National Football League
October 22, 2008
Draft King Analysis
Lou Pickney, DraftKing.com
Reader feedback is always welcomed here. Send your thoughts to Draft King at LouPickney@gmail.com.
As you can see in the latest Draft King 2009 mock draft, I finally came around on Sam Bradford being a bona fide top prospect for the 2009 NFL Draft if he happens to turn pro. I strongly suspect that he will return to Oklahoma for his junior season, but we shall see. What would be *really* interesting is if none of the three top prospects at quarterback (Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford, and Tim Tebow) decide to turn pro, since all three are underclassman.
Also in this latest mock is the lack of a listing for Clemson running back C.J. Spiller. However, if Spiller turns pro early and has a good combine, he could end up going toward the end of round one, perhaps even going ahead of Michigan State RB Javon Ringer. And, after the year that Chris Johnson has had, I think that there will be multiple teams looking very closely at speed RBs in the 2009 Draft.
|C.J. Spiller has great speed. (Icon SMI)
In my estimation, Georgia Tech DE Michael Johnson remains the best defensive end prospect for the 2009 Draft. However, Texas DE Brian Orakpo has quickly narrowed the gap, particularly with his spectacular performance against Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry game.
Johnson has unusual height for the position, and there are some who feel that Johnson's ability to potentially play better against the run gives him the edge over Orakpo. But, with Orakpo showing such great skill and intensity this year, he might end up pushing Johnson for the title of top defensive end taken in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Not to be overlooked in the defensive end mix is LSU's Tyson Jackson. He nearly turned pro early, but opted instead to return to Baton Rouge for his senior season. He has the look of a late first-round pick, and he could end up being a very good value pickup with the right team.
At offensive tackle, there is plenty of support out there for Virginia senior offensive tackle Eugene Monroe. Both Monroe and Ole Miss OT Michael Oher are among the top offensive line prospects who will be available in the 2009 Draft. And, if Alabama's Andre Smith and/or LSU OT Ciron Black come out early, it will make things even stronger as far as the offensive line talent level in the draft goes.
With South Carolina OT/OG Jamon Meredith, Oklahoma OG Duke Robinson, and centers Jonathan Luigs (Arkansas) and Alex Mack (Cal) all in the mix (barring injury), it could be a loaded first round for teams needing an offensive lineman. My anticipation is that Alabama's Andre Smith will end up being the top offensive tackle in the draft if he leaves school early, though there are a number of top-notch scouts out there with differing opinion among the three, with Monroe and Oher typically placing ahead of Smith in their projected status. Smith's ability to block downfield I think makes him something really special, but all three tackles project to be quality players on the professional level.
Coming tomorrow: the latest from the Draft King mailbag.