go along with a 97 yard kickoff return for another score. If Washington falls out of the second round, which seems likely right now, somebody will get a steal in drafting this explosive playmaking athlete.

****
last updated: 1/16/06
****

Respected NFL.com draft analyst Gil Brandt, vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys from 1960 to 1989, puts forth his 2005 NFL All-Rookie Team.

*******

LaRon Landry, a three time All-SEC safety, has decided to return to LSU for his senior season, he announced on Monday.

DD.com comment: Landry seriously considered entering the draft, but decided to stay in school after the NFL's Draft Advisory Panel handed him a 2nd to 3rd projection, with 3rd round being more likely. Landry reportedly felt, based on outside sources, he would be a higher draft pick.

But staying in school, may turn out to be a great move for Landry. With fellow junior safeties Darnell Bing (USC) and Donte Whitner (Ohio State) committed to entering the upcoming draft, Landry projects as the top returning safety in college football, perhaps.......By the way, both Bing and Whitner, reportedly, got 2nd to 3rd round projections from the NFL.

*******

Brian Barthelmes, one of the real good people in college football and talented offensive lineman for the University of Virginia, has reportedly been added to the Hula Bowl roster.......Barthelmes has taken game snaps at every position on the Cavalier offensive line during his career. He started the previous three seasons at guard before taking over center responsibilities in 2005.

*******

The News Star in Louisiana reports Grambling quarterback Bruce Eugene is training in Phoenix in advance of the NFL Combine and Draft. He reportedly hopes to get his weight down to 240. After two weeks in the program, he'd gone from a reported title-game total of 297 pounds to 278.

*******

Los Angeles Daily News reports USC junior safety Darnell Bing was given a 2nd to 3rd round projection by the NFL's Draft Advisory Panel.

*******

Texas offensive tackle Justin Blalock has decided to return for his senior season.......The 6' 4", 330-pound Blalock was considering entering the draft but announced his decision to stay at the Longhorns' national championship celebration Sunday in Austin.

*******

DD.com News: We've completely re-did our list of the top small school players tonight: Top 60 players, with the "elite 20" singled out.......Most of the players on this list are from Division I-AA programs, but we also have players from D-2, D-3, NAIA and Canadian schools on the updated list.

********

DD.com News: Per site policy, we don't rank juniors with the seniors until they officially declare for the draft. Well, tonight we finally were able to update our rankings, with juniors included.

DD.com note: Juniors and eligible sophomore were forced to declare by mid-night January 15th, but have 4 more days to back out of the draft, as long as they have not signed with an agent.......We intend to update this page frequently, so check back from time to time to see how your favorite players are ranked.

****
last updated: 1/15/06
****

Southern California lost two more juniors to the NFL draft Sunday, when All-American safety Darnell Bing and tackle Winston Justice informed the school they would skip their senior seasons.

*******

Following last night's 27-13 loss to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, the Patriots have locked up the 21st overall selection in the draft, based on their 10-6 regular season record.......The Washington Redskins, who lost to Seattle yesterday, also finshed 10-6, and were awarded the 22nd pick based on a stronger strength of schedule...That pick, however, was traded to the Denver Broncos in April of 2005.

Based on team needs prior to free agency, we suspect the Patriots will look at running back and linebacker early in the draft, with offensive tackle and defensive back also being area's of concern.......Free agency, however, could mean they look at wide receiver fairly early too.

Patriots unrestricted free agents

QB Doug Flutie

FB Heath Evans

RB Mike Cloud

WR Andre' Davis

WR Cedric James

WR Troy Brown

WR Tim Dwight

WR David Givens

TE Christian Fauria

OG Stephen Neal

OT Tom Ashworth

LB Don Davis

LB Matt Chatham

S Michael Stone

CB Hank Poteat

CB Chad Scott

PK Adam Vinatieri

*******

With today's 21-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, the Indianapolis Colts lock up the 30th overall pick in the first round.......The Colts will have a lot of questions heading into the off-season based on the large number of key free agents the Colts will need to sign.

Unrestricted free agents

RB Edgerrin James**

FB James Mungro

WR Troy Walters

WR Reggie Wayne**

DE Raheem Brock**

DT Larry Tripplett

LB Rob Morris

LB David Thornton**

LB Rocky Calmus

PK Mike Vanderjagt**

Restricted free agents

WR Aaron Moorehead

WR Brad Pyatt

OT Makoa Freitas

DE Robert Mathis**

LB Cato June**

LB Gary Brackett**

LB Keith O'Neil

S Gerome Sapp

**Denotes starter, or key reserve

*******

After sitting out the 2005 season because of illness, Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton has decided to forgo his final season of eligibility -- will stop playing football.

*******

Miami fullback Quadtrine Hill and Tulane safety Tra Boger each scored two touchdowns to lead the East to a 41-3 victory over the West in the Las Vegas All-American Classic on Saturday.

*******

The NFL recently released a list of about 275 seniors that have been invited to the league's annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. As always, there were a number of quality athletes omited from the initial list of seniors.....Below, we take a look at our "All-Snubbed Offensive Team". These players, in our opinion, are the best at their respective positions not to get a Combine invite.

QB Justin Holland ~ Colorado State -- Big, strong-armed quarterback, with a nice release, should‘ve been invited in our opinion. Threw for over 3,100 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2005. Too many career interceptions and a history of injuries may’ve cost him a spot. ESPN guru Kirk Herbsteit loves Holland’s physical skills.

RB Antonio Warren ~ Arkansas State -- Can’t say we are surprised this smaller school prospect didn’t get an invite, but he may be the best running back not invited. Ran for over 1,000 yards in 2004 and 2005, despite sharing the backfield with fellow NFL prospect Shemar Bracey.

FB Gilbert Harris ~ Arizona -- Only four fullbacks have been selected so far, so not much room for Harris. Still, the omision of this this talented, all-around fullback caught us by surprise. Good blocker, who can help out as a receiver, too.

WR Todd Bergeron ~ Georgia (AFL) -- Bergeron, a former Auburn recruit, never attended college. After a while away from football, won the AFL’s 2005 Rookie of the Year award at the age of 21. Reportedly ran a sub 4.4 40 in front of pro scouts in January of 2005.

WR Sam Hurd ~ Northern Illinois -- Tall (6‘ 2“, 188), sure handed receiver, who loves to block and does it well. Had 65 receptions for 1,074 yards and 13 TD’s. Speed “might” be an issue in the NFL’s eyes, but this omission is still a surprise to us.

TE Greg Estandia UNLV -- Tall, reliable tight end, in the Zach Hilton (New Orleans) mold. Had 49 receptions for 563 yards and 7 TD’s in 2005 for the Rebels. May not have gotten a deserved Combine invite due to missing almost the entire 2004 season due to a knee injury.

OT Albert Toeaina ~ Tennessee -- Toeaina gets a Senior Bowl invite, but no Combine invite? This isn’t a huge surprise to us, but we thought the 6’ 5”, 355 pound lineman would be invited. Off-field issues probably didn’t help.

OT Travis Leffew ~ Louisville -- Longtime starter for the Cardinals, watches teammate Jason Spitz get an invite as a guard. The Leffew snub is surprising, but he’ll still have a chance to impress at Pro Day.

OG Will Allen ~ Texas -- In the Longhorns galaxy of stars on the offensive line, Allen seems to be a tad bit underrated to us. Rough, tough player, who we think will be tough to keep out of the NFL, once he gets a chance to perform for coaches.

OG Tony Palmer ~ Missouri -- Big, strong interior lineman, who has been a top notch Big 12 performer for several seasons. Palmer is very highly regarded by his teammates, as well as opponents, and is the type of player that may surprise people in the NFL, whether he gets drafted or not.

OC Chris Morris - Michigan State -- Highly decorated college performer, who gets snubbed by the NFL. This isn’t totally unexpected to us, but like Allen and Palmer, Morris can find solace in the fact many starting interior offensive lineman in the NFL where drafted in the latter rounds, or went totally undrafted.

****
last updated: 1/14/06
****

Ohio State strong safety Donte Whitner announced Saturday that he'll surrender his final year of eligibility to make himself available for the draft.

*******

Talented Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams, a junior, reaffirms his decision to return to school for his senior season......Adams firmly said he was staying in school in December, but almost changed his mind after seeing a mock draft by Mel Kiper Jr., which had him ranked as a first round pick. However, several NFL personnel had Adams pegged to go either in the third or fourth round.

Gaines Adams: “I was looking at that and was like, if Mel Kiper here, I’m going there,” Adams said. “I’m glad that he’s got me there and I hope that he has me there next year, or higher.......“It gets you excited.”

*******

University of Virginia junior linebacker Ahmad Brooks announced today that he will return to Virginia for his senior season. As a sophomore, in 2004, Brooks earned All-America honors and was one of three finalists for the Butkus Award.......Brooks positive momentum was derailed during the 2005 season, due to a rash of injuries, including a serious knee condition that kept him from working out and playing during the spring, summer and early fall.

Ahmad Brooks: I came to Virginia to earn my degree and help Virginia become a great team. I still have a lot of unfinished business to meet my goals. When I do walk into a NFL locker room, I want to do it with my degree. I am looking forward to getting my game in top shape and helping my teammates win an ACC championship.

*******

Auburn seniors Marcus McNeill and Ben Obomanu will join coach Tommy Tuberville at the 60th annual Hula Bowl Jan. 21 in Honolulu, Hawaii.......McNeill, who will also play in the Senior Bowl, has not allowed a sack in 43 straight games.

****

Facing a heavy lawsuit over a fight with another student, Tennessee defensive tackle Tony McDaniel has told Volunteers Coach Phillip Fulmer that he will forgo his senior season and enter the draft.......McDaniel has said that the NFL Draft Advisory committee has projected him as a first day draft pick. Kind of hard to believe, considering his lack of playing experience.

More info on McDaniel and other declared juniors.

*******

The Following Syracuse Orangemen have been invited to the NFL's Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana:

Defensive end -- Ryan Lacasse

Defensive end -- James Wyche

Defensive tackle -- Kader Drame

Safety -- Anthony Smith

Offensive tackle --Quinn Ojinnaka

*******

Tennessee junior defensive tackle Turk McBride will not enter the upcoming draft, after receiving a fourth-round projection from the NFL's Draft Advisory Panel.......McBride, who had 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 2005, might also play defensive end next season.

****
last updated: 1/13/06
****

The Tallahassee Democrat reports Florida State cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who will enter the draft despite never starting a game for FSU, said the NFL's Draft Advisory Panel projected he would be taken in the third or fourth round of the draft.

*******

Sports agent and attorney Major Adams confirms he and his company will represent University of Texas quarterback Vince Young for contract negotiations as well as marketing work.

*******

While Rutgers defensive end Ryan Neill is well known to most draftniks and presently projected to go in the middle-rounds in the eyes of most scouts, one player who has been severely overlooked is his counterpart on the other side of the defensive line, Val Baranaby , a senior who registered 10 sacks (2nd in the Big East and 11th nationally), and 13 tackles for a loss (tied for 6th in the conference) in 2005.

At 6'5, 270, Barnaby is a big defensive end and has enough speed to beat tackles around the corner. Though not as complete an end as Neill is, he is a very good edge rusher and could be a steal in the latter rounds of the draft.

*******

Breaking News: University of Connecticut tailback Cornell Brockington has declared his eligibility for the National Football League’s Entry Draft and will forgo his senior season with the Huskies.

*******

Two of Ohio State’s highest-rated NFL draft prospects that have been invited to the Senior Bowl might not play in the game.......Linebackers A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter said Wednesday that they are weighing their options and might not decide what they’re doing until a few days before the game.

*******

Purdue quarterback Brandon Kirsch will forgo his final season of eligibility and enter the draft......."I had a good time at Purdue, but I feel that it's time for me to move on," Kirsch said Friday in a news release issued by the school. "I went through the evaluation process, talked to a lot of people and got some good reviews. That made the decision a little easier."

*******

Louisville football notes -- Injury and excess weight may've kept running back Michael Bush from leaving to enter the NFL Draft.......Four Cardinals invited to NFL Combine. Meanwhile, surprisingly, star offensive tackle Travis Leffew was not invited to the Combine.

*******

Monmouth wide receiver Miles Austin, who shattered every receiving record for the Monmouth University football team, has received an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine.

Monmouth coach Kevin Callahan said NFL scouts have told him Austin is rated "very high"......."There's a very good likelihood he'll be drafted very early, quite possibly on the first day," Callahan said.

*******

Joining the Houston Texans holds appeal to USC running back Reggie Bush......."I wouldn't have a problem playing for Houston if they were to pick me," Bush said at a news conference in Los Angeles. "I'm excited about having an opportunity to prove myself at the next level, and if that was with Houston, it would make everything even better."

*******

Clemson's leading tackler in 2005, linebacker Anthony Waters, has decided to remain with the Tigers for his senior season.......Waters was considering entering the draft after he finished third in the ACC with 109 tackles. He also had 13 1/2 tackles for loss 7 PD's.

*******

North Central College linebacker Lenny Radtke and Wisconsin-Oshkosh tight end Bob Docherty, a Wisconsin-Madison transfer, are among four Division III stars scheduled to compete in the Hula Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.

*******

Chargers GM A.J Smith talks in depth about how he will go about scouting his son Kyle Smith, a wide receiver from Youngstown State who will play in the Hula Bowl.......As we noted before, Smith has said he will not draft or sign his son, regardless of circumstances.

DD.com comment: A.J Smith doesn’t have to worry about his son going completely unsigned and not getting a shot in the NFL, as was hinted to in the link above. He has so many friends around the NFL, and most would be glad to give his talented son at least a free agent look, as a favor, even if he doesn’t fare real well in post season workouts.......At the head of line to give Kyle Smith a chance, likely, will be Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian, perhaps A.J Smith‘s best friend inside (or outside) of football.

****
last updated: 1/12/06
****

The Crimson Tide keeps it running back tandem in tact -- Kenneth Darby and Le'Ron McClain said they plan to return for their senior seasons. Both had considered making themselves eligible for the draft.......Darby was the Crimson Tide's leading rusher while McClain had 18 receptions and served as a punishing lead blocker during a 10-2 season.

*******

Breaking News: Wide receiver Ryan Moore and defensive lineman Baraka Atkins, Miami's last underclassmen considering entering the NFL draft, plan to remain Hurricanes.......At least that's the word they've sent to coach Larry Coker, who last week lost junior cornerback Devin Hester to the NFL.

*******

Junior linebacker Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma's leading tackler in 2005, announced that he will not enter the Draft and will return to school for his senior season.

*******

Running back Lorenzo Booker will return to Florida State for his senior season.......Booker said that the NFL's underclassman advisory council projected he would be drafted in third round, or if he tested well in workouts, in the second round.

*******

Talented Washington State sophomore wide receiver Michael Bumpus ruled academically ineligible.

*******

Breaking News: Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush will leave the Southern California to enter the National Football League draft, where he's projected to be the No. 1 pick.......Bush, a 20-year-old junior, totaled 2,890 all-purpose yards and 19 touchdowns for the Trojans this season.

*******

Breaking News: Louisville junior running back Michael Bush has scheduled a news conference for 3 o’clock today to announce whether he will jump to the National Football League, but the school beat him to the punch with a news release today.......Cards coach Bobby Petrino said in a statement through the school’s sports information office that Bush will return for his senior season.

*******

UCLA Safety Jarrad Page, who has been drafted twice by Major League Baseball teams, and rarely used Bruins backup quarterback David Koral (completed 10 of 15 attempts for 124 yards in 2004 and 2005 combined) will play in the All-American Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. this weekend.......Bruins offensive lineman Ed Blanton will play in the Hula Bowl in Hawaii.

*******

Sources say Ohio State junior safety Donte Whitner is still weighing his NFL draft options.......OSU coaches are expecting Whitner to go pro, but a source close to Whitner said the player was still unsure of his plans.......The source said Whitner has been disappointed with where he is projected to be drafted. The general feeling is Whitner would be a second-round pick at best, with the third round more likely.

*******

Sports psychologist: After `emotional hijacking,' Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick needs to take a long break away from football.

*******

Closer look at three Penn State Lions set to play in the Hula Bowl, including defensive tackle Scott Paxson, who quietly had a fantastic 2005 season.

*******

Ohio State defensive end Mike Kudla will play in the Hula Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.

*******

The San Antonio Express-News reports East-West Shrine Game organizers hope to add players over the next several days, including several more from UT players. Discussions are continuing with linebacker Aaron Harris and defensive tackle Rodrique Wright.

*******

Texas tight end David Thomas, Vince Young's favorite target in 2004 and 2005, will play in the East-West Shrine Game in San Antonio, Texas.

*******

Cal offensive lineman Aaron Merz will compete for the West in the East-West Shrine Game. Merz is one of 19 Pac-10 players on the West roster and the only one from Cal.

****
last updated: 1/11/06
****

J.V Holland of Cougfan.com puts forth some excellent info regarding the Washington State football program, including which Cougars are going to the NFL Scouting Combine and an update on linebacker Will Derting's knee problems.

DD.com comment: Cougfan.com asks why we have Cougars tight end Troy Bienemann rated a little higher than some other sites?

Honestly, we felt before the injury, Troy Bienemann was among the top 10 tight ends in the senior class (we don't rank juniors until they declare). Bienemann is a very solid all-around tight end and, according to insiders who have connections to scouts, NFL teams liked him a lot during the 2004 and 2005 season. He's a very productive receiver, when healthy, who has ideal size at 6' 5", 253 pounds, with nice hands and solid athletic ability. He is also an outstanding blocker.

After the knee injury, we should've dropped him down a bit (at least until he rehabs), but we decided we would leave him were he was until we got more info on his knee........One thing that is for sure, is he will drop in our rankings (as will most of the senior TE's) when we add in the key junior tight ends that have recently declared. We will do that in a few days, once all the new names are submitted.

*******

It's official, running back LenDale White leaving USC for the NFL.......Fellow SC running back Reggie Bush to announce Thursday.

*******

Ole Miss junior linebacker Patrick Willis will not enter the upcoming NFL Draft.......Willis, who led all Division I-A players in solo tackles in 2005, said the NFL's Draft Advisory Panel projected him as a third-round selection if he declared for the draft.

*******

Former Indiana offensive tackle Isaac Sowells and Chris Taylor, a running back, will compete in the Las Vegas All-American Classic.

Chris Taylor: "Scouts have told me that they know that I am a good straight ahead runner, but they want to see more finesse. We were tested in the 40(-yard dash), and I ran the fastest 40 here (4.4), so that should help."

*******

The Cincinnati Bengals seemed to have the ideal situation at quarterback during the 2005 season, with a young star starting and a reliable veteran backup waiting in the wings.......But, just a few minutes into their first playoff game in well over a decade, all that changed due to an injury. Now with the possible loss of veteran Jon Kitna, the Bengals could be scrambling for options.

*******

LSU junior safety LaRon Landry remains undecided about whether he'll declare early for the NFL draft or return for his senior season.......Landry denounced reports appearing on several Web sites (DD.com started this rumor -- Blog 1/10) that he had joined the draft pool Tuesday, reiterating that he's still in discussions with family and coaches while sifting through various evaluations and feedback.

DD.com comment: We stand by the source who told us LaRon Landry was likely to leave early, as of last weekend. Reading the link above we believe it even more. It seems to us Landry is 100 percent set to leave LSU, but is concerned about the 2nd to 3rd round projection given to him by the NFL’s Draft Advisory Panel, which usually gives players lower projections in an attempt to not create false hope for players. Still, Landry is wise to take those projections seriously, because the difference between third round money and first round money, which he may get if he returns to Baton Rouge and has a huge senior season, is staggering.

As talented as we think Landry is, we could see him dropping well into the 2nd round, maybe even the third. Safety isn’t a position teams usually use first round picks on. In most drafts, no more than one or two safeties go in round one. We fully expect safety Michael Huff of Texas will be a first rounder and some insiders tell us Virginia Tech cornerback Jimmy Williams, also a probable first round pick, is being projected as a safety by some NFL teams.

Also, there is a possibility star USC junior Darnell Bing may enter the draft and we believe he has a legit shot at round one too. Throw in Ohio State junior Donte Whitner, who will very likely declare, Tennessee senior cornerback Jason Allen, who may move back to safety after recovering from a serious hip injury, and South Carolina’s Ko Simpson, the top sophomore safety who has already declared, and we can foresee a scenario where Landry might drop a bit, unless he has such great workouts (40 time, ect.) that he surges by players like Huff, Williams and maybe Bing. That may or may not happen, so he may be wise to heed the advice given to him by NFL teams.

*******

Virginia Tech All-ACC defensive tackle Jonathan Lewis will compete in the Senior Bowl in Mobile.......The 6' 1", 296 pound Richmond, Virginia native had four sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in 2005.

*******

Ranked 12th in Division 1A in receiving yards-per-game (2005) and Idaho's all-time single-game record holder for receiving yards (269), Second Team All-WAC wide receiver D.J. Smith will forego his senior season and declare for the NFL draft.

*******

The Detroit Free Press reports speculation continues on whether Michigan junior linebacker LaMarr Woodley will enter the NFL draft, but he appears set at Michigan for his senior season, even though he did inquire with the NFL about his prospects......."He's not going anywhere," said his high school coach, Don Durrett of Saginaw.

*******

USC running back LenDale White on his way to the NFL, according to coach Pete Carroll.

A Green Bay Packers source recently told The New York Post the team would strongly consider drafting USC running back LenDale White with its first-round pick, Number 5 overall.

*******

USC All-Stars:

Fullback David Kirtman, cornerback Justin Wyatt, defensive end Frostee Rucker and punter Tom Malone were invited to the East-West All-Star game.

Linebacker Collin Ashton said he would play in the Hula Bowl.

Safety Scott Ware said he had been invited to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

*******

Agent James “Bus” Cook on client Jay Cutler: “He may go higher than that [middle of round one],” Cook said. “I think a lot of people like him better than [USC’s Matt] Leinart. He’s got a stronger arm and more mobility. He’s got great poise and he’s a fantastic quarterback.”

*******

He hasn't officially announced his plans, but all signs point to South Florida junior linebacker Stephen Nicholas holding off on the NFL draft and returning for his senior season.......Nicholas was told he likely wouldn't be taken on the first day.

*******

WBIR.com reports Tennessee offensive tackle Arron Sears will stay for his senior season.......Sears informed coach Phillip Fulmer of his decision Tuesday night. He was told that he projected as a third or fourth round draft choice.

*******

Several avid readers have taken the time to write DD.com and ask the same question: "Why is Vanderbilt quarterback Jay Cutler ranked higher than USC quarterback Matt Leinart on the Big Board? Isn’t Leinart the better player?"

First it should be noted that the Big Board is not a projection of draft status alone, it is a projection of how we feel these players will do on the next level. The mock draft is a projection of draft status, and there Cutler is one slot behind Leinart. But this is merely semantics, all of the writers on the DD.com like Cutler better than Leinart and there are many reasons why.

Flat out, what this comparison comes down to is that Jay Cutler has better physical tools than Matt Leinart. He has better arm strength and throwing mechanics. Leinart’s throwing motion can be compared to oft injured Jets quarterback Chad Pennington – a ball that is easy to catch but has to be thrown early and will float and flutter in high winds. All things being equal his prospects for success at the next level would be helped by being drafted into a dome or warm weather team. Let’s hope the comparisons to Pennington don’t go further - casual draft fans seem to forget Leinart’s throwing elbow surgery last off season. Obviously he came back fine, but it is a factor.

In addition, while Leinart is the consummate winner, Cutler has played with considerably less talent around him, and under often adverse conditions. Jay Cutler didn’t have Reggie Bush, Lendale White, Dominique Byrd, Dwayne Jarrett, Steve Smith and an offensive line full of pro prospects in front of him giving him all the time in the world. In fact, Cutler’s supporting cast was downright suspect at times. A popular game to play in the DD.com press room (and one we suggest you try at home) is name any other Vanderbilt offensive player without looking it up. It’s not easy.

What this comes down to is tangibles versus intangibles. And while we like intangibles, there is no substitute for arm strength, especially in the bitterly cold conditions of playoff football where legacies are forged.

This is not a situation without precedent – many times over the years, quarterbacks with superior tools get drafted lower than other more high profile quarterbacks, and they often exceed their draft status at the next level: Dan Marino, Brett Farve, even Ben Roethlisberger were all "tools" guys from less highly regarded programs that should have gone higher in retrospect. Note we aren’t saying Jay Cutler will be as good as that group. And we are not saying Leinart will be the next Todd Marinovich - both players should be quality pro’s.

But what we are saying is if it’s our pick to make, and our millions to spend, knowing what we know, we’d spend it on Cutler over Leinart -- just barely. A lot can change and Mr. Cutler will have an opportunity to give his stock a Phillip Rivers-like boost at the upcoming Senior Bowl – where Draft Daddy will be covering practice week live from Mobile.

*******
last updated: 1/10/06
****

Safety Joe Miklos and tight end Greg Estandia, both from UNLV, set for All-Star games -- Miklos -- LVAAC.........Estandia -- Hula

*******

Complete rosters for the upcoming Las Vegas All-American Classic.

*******

USC running back LenDale White and offensive tackle Winston Justice are expected to announce sometime this week they're entering the NFL draft.

Reggie Bush: 'I'm far from making my decision'.

*******

USC junior wide receiver Steve Smith will not jump to the NFL early, after a receiving a 3rd round projection from the NFL's Draft Advisory Panel.

*******

Rivals.com scorecard of which juniors are going to the NFL and which ones are staying in school. Also mentions the undecided players.

*******

North Carolina State junior offensive tackle Derek Morris, who declared for the draft yesterday, was given a 4th or 5th round projection by the NFL's Draft Advisory Panel.

*******

Here is a E-Mail we got from someone that we believe is very close to Tennessee cornerback Jason Allen, who injured his hip midway through the 2005 season. Obviously, this person disagrees with our DB rankings:

Just wanted you to know that Jason Allen, defensive back from Tennessee, is fully recovered and he was released by his doctor on Friday, January 6th to do whatever he wants. You should start seeing this information reach the mainstream media shortly.

His doctor said it looks like nothing was ever wrong with him, so he is starting to run and train for pro work outs today. I think he will be a top ten pick -- first defensive back off the board. So tell all analyst to put him back up on their charts now because he’s coming and coming hard -- 4.3 in the 40.

I’m telling you he’s going before your Jimmy Williams, because he is more physical, faster and is a better corner and has great character -- nothing against Jimmy. That’s the facts, so you might want to update your mock draft or you can wait until Jason does Pro Day at University of Tennessee.

P.S. Allen will be at the Senior bowl in Mobile and at the Combine for interviews and he will put on his show at Pro-Day at Tennessee.

DD.com comment regarding the E-Mail: Jason Allen was in the first round of all our rankings before he injured his hip. We think very highly of him as a player and that hasn't changed. We just removed him from his lofty ranking due to the injury, because it was unknown to us how he'd return from the injury.

As far as the reliability of the E-mailer's info, we are not 100 percent sure. Let's state that right off the bat. But we've had enough of these type E-Mails before and have a good feel of what's legit and what's bogus, and this seems to be very legitimate.......The 4.3 40 part is very interesting to us, considering Allen has claimed all along he can run a 4.3 40.

Below we will post a quote right from Jason Allen, which was in our January 9th, 2005 Blog notes, right after Allen declared for the 2005 NFL Draft. Allen did not sign with an agent, so he was able to change his mind a few days after he said this and stayed for his senior season.

Jason Allen (January 9th, 2005): ''I think I can run in the 4.3's (in the 40-yard dash) and do 38 or 40 inches in the vertical jump. I want to play corner, but just like here at Tennessee, I'll play wherever the team wants me to play.''

*******

Washington State running back Jerome Harrison, who led the country in rushing this regular season with 1,900 yards, will play in the Senior Bowl.

DD.com comment: Harrison, listed at 5' 10" and 200 pounds, is a dynamic player that most scouts peg as a third down back in the NFL.......We think he'll project as a 3rd round pick, but it's still early.

*******

Breaking News: TCU wide receiver Cory Rodgers is heading to the NFL. Rodgers, a junior who was probably the Horned Frogs' most dazzling playmaker on offense and special teams this past season, said Monday that he will skip his senior season and make himself eligible for the draft.......Rodgers said he has been projected as a third- or fourth-round pick.

Breaking News: Rodgers is a player we saw a lot of and like a great deal. He arrived at TCU as a quarterback, but switched to wide receiver.......40 speed will determine exactly how high he'll be selected, but he seems fast on tape. At 6' 1", 190 pounds, he has good size for a receiver. His college receiving numbers aren't sparkling, but TCU is a team that focus on running the ball and playing tough defense......Dynamic kick returner, averaging over 30 yards per kick return (with 2 TD's) and 15 yards per punt return in 2005.......Will be 23 years old soon, so you certainly can't blame him for wanting to move forward with his career.

*******

Breaking News: A DD.com source, with connections inside the college football world, told us LSU junior safety LaRon Landry will enter the draft. The source met with a teammate of Landry's this weekend, and he told the source LaRon is definitely declaring.......The source also tells us LSU wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is also considering leaving early.

*******

DD.com comment: Congrats to Alex Guerrero, Boise State defensive tackle, for being added to the West roster of the LVAAC. Right after the Broncos Bowl game, someone claiming to be Guerrero (we believe it was him) contacted us to tell us how clueless we were, because we said Boise's defensive ends where not a huge test for BC All-American left tackle Jeremy Trueblood.

After a little back and forth, we got to see what his teammates get to see every day -- he seems like a team player and a good person, with a decent sense of humor.......Guerrero did tell us he wants to prove all his doubters wrong and feels he'll rank among the top 20 defensive tackles in the draft after workouts.......As we stated in our blog notes over the summer, Guerrero could be a player to watch. He finished the 2005 season with 31 tackles, 9 tackles for losses and 4 sacks. Those are solid numbers for a defensive tackle.

*******

Quarterback Chris Leak reiterated he would be in a Florida Gators' uniform next season......."It's great to know that I can be drafted and play in the NFL next season," he said. "(But) I want to make my skills better and come back and try to win the SEC."

*******

Closer look at Wisconsin running back Brian Calhoun, who will forego his senior season and enter the draft.......If Calhoun weighs in at 208 pounds at the NFL Combine, and runs the sub-4.4-second 40-yard dash he is capable of, it will certainly boost his stock. Last spring he was part of the UW track team’s Big Ten Champion 400-meter relay team.

*******

More in depth info on Florida State linebacker Ernie Sims Jr., who declared for the draft yesterday.......His evaluation from NFL scouting had him rated as a second-round selection.

*******

The University of Wyoming football program took a hit Monday when star junior cornerback Derrick Martin announced he would forego his senior season and enter the upcoming Draft.

“Right now I believe Derrick is a late first-day or early second-day choice,” his agent Brad Cicala said. “Now that he has declared for the draft, we can see about getting him in the NFL Combine. We should know about that by next week. Where he goes (in the Draft) will depend a lot on what kind of time he has.”

*******

Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny's return to State College is almost certain.......Knee injury a factor in decision.

****
last updated: 1/09/06
****

Closer look at Clemson cornerback Tye Hill, who hopes to be one of the first defensive backs selected in the draft.......“The scouts already know I can run a 4.3, but I want to go under that,” Hill said. “I want to go way under that, and that’s one of the reasons why I have to go to the right trainer. I can’t really change too much of what I’ve been doing".

*******

Breaking News: Two more North Carolina State players will forgo their senior seasons and enter the draft.......Derek Morris, an offensive tackle that started 11 of the 12 games he played in for the Wolfpack in 2005 and John McCargo, a 6' 2", 295-pound defensive tackle, had at least one tackle for a loss in each of the seven games he played in this season, including four against Clemson.

DD.com comment: We'll have more on Morris in due time. But, it should be understood that we think very highly of McCargo. We ranked him 2nd among all defensive tackles in the junior class, behind Haloti Ngata of Oregon.......There were times, before his injury, that McCargo looked like the Pack's best defensive lineman early in the season. Great combination of size, quickness, agility and power.......McCargo had 35 tackles (10 for losses), 1 sack and 7 quarterback hurries in only 6 games. May've been better served staying another season in college, but don't be surprised if he's selected in the top 2 rounds, with solid workouts.

*******

Junior linebacker Stephen Tulloch, the MVP of North Carolina State's Meineke Car Care Bowl victory over South Florida, will forgo his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.......Tulloch's draft stock is uncertain. He is undersized for an NFL linebacker at a listed height of 5' 11".

*******

Breaking News: Bad news just keeps rolling in for Virginia Tech junior quarterback Marcus Vick, who recently stated he'd enter the upcoming draft.......Vick, 21, is charged with three counts of brandishing a firearm Sunday night.

*******

Breaking News: Virginia linebacker Kai Parham will forgo his senior season with the Cavaliers to enter the draft, according to ESPN.com.......ESPN projects Parham as a likely first-day selection.

*******

Kansas linebacker Nick Reid, know as "Mr. Incredible" around Kansas, due to his facial resemblance to the Pixar cartoon character, will play in the Las Vegas All-American Classic.......The speedy Reid was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2005.

*******

Notre Dame senior tight end Anthony Fasano has decided to renounce his final season of eligibility and will make himself available for the draft.

*******

Wisconsin running back Brian Calhoun on the cusp of declaring for the draft, according to media reports.......Wisconsin offensive tackle Joe Thomas, given a first round projection by the NFL last week, will not declare due to an ACL tear, sustained while playing defensive end in a Bowl game.

*******

Wide receiver Drouzon "Tree" Quillen confirmed Sunday night that he will skip his senior season at Louisiana-Monroe and apply for early entry into the Draft.

*******

Breaking News: South Carolina has scheduled a teleconference for this afternoon during which defensive backs Ko Simpson and Johnathan Joseph are expected to announce that they will forgo their remaining eligibility to enter April’s NFL draft.

*******

Matt Hayes: No matter what NFL people tell Vince Young about his draft prospects -- an AFC scout says Young initially might be evaluated as a top five pick but that predraft workouts could expose his flaws and drop his grade -- he's nowhere near ready to play at the next level.

"He's running a (shotgun) set now that he'll probably use 20 percent of the time in this league," an NFC scout says.......But there's more to it than that. Young lacks velocity on certain throws, and he won't have 4 or 5 seconds to find a receiver in the NFL as he does in college.

DD.com comment: We like Young a lot. But what Hayes wrote above, we wrote moments after the Rose Bowl (Blog notes Jan.5th). We also added in his ear level release point on throws.......That said, we don't expect him to get by Arizona at pick number 10, regardless of any perceived flaws.

*******

Some quality Juniors have already declared for the NFL Draft, but only one week remains for other juniors "on the fence" to declare for the upcoming draft. Below we look at some of the top juniors still considering the jump.

RB Reggie Bush ~ Southern California -- It's expected he will declare for the draft, but he hasn't done it yet.

RB LenDale White ~ Southern California -- Media seems to feel he's certain to leave, but White insisted he wasn't decided before the Texas game. Still hasn't announced.

RB Brian Calhoun ~ Wisconsin -- Insiders claim Wisconsin coaches are actively trying to convince him to stay, so he's probably leaning towards jumping to the NFL. Nonetheless, he still hasn't committed either way.

RB Lorenzo Booker ~ Florida State -- Was spectacular at times during the 2004 season, but his totals dropped in 2005 behind a young and injury-bitten offensive line. Has tremendous physical ability, but is going to the NFL after a down season the right way to go?

TE Anthony Fasano ~ Notre Dame -- Basically a redshirt junior. Simply put, he'll likely make the move to the NFL if he's given a projection in the 2nd or 3rd round. Hasn't committed either way, yet.

WR Ryan Moore ~ Miami (Florida) -- Word is he'll likely jump after being suspended for the Bowl game. Hasn't committed yet, and there is no reason to believe jumping early would be a wise move.

OT Winston Justice ~ Southern California -- No real word on Justice, but some scouts believe he could go very high in the draft.

OT Joe Thomas ~ Wisconsin -- Joe "The Freak" seems like a special talent, with great size, strength and athletic ability. Was given a 1st round projection by the NFL, but a serious knee injury in the Bowl game means he'll likely stay at Wisconsin.

OT Justin Blalock (OT) ~ Texas -- Played great against USC, undoubtedly raising his draft stock. Can play guard or tackle. Has hinted he's leaning towards staying, but that was before the USC game.

DT Baraka Atkins (DE) ~ Miami (Florida) -- Has stated he will consult the NFL's Draft Advisory Panel, but no word on him. Has already graduated from Miami.

OLB Ahmad Brooks ~ Virginia -- Missed a lot time in 2005 due to injuries and needs to return to re-impress NFL scouts. Word is he's leaning towards staying.

OLB Kai Parham ~ Virginia -- Word is the this tall linebacker is leaning towards going to the NFL. Insiders claim he's a likely 4th or 5th round selection, at this point.

OLB Ernie Sims ~ Florida State -- Smallish, but cat quick linebacker is considering his options. In a deep linebacking class, Sims may be better off returning to FSU. Media reports claimed he was set to leave last week, but it hasn't happened yet.

MLB Paul Posluszny ~ Penn State -- Considered a likely first round pick. Injured his knee in the Orange Bowl, but it wasn't considered a real serious injury. Still undecided.

MLB Patrick Willis ~ Mississippi -- Outstanding middle linebacker, with "star" written all over him. But he's only 20, so an extra season could help him immensely. Don't forget this name, he's real good.

S Darnell Bing ~ Southern California -- Is said to be leaning towards the NFL, but he said the exact same things in 2004 and still came back. Hasn't announce his intentions yet.

S LaRon Landry ~ Louisiana State -- Has stated he will consult the NFL's Draft Advisory Panel. No word on his leanings.

S Ko Simpson ~ South Carolina -- The most talented sophomore safety in the nation, by far. But part of the reason he’s so good, is he’s already 22 years old and very physically mature for a sophomore. Is eligible for the NFL Draft, because he was grayshirted when he got to South Carolina. Word is he's leaning towards jumping, but he hasn't announced that.

S Aaron Rouse ~ Virginia Tech ~ Is seriously thinking about forgoing his senior season to enter the NFL draft due to severe financial hardship. In our opinion, the 6' 4", 225 pound safety/rover may or may not be drafted in the top 5 rounds if he leaves early.

*****
last updated: 1/08/06
****

News Correction: It looks like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have locked up "at least" the 23rd pick in the upcoming draft, due to their loss yesterday and the Carolina Panthers win today........If one of the two 10-6 teams (Patriots, Redskins) that won Saturday advance to the Super Bowl, the Bucs will select 22nd. If both 10-6 regular seasons teams advance to the Super Bowl, the Bucs draft 21st overall......Article, via Buccaneers.com, also explains, step by step, how draft order is determined.

Draft order rule: It is important to note that first round draft order is only completely accurate in reference to the first round alone. As the draft progresses, the teams within tied segments (same record) rotate spots from round to round. The rotation occurs upward; that is, the team at the top of the tied segment drops down a spot, and so on, and the team at the bottom slides back to the top.

*******

Breaking News: It's official, Texas quarterback Vince Young will forego his final season of college football eligibility and make himself eligible for the NFL Draft.......Young maintained during the season that he would to return for his senior year, but said his Rose Bowl performance put him "over the top."

*******

Kansas junior Charles Gordon, who has played both cornerback and wide receiver for the Jayhawks, has decided to forgo his senior season and will enter the draft........The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Gordon was projected as a first- or second-round pick prior to the season, but his stock is believed to have fallen a bit in the last few months, due to him not playing defense fulltime.

*******

Oklahoma wide receiver Travis Wilson, who was fantastic in 2004, but struggled with injuries in 2005, will join a pair of talented Sooners teammates at the Senior Bowl in Mobile.

*******

Breaking News: Ohio State cornerback Ashton Youboty told The Dispatch by prepared statement yesterday that he is leaving for the NFL....... Youboty has been projected anywhere from the latter part first round to the third round.

*******

Western Kentucky cornerback Antonio Thomas will play in the Las Vegas All-American Classic.

*******

Damarius Bilbo will get an opportunity to showcase his quarterback skills for dozens of NFL scouts. The Georgia Tech star will get a long look at quarterback at the Hula Bowl, but if the quarterback switch doesn't work out, Bilbo will enter the NFL Draft as an athlete.

DD.com comment: Don't expect anything to come of this quarterbacking experiment in Honolulu. Most insiders have said he's either a NFL wide receiver/athlete type, or he won't be in the NFL at all.......Anyone who watched Georgia Tech will tell you how much the Jackets struggled at quarterback for long stretches during the 2005 season. If Bilbo couldn't get quarterback reps in the ACC, forget the NFL, more than likely.

*******

Former Nebraska star Jason Peter, who was once the 14th overall pick in the NFL Draft (Carolina), is attempting to get his life back in order after a long bout with drug abuse.

*******

Georgia junior defensive end Quentin Moses, a 6' 5", 248 pounder who led the Dogs with 11 sacks in 2005, said Saturday night that he will return for his senior season for the Bulldogs.......Moses decided not to enter the NFL Draft as an early entry, believing he can develop more as a player.

*******
last updated: 1/07/06
****

Breaking News: After a season of indecision, Leonard Pope is confident in his decision to forgo his senior season at Georgia. That's a good thing because that decision is now irreversible (signed with an agent).......Pope went through the NFL's underclassmen advisory committee and said its assessment was that he'd be a second-round draft pick.

*******

The following small stars will play in the Las Vegas All-American Classic:

OG Jeff Bolton ~ Montana State

DE Brady Fosmark ~ Weber State

WR Eric Kimble ~ Eastern Washington

QB Tyler Emmert ~ Carroll College

*******

The Daily Progress reports Virginia junior linebacker Kai Parham may not return to school. Sources indicate that Parham is leaning toward entering the NFL Draft, which could be a mistake because he is currently rated a fifth-round pick at best.

*******

The injury troubles for former Washington State linebacker Will Derting aren't over yet.......WSU coaches feel the most recent injury revelations might destroy his draft stock, likely forcing him to go the undrafted free agent route. Derting was once considered a solid 2nd or 3rd round pick, per our info.

*******

Maurice Drew confirmed Friday that he won't return to UCLA.......In depth look at his draft chances and why he's being compared to Chargers rookie Darren Sproles.

*******

Columbus Dispatch also writes Ohio State safety Donte Whitner is expected to declare for the draft.

******* *******

Official Hula Bowl Rosters

*************

The West Squad built up a 33-7 halftime lead and held on for a 49-33 win over the East Squad in the Cactus Bowl, the premiere Division II All-Star Game.......Below we list some top game performers.

QB Wesley Beschorner ~ South Dakota -- Completed 12 of 17 attempts, for 300 yards and 3 TD's. Also rushed for 88 yards and another TD.

WR Richie Ross ~ Nebraska-Kearney -- Had 131 receiving yards, with two TD receptions.

DL Clayton Farrell ~ Abilene Christian -- 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble and a sack for a safety.

WR Justin Gallas ~ Colorado Mines -- 86 receiving yards 1 TD.

OT Nick Hageman of South Dakota was named the games top offensive lineman. ****

The top players from last season's Cactus Bowl were defensive tackle Keyonta Marshall of Grand Valley State University and offensive tackles Todd Herremans of Saginaw Valley State and Joe Berger of Michigan Tech University. All three were drafted, with Herremans going to the Philadelphia Eagles in round 4.

Again, some of the Cactus Bowl's best prospects were offensive lineman. The best prospects in yesterday's game appeared to be lineman, too, with tackles Jahri Evans of Bloomsburg and Pat McCoy of West Texas A & M leading the way. Wide receiver Delanie Walker of Central Missouri and DE A.J Schable of South Dakota are also players to take note of. But, as always, only time will tell which players will emerge.

****

D-2 Players that have received early invites to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis:

OG Chris Kuper ~ North Dakota

WR Delanie Walker ~ Central Missouri State

RB Derrick Ross ~ Tarleton State

OT Jahri Evans ~ Bloomsburg

WR Richie Ross ~ Nebraska-Kearney

***************

Washington State wide receiver Jason Hill said Friday he will return for his senior season.......Basing his decision on an NFL evaluation that said he would be a third or fourth round pick if he entered the draft early.

*******

Former Montana State quarterback Travis Lulay has been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine......."I'm pretty excited about it," he told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle Thursday from Irvine, Calif., where he is working out.

DD.com inside info: Division I-AA quarterbacks that have been invited to the Combine:

Travis Lulay, Montana State

Ingle Martin, Furman

Erik Meyer, Eastern Washington

Tarvaris Jackson, Alabama State

*******
last updated: 1/06/06
*****

Breaking News: Junior Oregon DT Haloti Ngata has officially declared his intentions to be the 5th Duck ever to leave school early and enter into the upcoming NFL Draft.

DD.com comment: Haloti Ngata has a rare size/speed combo and is on our boards an elite player. Pending workouts and physicals should be the first DT taken overall in April.

****

Breaking News: Fresno State cornerback Richard Marshall will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft, the school announced Friday.......Marshall, a two-time all-WAC selection, led the Bulldogs with 78 tackles in 2005. Fresno State coach Pat Hill believes Marshall could be a second- or third-round draft choice, according to an analysis by a board of NFL personnel evaluators.

Pat Hill: "I'm always going to counsel and advise student-athletes in their best interest," Hill said. "Right now, Richard is in a position where he is expected to go on the first day of the draft, and he believes he's ready to start making a living in the NFL. I can't argue with that."

*******

Troubled Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick arrested, future as a Hokie in serious doubt.

*******

Breaking News: The Associated Press reports Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny suffered partial tears of two ligaments in his right knee after a hit at the Orange Bowl, but won't need surgery.......Posluszny suffered partial tears of his posterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament. He will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks.......Posluszny, a junior, had said he was considering foregoing his senior season to enter the NFL draft. It is not clear how the injury will affect his decision.

*******

The commissioner's office has approved a low fourth-round pick as potential compensation for the Kansas City Chiefs signing New York Jets head coach Herman Edwards.

*******

Three Miami (Ohio) stars selected to compete in prestigious Senior All-Star Bowls.......Quarterback Josh Betts will play in the Hula Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii, while cornerback Darrell Hunter and wide receiver Martin Nance have earned roster spots to compete at the Senior Bowl.......Meanwhile, RedHawks linebacker Terna Nande will join Nance and Hunter at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

*******

Kansas University football standout Charles Gordon, a cornerback/wide receiver, continues to mull a decision whether to declare for the NFL draft or return for his senior season — and time is running out.

*******

Fixing the Philadelphia Eagles sudden problems will require key players recovering from injuries, as well as a solid draft and solid free agent signings.

*******

Washington State senior center Nick Mihlhauser has been invited to the East-West Shrine Game to be played in San Antonio, Texas.

*******

As we already reported, junior wide receiver Chad Jackson has informed University of Florida officials that he is declaring for the NFL Draft and will not return for his senior season.......Junior cornerback Dee Webb also is declaring for the draft. Webb is expected to be taken somewhere in the first two rounds.

*******

Though it was impossible to know before the MRI, preliminary signs were guardedly encouraging for injured Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny, according to a PSU source.......Early indications are that Penn State linebacker suffered a posterior cruciate ligament strain or tear rather than the more troublesome anterior cruciate ligament injury.

*******

Fed up with quarterback Marcus Vick's troubles, Virginia Tech's head coach will reportedly give him three options when he meets with him this week:

1 -- Declare for the NFL draft.

2 -- Transfer to a Division I-AA school so he can play his senior season without sitting out a year

3 -- Accept a suspension of at least one game and stay at Virginia Tech, knowing that one more misdeed would end his career with the Hokies.

*******

Breaking News: Small, but powerful UCLA junior running back Maurice Drew is expected to enter the NFL draft and plans to announce his intentions at a news conference in California on Saturday, a source close to Drew told ESPN's Joe Schad on Thursday night.......Drew has been told by the NFL advisory committee that he would likely be a first-day draft choice.

*******

Virginia newspaper looks at the top 10 questions surrounding the University of Virginia football program: Question #2 -- Who will turn pro?

Paper feels often injured star junior linebacker Ahmad Brooks is likely to stay in school. Something most felt wouldn't happen a week ago.......Kai Parham, another outstanding junior linebacker for the Cavs, may be more likely to jump, according to rumor.

DD.com comment: If Brooks stays at Virginia another season, and remains injury free, it could wind up being a great move for him. He had some injury issues in 2005, including a serious knee problem he battled with from the spring to the fall. But if Brooks can recover fully, as is expected, there is no reason he can't repeat the monster season he had in 2004, which will make him a likely first round pick.......Although Brooks isn't overweight, by any means, shedding about 10 to 15 pounds would be beneficial at linebacker (he weighed 265 in 2005), particularly in terms of taking stress off his knees.

*******

Fear of Texas quarterback Vince Young prodded USC head coach Pete Carroll to try the 4th-down play that failed with 2:00 minutes left in the game.

*****
last updated: 1/05/06
*******

Jason Caldwell from Inside The Auburn Tigers, writes defensive end Stanley McClover will need solid workouts in front of NFL scouts and executives. Caldwell writes McClover is projected to be selected in the latter-rounds, at best, based on the current projections by draft experts.

DD.com comment: We spent so much studying the seniors and juniors during the 2005 season, we didn't pay real close attention to McClover, who's a redshirt sophomore.......He looked very impressive to us in 2004, his freshman season. And we know he did play better as the 2005 season went forward.

One thing to watch out for, is McClover is said to possess outstanding speed, which may help him in workouts. Also, he looks bigger than his listed size of 6' 3" and 260 pounds, with more room to add weight to his frame. Could be a nice combination of size and speed down the line......Point? We wouldn't be surprised to see McClover selected a little higher than the projections above (6th round to free agent), after workouts.

*******

From the this should come as no surprise department, we put forth this All-Star tidbit: Clemson cornerback Tye Hill, a potential first round draft pick, has been invited to the Senior Bowl in Mobile.

*******

Breaking News: Auburn defensive end Stanley McClover said Thursday he will forgo his senior season and make himself eligible for the NFL draft.......McClover, a junior, had 13.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks for the Tigers.

*******

Breaking News: LSU defensive end Claude Wroten Jr. was arrested on a drug charge after police stopped him for speeding and found marijuana in his car, authorities said.......Wroten, 22, was booked Wednesday for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and was released on $3,000 bond from the Ouachita Correctional Center, police said.

Claude Wroten Sr.: "I believe he was set up because Claude is not a drug dealer. But that's what happens when kids don't listen to their parents."

*******

University of Cincinnati defensive end Adam Roberts and Chet Ervin, a punter, have been selected to play in the All-American Classic college football all-star game in Las Vegas, Nevada.

*******

Fresno State Bulldogs senior free safety Tyrone Culver will play in the Hula Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.

*******

Safety Donte Whitner thought he would have decided by now, but the choice between the NFL draft and returning for a senior season at Ohio State is more difficult than he imagined.

*******

Texas quarterback Vince Young, a fourth-year junior, was noncommittal about whether he will enter the NFL Draft this year or return for his final season of college eligibility.

*******

Breaking News: According to Gator Country columnist and ESPN Radio Analyst Brady Ackerman, junior cornerback Dee Webb has decided to skip his senior season at Florida and enter the NFL draft.......ESPN already reported Chad Jackson will leave the Gators.

*******

The Palm Beach Post reports Florida State linebacker Ernie Sims will skip his final season and enter the draft, barring an unfavorable report from the NFL's Advisory Council, according to a source close to the program.......Sims finished with 72 tackles and 10 tackles for loss.

*****

DD.com friend Doug C., a Rutgers University student writer, is a big fan of Texas quarterback Vince Young, but below he warns fans of which ever team drafts Young (if he comes out) to be patient with the talented quarterback.

If LenDale White converts on the 4th and 1 with 2:00 minutes left in the game, maybe Texas loses by 12 points and redshirt junior quarterback Vince Young very likely stays in school for another season. But considering the way Young led the Longhorns back, you can’t get any hotter and this may be the time for Young to leave. For Vince, I think he has to go now, for two reasons: Either he could get hurt before earning a pro paycheck or screw up his senior season and see his draft stock drop. Young can be a star at the next level, but I think the transition to the NFL might not be an easy one for him at first.

First of all, Young really will have to learn how to play behind center and that will take time to learn the proper footwork. One of Alex Smith’s biggest problems this season, in addition to having little talent around him, is the San Francisco 49ers rookie couldn’t sit back in a shot-gun/spread offense and throw the ball around with all that extra time he had at Utah. Like Smith, Young will have to be weaned off that gimmicky shotgun formation, which doesn't really translate in the NFL.

Also, with Young’s low release point (ear level), he won't have the benefit of dropping back 10 yards in the shotgun formation, meaning a lot of those low throws will be batted down by taller NFL defensive lineman, as he throws the ball closer to the line of scrimmage. The only recent "top-prospect" quarterback's who have had a release similar to Young's are Cade McNown, Phillip Rivers and maybe even Joey Harrington. Thus, he's not in good company. The difference between Young and these quarterback's is none possessed the athleticism of Young -- not even close. But the bad news is that all of these quarterback's had college experience of dropping back and throwing from the pocket. In that sense, Young is more similar to Smith.

Half the time against USC it was Young taking a snap out of the shotgun, and either handing the ball off, or taking the ball and running it himself. Sorry Vince, but that is not going to work as easily in the NFL. Not when you have defensive linemen and linebackers that have lightning-fast speed and will read that in a second. Also, USC featured two starting linebackers last night that were true freshman and where clearly over matched by Young. The linebackers he’ll face in the NFL will be much closer in talent to Ohio State’s linebackers, who did a decent job stopping his running early in the season.

He's most certainly going to be a project. Much like Michael Vick, I believe he'll have to sit his first season and work on his mechanics -- taking the snap from center, and also his 3-5 step drops. Still, one cannot deny the talent, athleticism, and sheer will to win and take over a game by himself. Given the right coaching staff and team, Young could be a star. But, I think, it's going to take some time and work by the coaching staff, and a lot of patience by the fans.

****
last updated: 1/04/06

The folks over at GatorCountry.com look at the potential draft prospects of 6 Florida juniors who may enter the NFL Draft.......Actually, as we reported earlier in the evening, wide receiver Chad Jackson has reportedly declared for draft already.

Gatorcountry.com on Chad Jackson: Jackson has as much room for improvement as he has talent. He is not great at getting open on his own, relying more on the scheme to get him free. He has yet to develop that fine sense of timing on long passes, thus Florida had very few big plays. His blocking needs improvement and nobody with his speed should average 10.2 yards a catch.

*******

Breaking News: Rutgers fullback Brian Leonard, who led the team in rushing and helped the Scarlet Knights reach their first bowl game in 27 years, announced Wednesday he will return for his senior season rather than declare for the NFL Draft.......Leonard led Rutgers in scoring with seventeen touchdowns and ran for 753 yards on 199 carries as the Scarlet Knights finished 7-5, losing to Arizona State 45-40 in the Insight Bowl.

*******

Breaking News: Florida Gators junior wide receiver Chad Jackson, who tied the school's single-season record with 88 catches this season, is leaving early for the NFL draft, a source close to Jackson confirmed this afternoon.......Frank Coyle of draftinsiders.com said Jackson is a third- or fourth-round pick, but could raise his stock considerably with a good time in the 40-yard dash next month in Indianapolis.

*******

Breaking News: Tennessee offensive lineman Rob Smith was angry when he learned Vol line coach Jimmy Ray Stephens had been fired following the season finale, and that anger may have helped convince him to opt for the NFL Draft.......Smith projects to be a fourth- to fifth-round pick, based on information provided by the NFL Draft advisory committee.

Note: A Tennessee paper is claiming the Vols got some good news, when talented junior defensive tackle Justin Harrell decided to return to school....... "I really never thought about leaving," Harrell said. The junior also said the NFL Draft advisory committee projected him as a likely second round pick.

*******

Chargers GM A.J. Smith tells local media he will not draft or sign his son, Kyle Smith, a Youngstown State wide receiver, who will play in the Hula Bowl......."I know who he is. He might go on to have a pro career. It wouldn't be here with the Chargers. I won't do that."

*******

The Press-Citizen in Iowa reports 7 Iowa Hawkeyes have been "invited" to play in All-Star games: Linebackers Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge have been invited to the Senior Bowl.

Defensive backs Antwan Allen and Jovon Johnson, wide receivers Clinton Solomon and Ed Hinkel and center Brian Ferentz have been invited to the Hula Bowl.

*******

Breaking News: Penn State coach Joe Paterno said Wednesday that early tests on injured linebacker Paul Posluszny's knee revealed possible ligament damage, with more exams to be performed this week.......Known for his quiet intensity and work ethic, Posluszny pleaded with coaches to get back into the game after the injury. He later vowed to doctors that he would be the "fastest rehab guy you'll ever have".

DD.com comment: Article above also looks at how Penn State should fare next season, with several top seniors, including quarterback Michael Robinson, leaving the program.

*******

DD.com All-Star list: We've gotten some E-Mail regarding our All-Star list and we have been asked the same question several times: How can we have players listed for the Hula Bowl and East-West game, when the games are played on the same day?

That's a good question, with a simple answer: As we have stated at the top of the All-Star list page from the very start, we are listing all the confirmed invites we get, fully realizing some players will have to choose between games. We also acknowledge some players will choose not to play in any games at all due to fear of injury......When we get information that a player has chosen one All-Star game over another, we quickly delete that players name from the game he declined to attend.......Thank you for your feedback and hope you enjoy the list. At this point, it's the best free All-Star list on Net, we think, but things change so quickly, so it's hard to be 100% accurate.

*******

Texas quarterback Vince Young has indicated this week that he plans to return to school, and sources close to the Texas quarterback confirmed to ESPN.com that he is clearly leaning that way.......For all his athleticism and play-making skills, there are scouts who acknowledge that Young has some areas of his game, like his release point, that need work and that he would benefit from another college season.

*******

ESPN is reporting the New York Jets, with the No. 4 pick, are uncertain about the physical status of starter Chad Pennington, a first-round pick in 2000 who has undergone two shoulder surgeries in less than a year. But the Jets have a considerable financial investment in Pennington and will likely sign a veteran free agent as a contingency plan.......We were told the same thing by 2 prominent members of the New York area media in November, so this line of thought comes as no surprise.

*******

A number of stars from tonight's Texas-USC game have been invited to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, the prestigious senior All-Star game.......But two stars, including Texas defensive back Michael Huff, have hinted they my decline the invite, feeling their draft stock might be high enough already and they don't want risk injury.

*******

Four Colorado State Rams, including linebacker Courtney Jones, will play in post season All-Star games.......Jones is headed to the Las Vegas All-American Classic.

*******

Pittsburgh student newspaper looks at Panthers wide receiver Greg Lee's decision to leave school early for the NFL and comes to the conclusion it might be a mistake.

The Pitt News opinion: The good news about all of this is Lee has yet to hire an agent, leaving him with the option of retaining his eligibility, should he decide to withdraw from the draft and return for his senior season".

*******

Georgia tight end Leonard Pope has probably played his final game for the Bulldogs. After Monday night's loss to West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl, Pope said he would likely enter the NFL draft rather than return to Georgia for his senior season......."I pretty much came to a decision that I'm going to probably leave", Pope said.

*******

One of the key figures in the turnaround of Kansas’ football program may have played his final game as a Jayhawk.......A close relative of Kansas cornerback Charles Gordon told The Star on Tuesday that Gordon is considering leaving school early to enter the NFL draft.

Stanley Wilson (relative): Thus, when asked to identify the biggest factor going into Gordon’s decision, Wilson said: “What position he’ll play (at Kansas). If he’s going to continue to go back and forth … I mean, when you’re hoping to go to the NFL, eventually you’ve got to pick a spot. “The scouts are looking at what you did the year before you came out. If he were to stay (at Kansas) and then they came after the year and said, ‘What did he do on defense?’ the answer would be, ‘Not too much.’ ”

*******

There was no official word from the Wisconsin Badgers on condition of star junior offensive tackle Joe Thomas' knee injury, though one teammate said it appeared to be a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

*********

Closer look at Florida center Mike Degory, who already has committed to play in the Senior Bowl.

********

The Pittsburgh Post reports the following Penn State players will play in the Hula Bowl: Defensive end Matthew Rice, Defensive tackle Scott Paxson and safety Calvin Lowry........Quarterback Michael Robinson will play in the Senior Bowl, and cornerback Alan Zemaitis and defensive end Tamba Hali might join him (both have been invited).

********

North Texas Running back Patrick Cobbs and his teammate Nick Bazaldua, a kicker, will play in the Hula Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii.

********

Penn State senior wide receiver Ethan Kilmer, who had 6 huge receptions for 81 yards and 1 touchdown in the Orange Bowl, isn't your typical former walk-on. No, not by a long shot. Few walk-ons possess reported 4.4 40 speed and a Michael Jordan like vertical leap of over 40 inches, which is what Lions QB Michael Robinson claims the "freak of nature" Kilmer can do. Watching Kilmer, who's been a backup at safety and wide receiver for the Lions, in limited chances this season, we are absolutely fascinated with his potential. He only had 15 receptions in 2005, but gained 238 yards (16 yard average) and 3 touchdowns on those plays. When Kilmer, who's solidly built at a bit over 5' 11" and 205 pounds, gets by defensive backs, it's "light's out", because few players in college football will catch him from behind. Also, perhaps more importantly, Kilmer is an absolute special teams demon -- 25 special teams tackles (19 solo) in 2005.

So, why was a player with his unique set of athletic skills a walk-on? Well, much of that has to do with the fact that Kilmer had almost no football experience in high school, instead opting to play basketball and run track (high jump). Also, he refused to play any sports at the start of his college career at tiny Shippensburg University, because he wanted to focus on academics. Eventually friends told Kilmer he was wasting his natural ability by not playing sports and he transferred to Penn State and tried out for Joe Paterno's team, which he had little problem making.

At this point, it would be foolish of us to project Kilmer as a likely draft pick. But if his raw numbers are anywhere close to what the folks at Penn State believe, expect NFL teams to get an eyeful of him at Pro Day and then consider drafting him in the latter rounds or signing him as a priority free agent. Also, as we mentioned, he may be the best special teams coverage player in the nation, which is very significant.

As NFL legend Bill Parcells has stated, you draft for potential and look for players with either size or speed (or both). Kilmer seems to have the elite speed and athletic ability NFL teams look for, which may help make up for his lack of football experience. One NFL scout told a Pennsylvania paper Kilmer reminded him of Don Beebe, who was an obscure, small school star in the latter part of 1980‘s, that came out of nowhere to have long and productive NFL career as special teamer and speed receiver.

*********
last updated: 1/01/05
****

Checkout DD.com's updated All-Star invite list, updated daily, which currently includes over 240 names of top college stars. Best free list on the Net.

*****

The Houston Texans have clinched the number one pick with a 20-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.....New Orleans will select 2nd overall, followed by Tennessee at #3.......The New York Jets will pick 4th overall, followed by Green Bay at #5 overall.

*****

More on the possibility of star Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny leaving for the riches of the NFL after his junior season......."That's up to him," the NFL scout said. "But I can tell you this: The kid would be a starter for us the minute he picked up his luggage at our airport."

****

Miami athlete Devin Hester, who was featured in a number of offensive roles during the Peach Bowl, said that he's still deciding whether to skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft or stay at Miami to gain much needed experience on offense.......defensive lineman Baraka Atkins and wide receiver Ryan Moore are also considering making the leap.

*****

Closer look at Iowa's Brian Ferentz, a 6' 3", 282 pound center, who will play in the Hula Bowl after the Hawkeye's season concludes.

****

Illinois State defensive end Brent Hawkins, a transfer from Purdue that had 17 sacks and 26 tackles for losses last season for ISU, has accepted an invitation to the Hula Bowl.

*****

Former Ohio State tailback Maurice Clarett, who was selected in the 3rd round of 2005 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos, is wanted on two counts of robbery following an incident that took place early Sunday, police said.

*****

Former Colorado wide receiver Jeremy Bloom's moguls-football balancing act nears its moment of truth: the Torino Games and the NFL combine a week after.

*********

North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams said Saturday he will likely leave school early and enter the NFL draft......."Obviously, I'm leaning in that direction."

****

Q&A with Oscar Lua, USC middle linebacker......Junior leads team with 60 total tackles.

*****
Draft Daddy - Best NFL Draft blog on the Internet

Contact


Archived Blogs
Aug 2008
Jul 2008
Jun 2008
May 2008
Apr 2008
Mar 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
Oct 2007
Sep 2007
Aug 2007
Jul 2007
Jun 2007
May 2007
Apr 2007
Mar 2007
Feb 2007
Jan 2007
Dec 2006
Nov 2006
Oct 2006
Sep 2006
Aug 2006
Jul 2006
Jun 2006
May 2006
Apr 2006
Mar 2006
Feb 2006
Jan 2006

                                                                           

Your Ad Here