Top 40 2007 NFL Prospects

Top 40 2007 NFL Prospects
By Kenny Ortiz
April 26, 2007

  1. Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
    The best wide receiver to come out in 10 years and probably the best overall athlete since Deion Sanders. He’s got hands, speed, size and quickness. But those aren’t even his best attributes. He’s a precise route runner with incredible football instincts. He should be the No.1 pick but will go No. 2 to whatever team trades up to get him (most likely Tampa Bay, San Francisco or Denver).

  2. Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
    I can’t figure out why there’s so much anti-Quinn sentiment out there. Quinn is CLEARLY the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning. A four-year starter from a big-time school, he’s 6-3 and 230-plus pounds. He’s an accurate passer with great touch and great leadership skills. He’s polished and well-coached. He’s very smart and has a great work ethic. He rarely makes mistakes and he’s hard to bring down. He’s got all the intangibles. He’s sensational with throws less than 40 yards. His weakness is that he’s erratic on the longer passes but I think he can work on that. His supporting cast at Notre Dame was AWFUL but he still performed well. The defense was also terrible. Against Michigan, USC, and LSU the defense let up 40-plus points. The Irish were overrated last season but they were still competitive, and it was all because of Brady Quinn.

  3. Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
    The best lineman in the draft. Incredibly athletic! Quick feet, strong legs, great attitude and good football instincts. He’s fundamentally sound and will be effective in run and pass blocking. Never gets beat inside and can move laterally very well. Will have the ability to dominate every defender he faces by using technique and foot movement. Arms are shorter than what teams would like but his legs and athleticism will instantly make him one of the best tackles in the NFL.

  4. Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
    Adrian Peterson is a sensational talent. GM’s are salivating! He’s a very strong, quick-footed, violent runner. He’s a combination of Frank Gore and Thomas Jones. He’s got good break-away speed, while creating his own space. He’s great in the open field and can run over any defender too. His negative is injury risk. With his style of running, it’s only a matter of time before injuries begin to take a toll. He could benefit greatly from sharing carries with another running back. Minnesota could be a perfect fit.

  5. LaRon Landry, S, LSU
    Landry is everything you want in a defensive back. He’s the second-best athlete in the draft, only behind Johnson. He’s a ball hawk with good hands and even better recovery speed. He flies around the field and always seems to be in on the play. He’s a great wrap-up tackler, effective against the run and the pass. He’s only a few pounds away from being a stand-out linebacker and just half-a-step away from being a shut-down corner. Safeties rarely deserve to be drafted in the top 15, especially in a draft with several other quality safeties, but Landry is truly special and worth a top-10 pick.

  6. Gaines Adams, DE, Clemson
    The only true sack-master in the draft this year. He’s got amazing closing speed. Not as good against the run but his great combination of size and speed will help him overcome flaws. He also will need to work on his inside technique but he should be very productive for many years to come.

  7. Alan Branch, DT, Michigan
    He’s a rare blend of size and speed. Probably the quickest 325-pound player to ever come out. Very good technique but has been inconsistent. He’d be a clog in the middle of any defensive line. He has incredible lower body strength and tackling ability. Can collapse the pocket and shed blockers. He’s EASILY top-10 talent but his awful workouts and Pro Day has dropped his stock. Teams have questioned his desire and commitment to playing football at a high level. Will need a good coaching staff to keep him motivated. The Rams could take him at No. 13 or the Chiefs at No. 23, but if they both pass, he could slip all the way down to the Colts at No. 32.

  8. Amobi Okoye, DT, Louisville
    This All-American is possibly the next Warren Sapp! Amobi Okoye has the potential to be special. He’s brilliant on and off the field. Needs to work on his footwork and technique but has a high motor. Can collapse the pocket with strength and explode off the ball with quickness. Has trouble keeping balance and can over-pursue at times, but he is a freak of nature on the field. Also, he’s only 19 years old, which can be both a great positive and a great negative.

  9. Patrick Willis, LB, Ole Miss
    Good all-around, versatile linebacker. Fast, strong, and quick-footed. Has good measurables and great athleticism. Coaches say he’s disciplined and highly motivated. He can play inside or outside. Has great sideline-to-sideline speed and great football instincts. Adequate in coverage. Plays a little too high at times, but that can be corrected. Should be a consistent linebacker for many years to come.

  10. Levi Brown, OT, Penn State
    Brown is a very powerful, mammoth-sized tackle. Has a vicious mean streak and can physically dominate any defender he faces. Lacks quickness but has good footwork and moves very well. Great work ethic and very smart. More suited for basic wham blocking schemes.

  11. JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
    High-risk, high-reward. Physically, he’s the total package! Big, strong, fast and athletic! As an athlete he’s great, but as a passer he’s raw. His college success was due to the incredible supporting cast he had at LSU. He’s erratic but has shown flashes of brilliance at times. He has a ROCKET for an arm but has to work on his touch. He was never a Heisman candidate and played awful in some big games (Florida and Auburn). He had a great game in the Sugar Bowl versus an awful Notre Dame defense, and suddenly he’s Daunte Culpepper? I seriously doubt his ability to be an elite quarterback, and I think he is wildly overrated. He reminds me of a bigger version of Akili Smith (how’d that one turn out?). He’s an incredible athlete but an average passer. He might turn out to be an okay signal caller, but I don’t know. He’ll probably go No. 1, but if I were Al Davis I would pass.

  12. Leon Hall, CB, Michigan
    He’s battle-tested and has all the tools to be a great corner. He’s got quickness, agility, fluid hips, and incredible leaping ability. He’s confident and smart, and rarely gets beat on double moves. Very aggressive and not afraid to be physical. Good open-field tackler. Does lack a speed burst at times. He’s a tweener corner-safety, and is more suited for zone coverage than man-to-man. He is potentially a top-10 pick with both the Falcons and Texans needing secondary help.

  13. Dwayne Bowe, WR, LSU
    He’s got height, size, body control, great leaping ability and speed. He’s tough and physical when needed but doesn’t over-extend himself. He’s a well-polished receiver and makes great cuts. Has adequate hands but he knows how to read defenses well and finds openings in zones. He locates the ball well, attributing to his greatness in the open field. He should be an All-Pro within 3 years.

  14. Paul Posluzny, LB, Penn State
    Extremely instinctive. It’s like he was born to be a linebacker. Overly aggressive, intense, physical, and tough. Great tackler who has good closing speed. Emotional leader on the field. He’s versatile and strong. Has great quickness. Thoroughly understands all offensive schemes he sees. He can play inside or outside, but probably is better suited for the latter. Slightly under-sized and plays a little out of control at times. Also, is just 14 months removed from tearing his PCL and MCL, and didn’t look fully recovered at times. If he had not gotten injured, he might have been a top-5 pick, but instead he’s being rated as a late first-rounder or early second-rounder. That’s a steal. It will take him time to develop but he’ll be a huge value pick for whoever drafts him.

  15. Greg Olsen, TE, Miami
    Best prospect in a weak tight end class. Tall, strong and sure-handed. Possesses very deceptive speed. He’s an adequate blocker. Won’t break too many tackles but has big-play ability.

  16. Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
    Good receiver with great downfield speed, burst, and adequate hands. Has excellent size and knows how to use it. Can out-run and out-jump any defensive back. Makes clean cuts, gets good separation, and uses his large frame properly. He has huge upside and big-play potential, but has some history of injuries and drops. Also needs to improve his route-running precision.

  17. Aaron Ross, CB, Texas
    One of the most underrated players in the draft. He’s got great quickness, good footwork, and great instincts. He’s not super fast but can recover well. An excellent open-field tackler. Can play zone and man coverage. He’s not physical enough and he’s inexperienced, but has great cover skills. He may take more than 2 years to develop but he could become an All-Pro.

  18. Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC
    I might be alone in this but I think he’s really a top-10 talent. He’s the tallest amongst the top receivers, has the biggest frame, strongest upper body, and best body control. He has great hands, runs great routes, has an amazing ability locating the ball in the air, and owns a killer ability to �go get the ball� (ala Terrell Owens). He’s got agility, long arms, and incredible leaping ability. He’s a solid blocker and great on-field leader. He only has one negative, but it’s a big one. He is SLOWWWWWWW! This means he isn’t a downfield threat and doesn’t get great separation. His leaping ability might be enough to compensate, but he’s going to have to learn to utilize his size and height even more than he already does, which might be difficult. He’s another high-risk, high-reward player but, unlike JaMarcus Russell, this is a risk I would actually be willing to take.

  19. Jamaal Anderson, DE, Arkansas
    Anderson is a fluid athlete and solid overall defensive lineman. He’s going to be effective against the run and the pass. He’s got a large frame, long arms, good technique, quick feet, and strong upper-body. Needs to correct a few things and needs to improve his speed if possible. Very good tackler but not great closing speed. Certainly has All-Pro potential.

  20. Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska
    Adam Carriker is taller than 6-6 and happens to be incredibly versatile. He has a slender frame and a very strong upper-body. In fact, he might be the second-strongest player in the draft, only behind Levi Brown. He has great footwork and he’s a great tackler, but he is not a natural pass-rusher and lacks closing speed. His frame says he’s a defensive end, but his skills dictate he ought to be a defensive tackle. He’s got top-15 talent but doesn’t fit into any one position. Some scouts say defensive end or tackle in a 4-3 or maybe even a pass-rushing linebacker in a 3-4. He’s good but he’ll be a little bit of a project for whatever team drafts him.

  21. Michael Bush, RB, Louisville
    One of the most versatile players in this draft. He’s 6-2 and 240-plus pounds. Incredible speed and amazing moves for such a big man. He’s a sensational athlete and natural runner with great vision. He’s quick-footed and well-balanced. He’s a rare blend of agility, patience and power. Lacks break-away speed but is quick enough to succeed in the NFL. Has good hands and is a good blocker. Runs a little upright at times but can easily be a huge impact in the NFL with good coaching. He would be a top-10 pick if it weren’t for the serious leg injury he suffered last year, but he has been given a clean bill of health. He’s currently being projected as an early third-round pick, which would easily make him the steal of the draft.

  22. Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
    Lynch is a good back with big-play threat. He’s got good size and great speed, and can see the field very well. He’s a cut-back runner and a very good receiver out of the backfield, but his potential really depends on what team drafts him, and therefore I think he’s a bit overrated.

  23. Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
    Darrelle Revis is a nice all-around corner. He’s 6-foot, very strong, and he has a nice frame. He’s a good tackler and doesn’t get beat inside often. He’s got great agility, but other than Aaron Ross, he’s the slowest amongst this year’s top corners. Played well this season but was neutralized at times because of his style of play. Needs to be well-coached and work on downfield skills.

  24. Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina
    Rice is another underrated player. Lacks speed, but he’s tall, has great hands, and is a precise route runner. He’s very versatile and can block downfield to help with the running game.

  25. Ted Ginn, Jr., WR, Ohio State
    Ted Ginn is an outstanding playmaker� PERIOD! He has blazing speed. He’s a sensational athlete, with quickness, agility, and incredible burst. He’s an adequate route runner but could use improvements there. Also, he drops too many balls and must improve, but he adds great value to his offense because of his ability to take screens and reverses. He’s also a stand-out player on special teams. He is undersized and lacks bulk, making him an injury risk but a risk worth taking.

  26. Michael Griffin, S, Texas
    Incredibly hard hitter, great athleticism, and great speed. Strong, tough, very physical, and overly aggressive. Locates the ball in the air well and covers a lot of ground. Griffin is a natural playmaker in the defensive backfield, but he’s not super instinctive and is unpolished. His style of play and his lack of size both make him an injury risk. Needs to develop his recognition techniques and needs to put on bulk. Could take a few seasons but can become an All-Pro.

  27. Reggie Nelson, S, Florida
    Smooth, natural athlete with nice strength and a good frame. Another ball-hawk safety with good speed, great quickness, and terrific range. Very versatile, overly aggressive, intense, and a big hitter with average instincts. His work ethic has been questioned. Always in on the play but not a great tackler. He’s unpolished, lacks experience, and has some durability questions.

  28. Trent Edwards, QB, Stanford
    After Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell, the next best quarterback could be any one of four guys and I’m sure every team has a different opinion, but I think Edwards is competing to be the second-best QB prospect with Russell. He’s a big-time player with huge upside. He is 6-4 and 235-plus pounds with a great arm and incredible accuracy. Great passer, with outstanding touch, and timing. Sees the field well and understands the game. Possesses great intangibles. Edwards was stuck behind, what I think, was the worse offensive line in all of Division I football. Sometimes he takes too many risks with the ball, and he’s coming off injury so he’s certainly a bit of a risk but a great prospect nonetheless. He was originally projected to be a third-rounder, but recent rumors have teams looking at him in the second and maybe even in the bottom of the first round.

  29. Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida State
    Solid athlete, great speed, and good quickness. Has a strong nose for the ball. Very versatile and explosive. An outstanding pass rusher and good cover guy. Good hitter and has a nice frame. Should probably add some bulk. He’s raw, lacks experience, and needs to work on his technique quite a bit. Can play downhill as well as sideline-to-sideline. Could play in a 4-3 or 3-4 system.

  30. Brandon Meriweather, S, Miami
    Incredible football instincts and good athleticism. Excellent range and great closing speed. Good against the run and the pass. Can play free safety or strong safety. Good overall cover guy with nice first step and great moves. He’s a dynamic playmaker with great ball skills and few flaws in his game or technique. Lacks bulk and plays recklessly, so he’s a bit of an injury risk. Also, he’s had some major off-field character issues which have hurt his draft stock significantly.

  31. Eric Wright, CB, UNLV
    Good size and nice bulk. Good ball skills. Can read quarterbacks and receivers well. Lacks true downfield speed but is shifty and has excellent closing speed. A bit inexperienced and takes too many chances in man-to-man schemes. Has some character issues which might have teams shy away from him despite his huge upside. Also has the potential to be a solid NFL return man.

  32. Ryan Kalil, C, Southern California
    Best true center in the draft. A strong, quick-footed, leader, who is very smart, and NFL-ready.

  33. Steve Smith, WR, USC
    A smooth natural athlete with good quickness and smart football instincts. Has good spend and good initial burst but doesn’t always seem to know how to use it properly. He’s a little undersized but he is a precise route-runner and simply knows how to get open. He catches everything thrown his way and he’s very good with the ball after the catch, especially in the open field. He’s an average blocker and doesn’t get incredibly involved in plays where he doesn’t get the ball but that can be corrected. Has had some character issues at times which has hurt his stock.
  34. Anthony Spencer, DE, Purdue
    Incredible athlete with good speed. Very smart but lacks a natural ability to shed blockers. He’s a good tackler and he’s technically sound, but slightly undersized. Could be an outside linebacker in a 3-4.

  35. Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan
    Amazing athleticism. Extremely quick-footed, Joe Staley has great speed for a big man. Powerful lower-body and with very smart football instincts. High motor player with great intangibles. Loved and respected by his coaches and teammates. He’s a bit raw and unpolished, largely because of the quality of the football program he played at. Needs to add some bulk too.

  36. Jarvis Moss, DE/OLB, Florida
    Outstanding athlete with excellent agility and great closing speed. He’s a little raw, over-pursues at times and is undersized. He’s a natural pass-rusher and decent in pass coverage too. Doesn’t have a truly defined pro position and can be a liability against the run. Lacks bulk, so therefore durability is a concern. Huge upside but will need the right system and time to develop.

  37. Ben Grubbs, G, Auburn
    Best amongst a lackluster group of offensive guards. Outstanding athlete with great versatility. Can pull nicely and moves laterally very well. Quick learner with adequate size. Could play center if needed. A bit raw and unpolished, but should be a solid pro.

  38. Justin Harrell, DT, Tennessee
    Strong and athletic with great upside. Quick-footed with good size and long arms. Decent frame and could add bulk if needed. He’s tough and versatile, but inconsistent. Has a history of injuries but has played through pain at times. Has shown flashes of brilliance but has yet to put it all together. Great tackler and decent closing speed. Good against the run and solid at disrupting the passing game. Might not be a sack-master in the NFL but will open things up for his teammates.

  39. Tony Hunt, RB, Penn State
    Greatly underrated, Tony Hunt is being projected by some to go in the third round, which is foolish. He’s not an elusive, fancy back, but he’s powerful and shows great balance. He plays upright at times but the bottom line is that Hunt can play football. He can be a workhorse. He lacks the desired �timed-speed� but has nice speed with pads on. He’s a one-cut guy with just enough vision to play behind an average offensive line if needed. He’s smart and reliable. He can also help out the passing game as a receiver out of the backfield. Also blocks well.

  40. Tony Ugoh, OT, Arkansas
    Excellent size, quick-footed, and very powerful. Engages defenders well. Has adequate technique but must improve. Has good football instincts and lots of experience. Can be a solid contributor immediately. Limited upside and still needs to be more aggressive to reach full potential.