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2006 LIST OF PLAYER WHO WILL HAVE A BETTER NFL CAREER THAN MANY DRAFTED HIGHER THAN THEM

 
Croyle QB Alabama Croyle should be the first QB off the board after the big three.  In fact, it would not surprise me if he has a better NFL career than Jay Cutler.  Croyle is a leader, with a strong arm, a quick release, and nice touch.  The risk with Croyle is that he gets banged up too much.  However, a good strength coach to help him build up his body, could lead to Croyle being considered a second or third round steal.
Jacobs QB Bowling Green How does 71 touchdown passes against 11 interceptions sit with you?  That was what Jacobs did at Bowling Green.  He also completed well over 60% of his passes in college, and had a YPP of 8.55.  On top of that, Jacobs made all the throws required of an NFL quarterback at the Combine, and has great size.  Jacobs does have an unorthodox delivery, but he is very talented and will be a solid starting quarterback in the NFL, out-performing some QBs that will be drafted higher than him.
Lulay QB Montana State Lulay was known to have solid intangibles, a live arm, quick feet in the pocket, and nice touch to go along with good production.  Add to that the fact that he proved to be one of the most athletic QBs in the class, and one of the brightest (37 Wonderlic) and you have the makings of an intriguing day two prospect who could be a pleasant surprise in the NFL.  Lulay, however, is another quarterback in need of work on his technique.
Williams RB Memphis The group of three running backs after Bush is not Williams, Maroney and White; it is Maroney, White, and Addai.  Williams is clearly the second best back in the draft after Reggie Bush.  Williams will be a star.  In fact, Williams is closer to Bush than to White and Maroney in talent.  And, by the way, it would not surprise me if Addai becomes the best of my grouping of three.
Harrison RB Washington State Harrison is quick, strong, and faster than many thought.  Harrison accumulated over 2,100 yards rushing and receiving his senior year.  The knock on him is his lack of size and inside running ability.  However, he has excellent strength for his size, and showed the ability to run effectively inside at the Senior Bowl.  Harrison will be looked at as a change-of-pace, third-down back, but will eventually be an every-down NFL back, and a good one.
Lundy RB Virginia Lundy was considered a powerful inside runner with limited speed, and then ran a 4.45 forty at the Combine.  He could be a good pick for a team looking for a power runner to pair with a primary runner with limited size.  Lundy always had the power, and now shows he has the speed to go the distance if he bursts a seam against a short yardage defense.
Howard RB Arkansas Howard is a true sleeper who ran very well at the East West Shrine Game.  He has excellent strength (20 benches), and good speed for his size (4.47 at 229 lbs).  He will go on day two and be a better NFL player than many running backs selected ahead of him in the draft.
Barclay RB Wake Forest Barclay and Drew are two smaller backs in the draft with very good college production.  The draft "chatter" has been around Drew, but I like Barclay better.   He is bigger than Drew, faster than Drew, quicker than Drew, and a better athlete than Drew.  Barclay is flying under the radar, but will pay dividends to the team that drafts him.
Williams WR Oregon Jackson, Holmes and Moss are rated higher than Williams because they run in the 4.3's, so are considered game-breakers.  However, of those three, the only player I expect to be a top number one receiver is Jackson.  It would not surprise me if Williams became the second most productive receiver in this draft (from a receptions standpoint).  Williams is a good athlete, knows how to get open and has good speed.
Jennings WR Western Michigan Jennings is a player I like, a lot.  He is a tough kid who catches everything thrown his way.  The knock on him was that he was a smallish receiver (5'11") without great speed.  Then he ran a 4.41 forty.  If I were a team that needed a receiver, I would skip selecting one in round one and draft Jennings in round two or three.  He will be a very productive NFL player.
Marshall WR Central Florida Desire a big receiver?  Forget Nance.  Forget Baskett.  And yes, forget Stovall.  Jump on Marshall.  He is over 6'4", ran a 4.49 forty at the Combine, and was a man among boys at the Hula Bowl.  Marshall has good hands, is strong, can make the tough catch, is both a middle of the field and down the field target, and is a good athlete.  He has the best potential to be a star of all of the big receivers in this draft.
Bouknight WR Wyoming Bouknight will probably never be more than a two or three.  However, he will be at a minimum, a solid, reliable third wideout who will catch the ball and move the chains.  He does not have the speed to be drafted on day one, but will be productive in the league while many receivers drafted ahead of him are sitting on the bench.
Klopfenstein TE Colorado While Lewis, Pope and Byrd gain more attention as the top tight ends after Davis, Klopfenstein is right there with them.  He will be drafted after at least two of those (Pope and Lewis) because of their "upside", however, Klopfenstein could end up as the second best tight end in this class.  After Davis, he has the best combination of speed and strength at tight end in the draft.
Scheffler TE Western Michigan Scheffler is an extremely athletic tight end who will be a good receiver in the NFL, but needs to work on his strength and blocking.  However, his speed, quickness, and hands are unquestioned, and he will have to be accounted for by defenses in the passing game.
Chester C/OG Oklahoma Late to the center position, Chester is a former tight end who is the most athletic center in the draft.  Chester exploded on the draft scene at the Combine and continued his ascent during his Pro Day workout.
Montgomery C Virginia Tech Scouting reports I have read blame Montgomery's bad moments on his lack of quickness and strength.  However, his workouts clearly show he has good quickness and tremendous strength for a center.  Therefore, Montgomery just needs more coaching on technique to become a solid starting NFL center.
Jean-Gilles OG Georgia Jean-Gilles is on my list because I see him as a rare offensive guard worthy of a top fifteen or top ten pick.  He won't go that high, but he has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowl player.  He is one tough, talented, son-of-a-gun!
Kuper OG North Dakota Kuper is a small school prospect who looked dominate in his league.  The key to a player like this is his workout numbers to see if he has the athletic ability to translate his skill to the next level.  He does.  Kuper's speed, quickness and athletic ability were towards the top of the draft class guards.  He does need some work in the weight room, but he'll get plenty of that in the NFL.
Whitworth OT LSU Whitworth was a very productive, smart, intuitive player at LSU, who played with a mean streak.  The knock on Whitworth was his athletic ability.  However, while his workout numbers were not in the Justice-Winston range, they showed good athletic ability and strength.  While many of the top tackles in the draft after Ferguson are big-time boom or bust prospects, who could be stars or could be flops, Whitworth is destined to be a productive, long-term starter in the league.
Wimper OT East Carolina Wimper is a former tight end with superb quickness.  Being only a one-year starter he will need time to improve his technique.  However, I expect the time working with Wimper to pay big dividends to the team that drafts him. 
Tapp DE Virginia Tech Tapp is a better player than how he tests.  He will be a workman-like defensive end who gets 8 sacks and plays the run well.  He will not be Pro Bowl level, but will be a good third end initially, and a solid, dependable starter long term.
Anderson DE Alabama Anderson had an excellent week of practice at the Senior Bowl, and a very good game, including a play where he beat the Brick for a sack.  Before the draft process Anderson was considered a pass rush specialist type lacking elite athleticism.  However, Anderson proved to have good speed, excellent quickness, and terrific athleticism at the Combine.  He is currently a little light at 254 pounds, but at 6'4", has the frame to add weight and be a three down defensive end.
GoCong DE/OLB Cal-Poly While Lawson and Wimbley are getting all the pub as the top DE/OLB hybrids, GoCong isn't far behind.  He is quick for his size, an excellent athlete, and is strong.  At 6'2", 263 lbs, GoCong can play end in a 4-3 where he is good against both the run or pass, or move to OLB in a 3-4 where he displayed good linebacker skills in post-season drills.  GoCong will grow into a difference-maker on defense while players drafted ahead of him struggle to become starters.
Chick DE/OLB Utah State Looking for a sleeper as either an OLB in a 3-4 or pass-rush specialist in a 4-3?  How about Chick who played a hybrid defensive end/linebacker in college, and played that position very well.  At 6'3.2", 265 lbs, Chick ran a 4.65 forty, lifted the bar 30 times, ran a 4.26 short shuttle, and had a 10'1" long jump.  Chick is a player few are touting, but one who represents excellent value on day two of the draft.
Ngata DT/NT Oregon I know, I know, Nagata is a high first round pick.  Last year I had Merriman on my list stating that he should be a top five pick because he was the biggest difference maker on defense in the draft.  Well, I was right,  so I'm going to do it again.  Ngata should be a top five pick.  He will be the biggest difference maker on defense in this year's draft.  The difference is that last year Merriman's ability was obvious since he got sacks.  Ngata, on the other hand will be the key to some teams' 3-4 defense, engaging offensive lineman so linebackers can roam free and make tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage, so his value will be more subtle.  The fact is, however, that the nose in the 3-4 is the key to that alignment, and Ngata, who is a monster of a man (6'4", 338 lbs) with brute strength, and rare athletic ability for a man his size, will be the difference between a defense being good, and a defense being great.
Dvoracek DT Oklahoma Dvoracek has good speed, quickness, strength, and intelligence.  He is a risk because of off field issues, but has as much talent as many of the defensive tackles currently rated higher than him by most draft analysts.  While I would not be surprised if some of the other tackles peak as a third tackle off the bench, I would be very surprised if Dvoracek isn't a quality starter in a year or two.
Cofield DT/DE Nortwestern Cofield is one of the more athletic tackles in this draft class, and has the perfect build to play end in a 3-4 defense.  He is strong (35 benches) and quick for his size.  With more conditioning, Cofield could be a find for a team late in day one or early in day and out-perform players drafted higher than him.
Golston DT Georgia Golston isn't for every team.  He is the quick, comparatively light defensive tackle that some teams use to get an inside rush on the quarterback (think Atlanta).  He has good  speed, quickness, strength and athleticism but needs work on his technique.  If Golston is drafted by the right team he will have a nice career.  If not, he will struggle to make a team.
Wilkinson ILB Georgia Tech After Jackson and Hodge there are some differences in opinions regarding the next inside linebacker who should come off the board.  In my opinion, there should be no debate.  Wilkinson is clearly the next best, and is very close in value to Hodge.  Wilkinson has good speed and quickness for the position, is a surprisingly good athlete, and was very productive at Georgia Tech.
Bray ILB Oregon State Bray is a football player.  However, is a bit of a tweener.  He doesn't have the speed to play in the middle in a 4-3, and doesn't have the size you'd like to play in the middle in a 3-4.  That is why he will fall to day two in the draft.  However, whatever team drafts him will find out that if you play him, he'll produce.  Personally, I would draft him for a 3-4 and know that his hustle and instincts will make up for his lack of size.
Chude ILB Western New Mex Chude, at 6'1", 253 pounds, was a tackling machine in college.  His workout, including a 4.66 forty, 32 bench presses, a 37" vertical, and a 10' long jump, shows he has the athletic ability to move his skill set to the NFL.  He is an intriguing late round prospect who, at a minimum, will be a quality backup and special teams player.
Nande ILB/OLB Miami-Ohio If not for medical concerns (liver condition), Nande would be higher on more draft experts' boards.  Nande has an unbelievable mix of speed (4.51 forty), quickness (4.11 short shuttle), strength (41 lifts), and athleticism (39" vertical, 10'4" long jump).  He can play in the middle, or be a very good strong side linebacker, particularly for a team that plays three fast linebackers, giving them the speed they crave in a true strong-side backer.
Howard OLB UTEP Howard is an incredible athlete and a very good football player.  He is excellent in pursuit against the run, can blitz, and has the ability to cover backs and tight ends.  With all the talent at outside linebacker in this draft, Howard could slip a bit.  However, he will be a star in the NFL.
Havner OLB/ILB UCLA Havner was considered a heady player with limited athletic ability especially when it came to agility getting in and out of his cuts.  Then he ran 4.07 short shuttle and a 6.81 three cone.  That ends that.  Havner has the head and athletic ability to be a solid starting linebacker in the NFL.
Alston OLB/SS Stanford Alston is another outstanding athlete.  He is a bit small for a linebacker, but is very fast (4.4 forty), has good quickness (4.14 short shuttle), and is extremely strong for his size (30 lifts).  Add in his 40" vertical, 11' long jump and 16.5 sacks the last two years at Stanford, and you have a unique talent.  Alston will be a specials teams terror while apprenticing for a starting job at either weak-side linebacker, or strong safety.
Hill CB Clemson Hill is another first round pick who isn't getting his props.  Hill is a better prospect, in my mind, than Pacman Jones a top ten pick last year.  While a but short, Hill has sprinter speed, excellent quickness, and can sky.  With the premium placed on corners, he will be one of the stars that comes out of this draft and is a top 10 talent.  Congratulations in advance to the team that drafts him.
Griffin CB/FS Texas Griffin doesn't have top tier speed but has good size, a nose for the ball, and excellent instincts.  He should be a solid corner, but worst case can slide over to free safety and start there.  Griffin will be a valuable player while players drafted higher than him, with better workout numbers, struggle to get on the field.
Byrum CB Ohio Byrum is a sleeper who played well in the East West Shrine Game and has good speed and quickness, and is very athletic.  Byrum also has excellent cover skills and instincts.  He could be a steal on day two of the draft.
Lay CB Pittsburgh Lay is Ty Law's cousin.  He has good size, excellent quickness, and can cover the larger wide receivers in the league.  However, his speed is only adequate and he needs to show he is willing to mix it up.  Lay is not the typical cornerback who makes my list because this list is suppose to be relatively risk-free, but he is a player who will go late, but could be a long-time starter in the league.
Maxey CB Miami Maxey has good size and speed, but didn't get a chance to start until late in his career.  Maxey is also one of the stronger corners in the draft, and shows good quickness and terrific athleticism.  He may need time to develop, but Maxey has the look of a keeper.
McPhearson CB Maryland It is a know fact that McPhearson is one of the fastest players in the draft.  However, his workout also showed he is strong, quick, and athletic.  McPhearson needs coaching because he will not be able to rely on his athleticism in the NFL as he did in college.  With the right coach, McPhearson could be a star.
Whitner SS/CB Ohio State There is talk that Whitner may get drafted early as a potential corner.  I don't think that will happen because of all of the true corner talent in the draft.  Therefore, as a safety, Whitner may fall.  That would be a mistake.  He is one of the handful of guaranteed, Pro Bowl caliber, long-term starters in the draft.  He is fast, a big hitter, and a playmaker.  Whitner is a player I'd target for my team if I was a NFL GM.
Bullocks SS Nebraska Early in the evaluation process, Bullocks was looked at as a solid, but not spectacular strong safety.  Then he showed excellent skills during Senior Bowl week, and blew everyone away with his Combine workout.  Now you have a very productive player, who can hit, get turnovers, and is a great athlete.  He will be a second round steal for some team.
Slay SS Texas Tech Slay may be the hardest and best hitter in the entire draft.  He will be tremendous as an in-the-box safety, terrorizing anyone who tries to make a play in his zone.  Currently, he is a liability in coverage and he doesn't possess the speed or quickness to improve much.  However, if he can learn to play smart, he could be the next Rodney Harrison.  Worst case, he is a situational player and special teams terror.
Simpson FS South Carolina Somehow, Simpson went from a bottom of round one prospect to an after-thought as a second round pick without playing a game, and while performing well, as expected, in workouts.  Simpson is a playmaker, with good speed and athleticism for a free safety. In fact, he may be the best playmaking free safety in draft.
Watkins FS Florida State Watkins has the skill set to be a special player.  At 6'4" he is a tall safety with good speed and a 41" vertical jump.  He needs to hit the weight room so he can mix it up more against the run.  I project Watkins to develop into a good starting free safety.
Baker FS East Carolina Baker is a bit of an unknown, but falls into a category I love.  He was labeled a smart, heady player who may not have the athletic ability to make it in the NFL.  Then he worked out.  And while Baker is not among the top athletes at the position, his numbers clearly show he has the athleticism to play in the NFL.  Included in those numbers is 4.53 in the forty, 4.15 short shuttle, 6.90 three cone, 16 bench presses, a 39" vertical, and a 10'5" long jump.  Baker has now proved he is a smart heady player who has the athletic ability to use those smarts in the NFL.