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National Football League
Draft King Analysis

September 22, 2008
Lou Pickney,

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Ball State WR Dante Love, who was considered to be a possible NFL prospect, is unlikely to ever play football again according to school officials. Love had just caught a pass during the second quarter of Ball State's landmark 42-20 win over Indiana when IU cornerback Chris Adkins waylaid him with a hard hit. Love suffered a cervical spine fracture and a spinal cord injury as a result of the play, and he remains in an Indianapolis hospital as of this writing.

According to Ball State, Love has movement in his extremities, and Ball State coach Brady Hoke said that Love is expected to "have normal and healthy functions" for the rest of his life. He was the NCAA season leader in receiving yards per game at 144.3 going into the IU game.

Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers and the Chargers are off to an 0-2 start. (Icon SMI)
Ball State is 4-0, and the win over Indiana on Saturday was the school's first victory against a university in a BCS conference. However, without Love at receiver and returning kicks (he was #1 all-time in kick return yards at Ball State), the team will be forced to press younger players into service.

The upside-down NFL season ends its week three tonight when the Chargers host the Jets in San Diego. Parity lives in the NFL: just in the AFC, the Bills and Ravens are undefeated, while the Browns and Bengals are winless. San Diego hopes to end its 0-2 start, a bizarre set of circumstances where the team lost two games within the final minute of each contest, including a gut-punch loss at the gun at home against Carolina and a bad call costing them a win in Denver. The Chargers have allowed just three points more than they've scored.

Not to be lost in the blowout win this past Saturday by Alabama over Arkansas was the extremely impressive play of Crimson Tide junior offensive tackle Andre Smith. He has had the look of a franchise left tackle for some time, as he is a strong pass rush defender. But he showed great fire in run-blocking in Fayetteville in opening holes for multiple Alabama running backs, driving defenders back several yards (and out of position) in several plays that I saw. Don't give up on the idea of Smith going #1 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft just yet.

Chris "Beanie" Wells hasn't played for Ohio State since suffering a foot injury against Ohio, but don't think that this would necessarily stop him from being a top-flight prospect for the 2009 NFL Draft. Why? Because Wells is still a standout talent in a draft that will have a below-average running back crop (with so many RBs opting to leave school early for the NFL this past January).

Wells has size rivaling Jonathan Stewart and Jamal Lewis at 6'1" 235. With 4.53 speed Wells isn't a burner like Chris Johnson, but he has shown such great all-around skill from the RB spot that he should remain the top running back in the 2009 NFL Draft -- or the 2010 Draft if he opts to return to Columbus for his senior season.


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