Unlike many draft prognosticators who seem to just make their picks out of thin air, I like to wait until after the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine, and the majority of Free Agency have been completed before making my picks. In my opinion you cannot do a true “mock” until after these events, because only then you can get a good sense of how NFL talent evaluators are viewing prospects and have accurate team needs
1. Oakland (2-14): JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU – The Raiders have so many needs, but this is the most glaring one. They seem to now be committed to finding a leader at the quarterback position after stopgap types like Aaron Brooks, Kerry Collins, and Jeff George have not fit the bill over the years. It would also seem with their extensive history of getting “vertical” that the big armed Russell would fit right into a gapping hole in their lineup. He has the aforementioned arm strength (80 yards plus with a great fastball) and better mobility than most give him credit for. He was 25-4 as a starter and he led eight 4th quarter comeback victories. He was the nation’s No. 3-ranked quarterback in passing efficiency in 2006 while setting a school record for completion percentage at 67.8 percent and for completions with 232 out of 342 attempts and tying the record for touchdown passes at 28. He became only the second quarterback in LSU history to throw for 3,000 yards with 3,129 and finished with 6,525 yards and 52 touchdowns in three seasons (two as a starter). In terms of his leadership potential and ability, he reminds me of Super Bowl XXII MVP and former Redskins quarterback Doug Williams.
Primary Needs: QB, OT, OLB
2. Detroit (3-13): Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin – I know everyone thinks that the Lions may trade down a slot and let the Browns grab Quinn or Peterson or grab Quinn themselves, but Thomas seems like the pick. Their line needs another bookend to go with Jeff Backus. They have some pieces in place on offense, but their O-Line let up too many sacks and is a little soft. Thomas reminds me of former Redskins Pro Bowl lineman Jim Lachey. He will be a 10+ years starter and provide the run blocking that Jones, Duckett, and Bell need plus he will keep John Kitna upright one more year so he can get the ball to Roy Williams, Furrey and the other speed guys in Martz’s offense.
Primary Needs: DE, OG, SS, CB
3. Cleveland (4-12): QB. Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame – With hometown boy Brady Quinn on the board and several question marks still on Charlie Frye (17 Int’s) and Derek Anderson, the Browns will go with Quinn. The pick really is a no-brainer because Frye has not gotten it done and Romeo Crennel is on the hot seat. Crennel will trust his friend and former Quinn coach Charlie Weiss. Quinn also has the credentials with 46 collegiate starts, 95 touchdown passes and over 11,000 yards. Adrian Peterson may have been a good fit, but the Browns have signed Jamal Lewis and they need someone to get the ball consistently to Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards.
Primary Needs: QB, C, DE,
4. Tampa Bay (4-12): Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech – I am already hearing that Jon Gruden is enamored with Johnson’s size and big play ability. With his stable of quarterbacks (Simms, Garcia, Plummer, Gradkowski, and others) another receiver is needed. Johnson is a true difference maker with the size of T.O, but possessing better speed (4.35 in the forty at the Combine) and less attitude. With Joey Galloway getting older and Michael Clayton underachieving this is a natural pick. Johnson caught 76 passes for 1,202 yards and 15 touchdowns this past season and had his best game in the Gator Bowl versus West Virginia narrowly losing 38-35. In the game he caught nine passes for a career-high 186 yards and two touchdowns.
Primary Needs: OT, C, OLB, CB
5. Arizona (5-11): Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson – Like the Raiders they need a lot . New coach Ken Whisenhunt is in the door and he will want to put a new stamp on an underachieving team. The offense looks good with Leinart and crew, but the O-Line is a problem area. They may trade up to get Joe Thomas or move back and look to grab Levi Brown. I however think that Adams will be the pick. The Atlantic Coast Conference’s defensive player of the year will be a double digit sack guy for years to come. His 28 career sacks tied the school record held by Michael Dean Perry. The Cards need help because no names Okeafor and Smtih are not getting it done at DE and they need a pass rusher to provide pressure to help playmaking corner Antrel Rolle and LB Karlos Dansby..
Primary Needs: OT, S, DE
6. Washington (5-11): Jamaal Anderson, DE Arkansas – After the player they want Adams is off the board I see the ‘Skins going for the next best DE. Their pass rushing tandem of Carter and Daniels is long in the tooth and provided little pressure in 2006 (Only 19 Sacks, team record for lowest). Anderson at 6-foot-5, 288 pounds is a long fast player who will get after the passer and cause turnovers. He notched 13½ sacks last year as a junior. With Anderson and Pro Bowl Safety Sean Taylor in the mix, the ‘Skins will be hard to game plan against.
Primary Needs: DE, OT, LB, DT
7. Minnesota (6-10): LaRon Landry, S, LSU – Minnesota head coach Brad Childress knows first-hand the value of a quarterback on defense from his days with Eagles All-Pro safety Brian Dawkins and Landry is that guy. Landry is a difference maker, who is my number one prospect on defense. He is a four-year starter in arguably the best conference in college football (SEC) and he should be ready to start immediately in the NFL. A tremendous athlete who I have been following since he was a high school quarterback. He was impressive at the combine clocking two 4.4 forty’s and looking very good in the the cone and positional drills.
Primary Needs: S,DE, QB
8. Atlanta (7-9) (Swapped with Houston – Schaub trade): Alan Branch, DT, Michigan – I still believe that a receiver to elevate an underachieving unit or a young safety to replace the aging Lawyer Milloy may be in order. However Branch would be a good fit at #8. With the loss of Patrick Kerney, Branch a two-way DE/DT should contribute right away. At 6-foot-5, 323 pounds, he can play all of the positions along the DL and fit into a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. A player that impressed me by showing discipline and commit to getting better after slimming down from close to 400 pounds.
Primary Needs: DE, FS, WR
9. Miami (6-10): Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville – Okoye is a young (19) maturing player that has a great upside. A naturally quick DT, he is a penetrater, who will play on the other side of the ball on passing downs and will be stout against the run as he can put on more weight from his current weight of 287 lbs. He is a very bright young man who will definitely step in and help aging Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor and Joey Porter. Will be able to penetrate and push the pocket. Should be able to contribute in several packages as a rookie including pass rushing.
Primary Needs: DT, WR, OT
10. Houston (6-10) (Swapped with Atlanta – Schaub trade): Levi Brown, OT, Penn State – The main reason that they will be looking for Brown to come in is that their QB’s have been sacked at a record pace. Brown and last year’s draftee Eric Winston will provide the line with a great foundation. Brown will lead the way for their stable of backs: the newly signed Ahman Green, Wali Lundy, and the reborn Ron Dayne. He should plug the gapping hole at LT that has dogged this franchise since their inception when Tony Boselli fell apart. Other than Thomas, Brown is the only other O-Lineman that carries a 1st round grade in my book. Primary Needs: OT, OLB, FS
11. San Francisco (7-9): Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska – Carriker is another Nebraska high-motor player in the mold of Van den Bosch and Grant Wistrom. Had 20½ sacks and 41 tackles for losses in his career at Nebraska. He would be a great fit in Mike Nolan’s speed oriented attacking defense. Carriker would be another DE/LB in the mold of last year’s number one pick Manny Lawson and former 49er Julian Peterson. Carriker also is a high-character leadership type player and at 296 pounds he has the size, strength, quickness and technique to develop into a starter at the next level.
Primary Needs: OT, OLB, DT
12. Buffalo (7-9): Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma – The Bills are rumored to be interested in signing Chris Brown to compliment the recently re-signed Anthony Thomas, but Peterson would be a much better value.
The Bills need a feature back now that Willis McGahee has been traded to the Ravens. Peterson who left school as a junior is an injury risk (Missed seven games this season with a broken collarbone), but he is productive when healthy. He had 1,012 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns in about 6 games. He ran for 77 yards and two touchdowns, including a 25-yarder on the first play of overtime, in Oklahoma’s 43-42 overtime loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. Peterson ran for 4,045 yards in three seasons, ranking behind only 1978 Heisman winner Billy Sims (4,118) and Joe Washington (4,071) on Oklahoma’s career rushing list. His 1,925 yards in 2004 were a school rushing record and the most by a freshman in NCAA history.
Primary Needs: RB, OLB, CB
13. St. Louis (8-8): Leon Hall, CB, Michigan – The Rams have not had a playmaker in the secondary since Dre Bly left for the Lions and Todd Lyght got older. Hall will team with 2006 draftee Ty Hill to form a lethal combination in pass coverage. Hall’s stock has fluctuated over the past few months during the draft process, but it’s back up after he posted a 4.39 forty time at the combine. Though he isn’t a “cover” corner with blazing speed, he makes up for it with instincts, size and athleticism. School record holder in career pass breakups with 43 and added 12 interceptions. He is not flashy, but he gets the job done like All-Pro Bucs corner Ronde Barber and former Michigan Heisman winner Charles Woodson.
Primary Needs: CB, DT, OT
14. Carolina (8-8): Patrick Willis, LB, Mississippi – I love this guy, because he plugs holes. With Dan Morgan iffy with his concussion problems, the Panthers need a playmaker behind Jenkins and Peppers. Willis is a rare player with size (240 pounds) and speed (4.51). Some people may view this as a bit high for an ILB, but I disagree. Willis has the best instincts of any LB in the 2007 class and 49ers Coach Mike Singletary raved about him at the Senior Bowl. A 100 tackle guy who averaged 11.42 per game in ’06. He will need to learn to not be fooled by misdirection and take on guards and centers, but was a dependable three-year starter in the SEC and should be ready right away to contribute. He reminds me of Browns young LB D’Qwell Jackson.
Primary Needs: ILB, QB, TE
15. Pittsburgh (8-8): Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State – A tough high character Steelers type of player (2 time captain at Penn State). Has good size (6-1 ¼, 236), great football instincts, and intelligence. He always is around the ball as shown by his stats as PSU’s all-time leading tackler (116 in ’06). The Steelers should not worry about what system they are playing for new coach Tomlin 3-4 or 4-3, because Posluszny has played both inside and outside linebacker effectively at Penn State. Recently wowed scouts from all 32 teams as he showed no ill affects from his junior year knee injury running his 40s in 4.58 and 4.62. Has the ability to cover running backs and tight ends one-on-one. Reminds me of Chad Greenway.
Primary Needs: ILB, FS, C
16. Green Bay (8-8): Marshawn Lynch, RB, California – With Ahmad Green leaving in Free Agency and Samkon Gaddo being traded, the Packers need a RB. With his ability to catch the football and get to the outside Lynch has a lot of Green’s characteristics. With quarterback Brett Favre sticking around who knows how long this offense needs weapons. The Packers were on the cusp of making the playoffs and Lynch could definitely help. Lynch was an over 1,000 yard rusher the last two seasons and have the versatility needed for the Pack’s West Coast offense.
Primary Needs: RB, CB, WR
17. Jacksonville (8-8): Reggie Nelson, S, Florida – With Deon Grant leaving in free agency and Donovan Darius getting older, the Jags need a player of the future at the safety position. Nelson has recently been rising on draft boards due to his blazing 4.35 time in the forty at Florida’s Pro Day. Nelson was the defensive quarterback of the National Champion Gators defense. He helped to hold Ohio State to less than 100 yards passing in the Fiesta Bowl. He needs to work on his run support, but he will provide great over the top coverage and help Pro Bowler Rashaun Mathis.
Primary Needs: S, WR, OT
18. Cincinnati (8-8): Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh – The Bengals need help in their secondary. They lost their two safeties and they need a player to team with last year’s draftee Jonathan Joseph. The combination of Revis and Joseph will allow the Bengals to continue their attacking ways while having confidence in man to man coverage. Revis, who is an underclassman is a gambler, but he is a playmaker, who will take turnovers to the house. He also is a versatile player with the size and athleticism to contribute right away in the nickel and in the return game.
Primary Needs: S, TE, DT
19. Tennessee (8-8): Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC – With top receiver Drew Bennett leaving for St. Louis and David Givens so far not living up to expectations a young receiver needed to help in Vince Young’s development. Jarrett will not light up anyone’s stopwatch (4.55 range), but he is a schooled route runner that uses his size to his advantage. With offensive coordinator Norm Chow having known Jarrett and his abilities, he should put him in good spots. Should team with Givens and Brandon Jones to form a nice three-receiver set. Jarrett’s greatest value will be around the goal line on jump ball type passes. He will need a good Pro Day in a couple of weeks to convince everyone that he is not Lions flameout Mike Williams. Reminds me of Cris Carter in that he will need to figure out “how” to get open and be physical against press coverage.
Primary Needs: TE, WR, CB
20. N.Y. Giants (8-8): Greg Olsen, TE, Miami – With Jeremy Shockey wearing out his welcome with the Giants this pick makes sense. Olsen also from the “U” brings a lot of the same qualities (hands, speed, and leadership) without Shockey’s attitude. Olsen runs extremely well in the 4.5 range and is a willing blocker that should get better. He is a hand catcher and rivaled many WR’s in catching ability at the combine. Olsen will need to definitely give the high-strung Tom Coughlin more than 1 TD though.
Primary Needs: OG, WR, CB, SS
21. Denver (9-7) : Jarvis Moss, DE, Florida – With the Broncos failing in their attempt to sign Patrick Kerney and the Courtney Brown experiment failing miserably, Moss is a solid choice. Came out early, but Moss is another great athlete from a deep DE class that should contribute Day 1. He is a bit raw, but is a fluid athlete, who could also play some 3-4 outside linebacker. Moss knows how to get after the passer, just ask Troy Smith who was harassed all day by Moss and his mates in the National Championship game throwing for under 50 yards.
Primary Needs: OT, LB, DE
22. Dallas (9-7): Michael Griffin, S, Texas – Even though they recently signed Ken Hamlin from the Seahawks to a free agent contract, Griffin still makes sense. Hamlin and Roy Williams are both “down hill” in the box physical safeties and the Cowboys will need a coverage safety. Griffin is fast enough to play nickel corner and safety. He teamed with Michael Huff and Cedric Griffin as interchangeable parts in Texas’ championship secondary. With more teams using multiple receiver sets a player of Griffin’s ability is a must. The thing I like about Griffin is he is not afraid to also take on a ball carrier as shown by his 370 tackles in college.
Primary Needs: FS, OT, WR
23. Kansas City (9-7): Justin Blalock , OT, Texas – Maybe a reach at this pick, but with the expected retirement of Kyle Turley, losing Willie Roaf in 2006, and an aging Will Shields the Kansas City O-Line needs an overhaul. Blalock can play either guard or tackle and has the size (6’4, 329), strength, and movement (4.9 at Combine) to keep Larry Johnson. Blalock is a “Road Grader”, who anchored the 2006 National Champions line. Herman Edwards will need to make sure that Blalock is focused, but I don’t see him as being the next “Mike Williams”.
Primary Needs: OT, OG, DT
24. New England (12-4) (Pick from Seattle – Branch trade): Anthony Spencer, OLB/DE, Purdue – Remember the Patriots have 3 first round picks, so they may be on the move or choose to stockpile players. I think Pioli and Belichek will choose to grab solid “football” player types. With Mike Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi nearing the end of their brilliant careers, the Pats can never have enough interchangeable LB’s. Spencer is an explosive edge player, who led the nation with 26.5 tackles for loss and also had 10 1/2 sacks. He should team with the recently signed Adalius Thomas to bring the heat from the edge and provide help protect the Pats protect against their recent problem of big plays in the secondary.
Primary Needs: CB, S, OG
25. N.Y. Jets (10-6): Chris Houston, CB, Arkansas – The Jets secondary was not stellar in the playoffs trying to shut down the Patriots. With average receivers Caldwell and Gaffney putting up numbers changes needed to be made. Houston is a player that has been moving up boards steadily since the combine and should provide some of the man-to-man skills that Eric Mangini covets. Houston is another aggressive playmaking corner. Held Dwayne Jarrett to 5 catches for 35 yards in their ’06 battle. He should help out in the nickel and dime while getting acclimated to the NFL.
Primary Needs: CB, S, DE
26. Philadelphia (10-6): Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State – With the recent trade for Takeo Spikes the Eagles filled their most glaring need of OLB. They now can turn their attention to the “best player” on the board. Ginn who is a world-class speedster has not been working out and seems to be falling in the draft due to a lingering foot injury. The Eagles looking for a pure speed receiver and return man would be lucky to grab Ginn at this spot. I believe Ginn is this year’s Devon Hester (Raw, but Explosive Homerun Threat). Look for the 6 foot, 190 lbs junior to challenge Jeremy Bloom and Bethel Johnson immediately while learning the WR position. This past season he caught 59 passes for 781 yards and nine touchdowns and as a returner averaged 11.1 per punt return, with one touchdown. Would be a great fit on reverses and other trick plays.
Primary Needs: DT, SS, WR/KR
27. New Orleans (10-6): Robert Meacham, WR, Tennessee – Remember Sean Payton is an offensive minded coach. With Joe Horn being released and signing with the Falcons there is a need at receiver. Meacham would give the Saints a homerun threat on the outside to compliment Marques Colston underneath and Reggie Bush out of the backfield. Meacham looked fast and smooth at the combine catching the ball fluidly and running in the high 4.3 range. Meacham is still learning the receiver position and should transition well working with Colston and Devrey Henderson.
Needs: LB, WR, S
28. New England (12-4): Aaron Ross, CB/S, Texas – Like Randall Gay, Ross has the potential to play safety, slot coverage, or a corner. Ross is a tall, fast and athletic defensive back with playmaking instincts when the ball is in the air. Also is a playmaker on returns. The Patriots defensive secondary has recently needed help to stop down the field plays and Ross should help there. He and pick at #24 should be defensive picks to help add depth and help the defense get younger. Primary Needs: CB, S, OT
29. Baltimore (13-3): Ryan Kalil, C, USC – With Mike Flynn getting older and last years pick Chris Chester’s ability to multiple O-line positions, Kalil would be a great choice. The Ravens may want to replace Adalius Thomas, but getting protection for the aging Steve McNair and new back Willis McGahee is must. Kalil is a smart battler, who is this year’s version of Nick Mangold, who started for the Jets as a rookie. Kalil should be a fixture on the line for years to come. At the Senior Bowl, Kalil looked great in one on one drills while displaying a solid anchor in blocking. He is able to hold his own against bigger opponents by playing with great leverage.
Primary Needs: OLB, OL, QB
30. San Diego (14-2): Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU – Bowe should get the call as the Chargers are in drastic need of a playmaking outside receiver to team with Tomlinson, Gates, and Rivers. At 6-foot-2, 222 pounds, Bowe impressed with his toughness and athleticism at the Senior Bowl. He will be the down the field player that Eric Parker has failed to be after averaging 15.2 yards per catch with 12 TDs in 2006.
Primary Needs: WR, OG, FS
31. Chicago (13-3): Jon Beason, OLB Miami: With the trade of disgruntled OLB Lance Briggs imminent the selection of Beason would be a good choice late in the first round. Beason is an athletic aggressive player who always seems to be around the ball. He is able to work through the “trash” and make plays. With Brian Urlacher staying at home, Beason will be able to rush the passer and play in coverage. He should be able to contribute on special teams while learning Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 defense. Primary Needs: DT, OLB, CB
32. Indianapolis (14-2): Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee – When you’re the champions you have many options. I believe the Colts with the status of Cory Simon up in the air and Montae Reagor leaving will be looking for another quick penetrating D. At 6’4 and 305 pounds Harrell should add value against the run and pass. This high character player started 25 of his 35 games in college, finishing with 14 tackles for losses and four sacks. The Colts also could be looking for an OLB to replace Cato June at this spot.
Primary Needs: DT, OLB, C
Legedu Naanee (Boise State). Naanee (6’2, 225) was a little used backup quarterback at Boise State, who knew he wanted to go to the next level. He only had 4 catches in 2006, but he volunteered to be the blocking WR and “Ace” on special teams for the Fiesta Bowl champs. With his strong showing at the combine (40 inch vertical and 4.41 in the forty) and his “can do attitude” I am sure there will be a place in the NFL for him.
Zak DeOssie LB, Brown – DeOssie (6-4 3/8, 249 pounds) is not your average “Ivy League” player. He is a transfer from Boston College, who has the pedigree (Father Steve played 12 years in NFL) and speed (4.03 short shuttle at Pro Day) to make an impact. I believe his greatest value will be on special teams where his speed and instinct will help covering kicks. He also is a Long Snapper which is a plus when looking at roster spots.
Jermon Bushrod OT, Towson St – Bushrod (6-4½, 315) is a big tough developmental type of Tackle coming from a small school. He may be this years Jhari Evans, who also came from a small college Bloomsburg and made a huge contribution as a starting guard on the Saints O-Line. Bushrod could be moved to guard because of his arm length (34½ inches) and his great speed and footwork. Had a great Pro Day running his forty yard runs in 4.92 and 4.97 seconds, jumping 30½ inches in the vertical jump, 8-foot-6 broad jump and banging out 22 reps of 225.
Syracuse CB Tanard Jackson (6-0, 195 lbs) is a good nickel and special teams candidate. He has good speed (4.49) and is smart in coverage. Jackson may not have top level “cover” corner speed but he is physical corner and should fit in with cover 2 or zone coverage schemes.
New Hampshire WR David Ball – He will not wow anyone with his speed (4.73), but the man knows how to get open. He broke many of Jerry Rice’s 1AA records and shows routes and savvy that will get him in a camp somewhere. He catches well and should be able to fit in on special teams and in the slot. Reminds me of former 1-AA players Sean Morey and Brian Finneran.
UCLA K Justin Medlock (5-11 7/8, 201 pounds) – Everyone who knows me knows I am not a kicker guy, but Medlock impresses me. He is a left footed kicker who made 24 of 28 field goals (he had a string of 14 straight halted at Notre Dame) with an 85.7 percentage. Was ranked first nationally in field goals (2.18 per game) and 10th in the NCAA and first in the Pac-10 in scoring (8.82). Impressed me when he won the All Star Challenge making all 9 of his kicks including booming one from 55 yards easily.
Utah CB/S Eric Weddle (6′ 200) – Jack of all trades, who maybe the best athlete in the draft. 2-time Defensive Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference. Weddle played quarterback, running back, safety, corner, and special teams. Primarily a corner in 2006, but will probably be more suited to safety in the NFL. Has good speed and can hit. Very smart player who understands the game and where to be. Had 6 INTs this year on defense, 147 rush yards, 47 pass yards, and 7 total touchdowns.
Former Texas RB Ramonce Taylor (5-10 1/8, 195 pounds) – Made a strong contribution helping the Longhorns win the 2006 Rose Bowl against USC, but had to sit out last season due to academic reason. He is a raw athlete that could play on either side of the ball and on special teams. He didn’t work out with his former teammates, but did show up well in his workouts running the 40-yard dash in 4.46 and having a solid 9-foot-11 long jump.
Pitt LB H.B. Blades – He is the son of University of Miami star DB Bennie Blades. Blades is a plugger type LB, who excelled as a tackler at Pitt. He routinely put up over 100 tackles and should be a good fit as a 3-4 inside player. He also should be a special teams captain type. He looked good at Pitt’s Pro Day clocking a 4.69 in his forty and had a 32-inch vertical.
Maine S Daren Stone – Another big (6-3 ¼, 220) safety who can run. With the NFL going toward speedier guys in the secondary, Stone should fit in. Had a great Pro Day clocking a 4.47 in the forty, a 39 ½-inch vertical and 11-foot-5 long jump. He should be a late-round steal and a maven on special teams.
—Hampton has always had talent go to the next level with KR Jerome Mathis of the Texans making the Pro Bowl in 2005. this year the Pirates have the chance of up to 5 players entering the NFL including: ILB Justin Durant, CB Travarous Bain (Projected 4th Rounder), CB Calvin Bannister and WR’s Onrea Jones and Marquay McDaniel
—Don’t count our Louisville RB Michael Bush yet. Bush did have another surgery to insert a metal rod into his injured right leg, which he broke in the season opener against Kentucky, but I believe he has the character and ability to comeback from the injury. A legitimate Heisman candidate, who ran for over 1,500 yards and 20 TD’s before the injury. If fully healed the hard running 6’2, 248 pound “big” back should be a Day 2 steal for someone. Bush reminded me of Eddie George when he was healthy.
—I love players that played quarterback in high school or college, because they usually are smart and are leadership type players. This year’s draft class features some players who played quarterback at one time in college and may need to think about playing another position to make it in the NFL. They include Reggie Ball (Georgia Tech), Paul Thompson (Oklahoma), Syvelle Newton (South Carolina), CJ Gaddis (Clemson), Isiah Stanback (Washington), Chansi Stuckey (Clemson), Omarr Conner (Mississippi State), and my number 1 conversion candidate Legedu Naanee (Boise State).
—Another player who teams need to take a flier on is Notre Dame WR Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija had 78 catches, 1017 yards with a 13.0 avg and 12 TD’s in 2006 and reminds me of Joe Jurevicius. Though he signed with the Cubs to play baseball, including a clause not to play football, I believe he will be back at some time. Remember how well Chad Hutchinson and Drew Henson played in the minors. Henson was taken by the Texans in the 6th round in 2003 just to trade his rights, which they did to Dallas for a 3rd round pick in 2005.