Pete Prisco of CBSSportsline.com ranked the top 32 prospects in this year’s NFL draft.
1. Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia: When he throws for the scouts, they will be in awe. There are some who think he locks on to receivers at times. But that can happen to young passers with big arms.
2. Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest: Think Derrick Brooks. He’s a run-and-chase linebacker who has good size at 240 pounds. He might be the cleanest player in the draft, the one with the fewest flaws.
3. B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College: He’s a power player who could not be blocked at the Senior Bowl. At 335 pounds, he also has good quickness.
4. Jason Smith, T, Baylor: This former tight end has great feet and plays with a nasty streak. He is 6-4, 300 pounds and has the frame to get bigger. He’s a better pass blocker, but will get better for the run as he matures.
5. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: He is the next Larry Fitzgerald. He’s big and strong. The once concern with him is his 40 time. But Fitzgerald wasn’t fast either.
6. Eugene Monroe, T, Virginia: He’s another tackle who is better as a pass protector than blocking for the run. Is that a bad thing?
7. Andre Smith, T, Alabama: He played left tackle at Alabama, but some scouts wonder if he’s not more of a right tackle. He’s the best run blocker of the three top tackles, but he has struggled with some speed rushers.
8. Mark Sanchez, QB, USC: He’s accurate, poised and his arm is plenty strong. The knock on him will be that he was a one-hit wonder. Don’t believe it.
9. Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State: He’s a smart cover player who might not have blazing speed, but he plays fast enough. He’s easily the top corner in this draft.
10. Everette Brown, LB-DE, Florida State: Think Dwight Freeney. He’s short at 6-1 but has a great burst off the edge. He might even rise up this board as we go through the process.
Everyone is going to have varying opinions on which prospect is better than the next (everyone is an expert this time of year), but I think that’s a pretty solid top 10. I don’t think Sanchez is a top 10 prospect, but that’s just me. For the amount of talent USC had this year, he certainly didn’t dominate and I think he’s a raw prospect in that he’ll need a couple years to develop.
The guy that could be a steal in the middle of the first round is Illinois cornerback Vontae Davis, who Prisco ranked at No. 15. He’s got better physical skills than Jenkins (the top corner in the draft), but he plays undisciplined and that’s why he’ll drop. A good pro coaching staff could turn Davis into a star.
Tags: 2009 NFL Draft, Aaron Curry Wake Forest, Andre Smith Alabama, B.J. Raji Boston College, Best NFL prospects, Eugene Monroe Virginia, Everette Brown Florida State, Illinois Vontae Davis, Jason Smith Baylor, Malcolm Jenkins Ohio State, Mark Sanchez USC, Matthew Stafford Georgia, Michael Crabtree Texas Tech