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Never too early: Top players for 2007

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Stanton could challenge Quinn for top spotBy Todd McShay Scouts Inc. Archive Now that the 2006 NFL draft is in the books, it's time to take a look forward to next year's class. The following is a sneak peek at ...

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Old 05-09-2006, 01:54 PM   #1
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Never too early: Top players for 2007

Stanton could challenge Quinn for top spotBy Todd McShay
Scouts Inc.
Archive

Now that the 2006 NFL draft is in the books, it's time to take a look forward to next year's class. The following is a sneak peek at my initial list of the top 12 senior prospects for the 2007 draft:

1. Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
By returning to school for another season, Quinn avoided the logjam of quarterbacks that was atop the 2006 draft board. He also should benefit from another season of tutelage under head coach Charlie Weis, who performed magic with sixth-round pick Tom Brady as coordinator of the New England Patriots. Quinn enters his fourth season as a starter at Notre Dame and boasts an impressive blend of arm strength, size and leadership skills. If his coverage reads and prudence continue to progress at a similar pace in 2006, Quinn could become the top pick in next year's draft.

2. Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
Thomas was rumored to be leaning toward leaving school early for the 2006 draft, for which he projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick. But his decision was made easy when he suffered a right knee injury in Wisconsin's win over Auburn in the Capital One Bowl. Coincidentally, the injury occurred while he was subbing in as a defensive tackle along the Badgers' injury-riddled defensive line. If Thomas can return to form after offseason rehabilitation, he could become the top offensive lineman off next year's draft board.



A strong senior season would make Quinn the heavy favorite to become the No. 1 pick in '07.
3. Drew Stanton, QB, Michigan State
Stanton shows the potential to emerge as a dynamic starting quarterback in the NFL. He has all the physical tools, including the size, arm strength and athletic ability. Most important, Stanton has the "it" factor, showing rare intangibles as a leader and competitor. Durability has been an issue in the past. But if he can stay on the field and perform more consistently in 2006, Stanton will become Quinn's biggest competitor for top-dog honors in the 2007 draft.

4. Michael Bush, RB, Louisville
Bush rushed for 1,143 yards and 23 touchdowns on 205 carries as a junior in 2005 despite missing two games with an ankle sprain. On top of his outstanding combination of size and speed, Bush shows good versatility as a receiver and blocker. Bush grades out as the top senior running back prospect in next year's draft class and could give Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson a run for his money should Peterson elect to leave school after his junior year.

5. Paul Posluszny, OLB, Penn State
Posluszny tore two ligaments in his right knee during Penn State's victory over Florida State in this year's Orange Bowl, but the injury did not require surgery. If he can rebound fully and continue to dominate the college ranks the way he did with 116 total tackles as a junior last season, Posluszny could be the top linebacker selected in the 2007 draft.

6. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
Adams was seriously considering taking the NFL plunge, but he was getting mixed signals from the league's advisory board, his college coaches, potential agents and other counselors. Instead of risking disappointment, Adams made the wise decision to return to Clemson for his final season in 2006. If he picks up where he left off as a junior (15 tackles for loss, including 9½ sacks), Adams will rank among the top defensive prospects in the 2007 class.

7. Kenny Irons, RB, Auburn
After breaking out with 1,259 rushing yards in Auburn's final 10 games last season, Irons has emerged as a legitimate prospect to monitor at running back next year. With a good combination of size and speed to go with his punishing north-south running style, Irons could be a perfect fit for teams employing power-run offensive schemes (see: Panthers and Steelers).

8. Justin Blalock, OT, Texas
Blalock is a monster of a man. Overshadowed by teammate Jonathan Scott the past couple of seasons, Blalock finally will get his due recognition as the best offensive lineman not only in Texas but arguably in the nation. Blalock might never be a great fit as a left tackle in the NFL, but he should quickly emerge as a dominant force on the right side. Quicker feet as a senior could land him in the top 10 of next year's draft.

9. LaRon Landry, DS, LSU
Landry has been terrorizing opposing quarterbacks and ball carriers since showing up on Baton Rouge's campus as a freshman in 2003. Three years later and with far more experience under his belt, Landry should rank among the elite defensive prospects in the 2007 draft. Landry checks in at only 190 pounds, but he fills hard versus the run and hits like a linebacker. Landry shows as much range as any safety in college football and is a true ball hawk with nine career interceptions leading up to his senior campaign. The NFL is looking for versatile playmakers at safety, and Landry embodies those qualities.

10. Quentin Moses, DE, Georgia
Moses possesses impressive natural athleticism and continues to improve his size, strength and technique. He played basketball for the Bulldogs early in his collegiate career but has since turned his full focus to the gridiron. Moses played in a rotation early in his career but finally took over as a full-time starter once David Pollack moved on to the NFL (Bengals). In 2005, Moses had a breakout campaign with 44 tackles, 20½ tackles for loss and 11½ sacks. If he gets stronger versus the run while continuing to make a tremendous impact rushing the passer as a senior in 2006, Moses will earn himself a spot in the top half of the first round in next year's NFL draft.

11. Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
Brown began his career as a defensive tackle but moved to the offensive line as a redshirt freshman in 2003. He has been essentially a full-time starter since and will graduate with four years of starting experience. At 6-foot-5, 325 pounds, Brown has adequate mobility but still has room to improve in terms of his overall technique and foot quickness. Regardless whether it's on the left or right side, Brown projects as a starting offensive tackle in the NFL, which is why he ranks as one of the elite senior prospects early in the 2007 draft process.

12. Jeff Samardzija, WR, Notre Dame
Not heavily recruited out of high school, Samardzija has used his size, quickness, instincts, hands and toughness to overcome a lack of elite speed. Samardzija's draft stock is likely to slip once some of the supremely talented junior skills players get thrown into the mix, but another productive year like 2005 (77 catches, 1,249 yards, 15 TDs) could secure him a spot in the first round of next year's draft.


The following is an early list of the potential top prospects -- by position -- in the 2007 NFL draft class:


Quarterbacks: 1. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame; 2. Brian Brohm*, Louisville; 3. Drew Stanton, Michigan State; 4. Jordan Palmer, UTEP; 5. Kyle Wright*, Miami-Fla.; 6. Chad Henne*, Michigan; 7. Tyler Palko, Pittsburgh; 8. Troy Smith, Ohio State; 9. Trent Edwards, Stanford; 10. John Beck, BYU; 11. Chris Leak, Florida; 12. Sam Kellar, Arizona State.

Running backs; 1. Adrian Peterson*, Oklahoma; 2. Michael Bush, Louisville; 3. Kenny Irons, Auburn; 4. Marshawn Lynch*, California; 5. Kenneth Darby, Alabama; 6. Mike Hart*, Michigan; 7. Lorenzo Booker, Florida State; 8. Thomas Brown*, Georgia; 9. Tyrone Moss, Miami-Fla.; 10. Lynell Hamilton*, San Diego State; 11. DeShawn Wynn, Florida; 12. Brian Leonard (FB), Rutgers; 13. Darius Walker*, Notre Dame; 14. Courtney Lewis, Texas A&M; 15. Tony Hunt, Penn State.

Wide receivers: 1. Dwayne Jarrett*, USC; 2. Calvin Johnson*, Georgia Tech; 3. Ted Ginn*, Ohio State; 4. Jeff Samardzija, Notre Dame; 5. Jason Hill, Washington State; 6. Steve Breaston, Michigan; 7. Courtney Taylor, Auburn; 8. Robert Meachem*, Tennessee; 9. Early Doucet*, LSU; 10. Steve Smith, USC; 11. Lance Leggett*, Miami-Fla.; 12. Johnnie Lee Higgins, UTEP; 13. Todd Blythe*, Iowa State; 14. Paul Williams, Fresno State; 15. Andre Caldwell, Florida; 16. Jarrett Hicks, Texas Tech; 17. Dwayne Bowe, LSU; 18. Dorien Bryant*, Purdue; 19. Chansi Stuckey, Clemson; 20. David Clowney, Virginia Tech.

Tight ends: 1. Greg Olsen*, Miami-Fla.; 2. Zach Miller*, Arizona State; 3. Matt Spaeth, Minnesota; 4. Clark Harris, Rutgers; 5. Martrez Milner, Georgia; 6. Joe Newton, Oregon State; 7. Jonny Harline, BYU; 8. Jason Goode*, Maryland; 9. Ben Patrick, Delaware; 10. Matt Herian, Nebraska.

Offensive tackles: 1. Joe Thomas, Wisconsin; 2. Justin Blalock, Texas; 3. Sam Baker*, USC; 4. Levi Brown, Penn State; 5. Jake Long, Michigan; 6. Barry Richardson*, Clemson; 7. Kirk Barton*, Ohio State; 8. Doug Free, Northern Illinois; 9. Mike Jones, Iowa; 10. Aaron Sears, Tennessee; 11. Daniel Inman, Georgia; 12. Andrew Carnahan, Arizona State; 13. Ryan Harris, Notre Dame; 14. Andrew Cameron, California; 15. Mike Otto, Purdue.

Offensive guards: 1. Josh Beekham, Boston College; 2. Samson Satele, Hawaii; 3. Kasey Studdard, Texas; 4. Manuel Ramirez, Texas Tech; 5. Kirk Elder*, Texas A&M; 6. Brian Daniels, Colorado; 7. Will Arnold*, LSU; 8. Dan Mozes, West Virginia; 9. Ben Grubbs, Auburn; 10. George Batiste, Southern Miss.

Centers: 1. Kyle Young, Fresno State; 2. Ryan Kalil, USC; 3. John Sullivan, Notre Dame; 4. Anthony Wollschlager, Miami-Fla.; 5. David Ligon, Tennessee.

Defensive ends: 1. Gaines Adams, Clemson; 2. Lawrence Jackson*, USC; 3. Quentin Moses, Georgia; 4. Adam Carriker, Nebraska; 5. Baraka Atkins, Miami-Fla.; 6. Tim Crowder, Texas; 7. Victor Abiamira, Notre Dame; 8. LaMarr Woodley, Michigan; 9. Quentin Groves*, Auburn; 10. Dan Buzuin, Central Michigan; 11. Loren Howard, Arizona State; 12. Brian Robison, Texas; 13. Mkristo Bruce, Washington State; 14. Larry Birdine, Oklahoma; 15. Larry McSwain, UAB.

Defensive tackles: 1. Frank Okam*, Texas; 2. Quinn Pitcock, Ohio State; 3. Kareem Brown, Miami-Fla.; 4. Marcus Thomas, Florida; 5. Sedrick Ellis*, USC; 6. Justin Harrell, Tennessee; 7. Brandon Mebane, California; 8. Ray McDonald, Florida; 9. Red Bryant*, Texas A&M; 10. Derek Landri, Notre Dame; 11. Tank Tyler, NC State; 12. Carlton Powell*, Virginia Tech; 13. Jay Alford, Penn State; 14. Jeremy Clark, Alabama; 15. Marquay Love, Houston.

Inside linebackers: 1. Patrick Willis, Ole Miss; 2. H.B. Blades, Pittsburgh; 3. Ahmad Brooks**, Virginia; 4. Oscar Lua, USC; 5. Rufus Alexander, Oklahoma; 6. Brandon Siler*, Florida; 7. Anthony Waters, Clemson; 8. Desmond Bishop, California; 9. David Harris, Michigan; 10. Mike De'Andrea, Ohio State.

Outside linebackers: 1. Paul Posluszny, Penn State; 2. Xavier Adibi*, Virginia Tech; 3. Earl Everett, Florida; 4. Prescott Burgess, Michigan; 5. Brian Toal*, Boston College; 6. Dan Connor*, Penn State; 7. Juwan Simpson, Alabama; 8. Brian Smith, Missouri; 9. Stephen Nicholas, South Florida; 10. Zach Latimer, Oklahoma; 11. Dallas Sartz, Texas; 12. Tim Shaw, Penn State.

Cornerbacks: 1. Antoine Cason*, Arizona; 2. Roshaun Fellows*, Tennessee; 3. Leon Hall, Michigan; 4. Daymeion Hughes, California; 5. D.J. Wolfe*, Oklahoma; 6. Fred Bennett, South Carolina; 7. Ambrose Wooden*, Notre Dame; 8. Marcus McCauley, Fresno State; 9. Darrelle Revis*, Pittsburgh; 10. John Talley, Duke; 11. David Irons, Auburn; 12. Marquice Cole, Northwestern; 13. Ramzee Robinson, Alabama; 14. A.J. Davis, NC State; 15. Travarous Bain, Hampton.

Safeties: 1. LaRon Landry, LSU; 2. Brandon Meriweather, Miami-Fla.; 3. Michael Griffin, Texas; 4. Tom Zbikowski, Notre Dame; 5. Jonathan Hefney*, Tennessee; 6. Josh Pinkard*, USC; 7. Josh Gattis, Wake Forest; 8. Eric Weddle, Utah; 9. Aaron Rouse, Virginia Tech; 10. Brandon Mitchell, Ohio State; 11. J.D. Nelson, Oregon; 12. Sabby Piscitelli, Oregon State; 13. Tra Battle, Georgia; 14. Robert Herbert, Colorado State; 15. Willis Barringer, Michigan.

*underclassmen
**dismissed from team


http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/insid...odd&id=2438563
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Old 05-09-2006, 02:11 PM   #2
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Old 05-09-2006, 02:51 PM   #3
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Sophomore Year (2005): Saw action in all 13 games this season...backup to Ernie Sims at strong side linebacker...ranked second on the team for tackles among players not in the starting lineup (35)...has blocked two punts, forced two fumbles, recovered a fumble, recorded three sacks and has six quarterback hurries on the season...is a force on special teams and has assumed the role of gunner which is usually assigned to defensive backs or receivers...saw action at defensive end when injuries took their toll at that position...had a career game in the ACC championship game when he recorded eight tackles, six solo, two quarterback sacks and two quarterback hurries...added two tackles and a sack in the Orange Bowl against Penn State...earned the top newcomer award on defense as voted on by the coaching staff following spring practice in 2005.

Freshman Year (2004): Played in all 12 games including the Seminoles' Gator Bowl victory over West Virginia...was one of only nine true freshman to earn playing time for Florida State during the season...recorded 12 tackles with at least one tackle coming in eight of the 12 games in which he played...second among the Seminole freshmen with his 12 tackles...Jae Thaxton led the freshmen with 19 tackles...career-high three tackles against UAB and two tackles against both Syracuse and Virginia...recorded his first career tackle for loss in the Seminoles' victory over Virginia.


8)

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Old 05-09-2006, 02:57 PM   #4
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9. LaRon Landry, DS, LSU
Landry has been terrorizing opposing quarterbacks and ball carriers since showing up on Baton Rouge's campus as a freshman in 2003. Three years later and with far more experience under his belt, Landry should rank among the elite defensive prospects in the 2007 draft. Landry checks in at only 190 pounds, but he fills hard versus the run and hits like a linebacker. Landry shows as much range as any safety in college football and is a true ball hawk with nine career interceptions leading up to his senior campaign. The NFL is looking for versatile playmakers at safety, and Landry embodies those qualities.

If we didn't have 73 safety's, I would seriously look at this guy. He is gonna be one of the best pros to ever come out of LSU

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Old 05-09-2006, 02:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by saintbuck
9. LaRon Landry, DS, LSU
Landry has been terrorizing opposing quarterbacks and ball carriers since showing up on Baton Rouge's campus as a freshman in 2003. Three years later and with far more experience under his belt, Landry should rank among the elite defensive prospects in the 2007 draft. Landry checks in at only 190 pounds, but he fills hard versus the run and hits like a linebacker. Landry shows as much range as any safety in college football and is a true ball hawk with nine career interceptions leading up to his senior campaign. The NFL is looking for versatile playmakers at safety, and Landry embodies those qualities.

If we didn't have 73 safety's, I would seriously look at this guy. He is gonna be one of the best pros to ever come out of LSU
He's probably already number one on our draft board for next year.
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Old 05-09-2006, 03:00 PM   #6
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By this October, JaMarcus Russell will be added to that list.
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Old 05-09-2006, 03:17 PM   #7
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Though Florida QB Chris Leak may be a decent prospect, he hasn't exactly been a fit for Meyer's scheme. Hot-shot signee Tim Tebow may be the Gator starter by season's end.

Time will tell.



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Old 05-09-2006, 03:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by wheelman
By this October, JaMarcus Russell will be added to that list.
Or Matt Flynn. 8)
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Old 05-09-2006, 03:35 PM   #9
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Either way, LSU is set.
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Old 05-09-2006, 03:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by saintswhodi
Originally Posted by wheelman
By this October, JaMarcus Russell will be added to that list.
Or Matt Flynn. 8)
Or even Ryan Perriloux 8)
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