The college football season is over, but the NFL Draft “preseason” has just begun. NFL Draft Expert Matt McGuire will answer questions from the forum on every month. Join the forums and ask him a question!

You can see the first part of Matt McGuire’s 2008 NFL Draft Q&A by clicking on the link.

El Guapo: Who are the best coverage OLBs in the draft?

At the top of the OLB class is No. 55 for the USC Trojans, Keith Rivers. He has great sideline-to-sideline range and isn’t shy (he can hit!). He doesn’t have great coverage, but he has the athleticism to develop in that area at the next level.

A much more fluid player in pass coverage is Ali Highsmith from LSU. He is 6-1, 220, but plays with a lot of speed and has big-time range. Think of him as a slightly less athletic version of Ernie Sims when he came out of Florida State.

Another very good coverage OLB is Xavier Adibi from Virginia Tech. He just might blow up the Combine with a good 40 time, but he lacks bulk and will take some time to develop his body before he can start at the next level.

vbsiena24: Is it ever worth it to “sell the farm” to move up in the first round?

Whenever we think about “selling the farm” in terms of NFL Draft history, it all starts with Mike Ditka trading his entire draft to acquire Ricky Williams in 1999. Two years later, Ditka is gone, they pick Deuce McAllister and the rest is history.

Personally, I believe in acquiring a talent with patience. It’s how teams win. Look at the squads in the NFL this year that we consider elite. Indianpolis has stockpiled their roster with talent through the draft, and not just in the first round. They found their Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders, and Tony Ugoh all in the second round. You find depth for your football team in the later rounds. It’s just not a smart idea unless you are getting a phenomenal deal. The Rams did it in 1997 giving up just third- and fourth-round picks to move up to No. 1 from No. 6 overall to take Orlando Pace.

You can find a really good player to help your team at No. 11 (Patrick Willis) as you can at No. 2 (Calvin Johnson).

ysuallthetime: Who are your top five teams for the 2008 NCAA football season and top five Heisman candidates?

1. Ohio State

2. Georgia

3. Oklahoma

4. Florida

5. USC

1. Tim Tebow

2. Knowshon Moreno

3. Michael Crabtree

4. Chris “Beanie” Wells

5. DeMarco Murray

dweaver44: Matt, I haven’t had a chance to see Red Bryant play this year. Do you think he has the ability to hold up the point of attack on 1-2 downs and become a solid NT in a 3-4 scheme? How about Frank Okam? Just wondering because I haven’t heard of any great NT prospects in this year’s class.

Everyone loves talking about Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis possibly in the 3-4 scheme, and I think they can do it, but the fact of the matter is I am only talking about the top five teams in the draft because that is where they will go (and likely not in 3-4 defenses). To answer your question about Okam, I think he is a better fit outside in the 3-4, which is called a 5-technique.

I think the top nose tackle in this class is Marcus Harrison from Arkansas. He’s an extremely strong player that plays low. Coming in second is Pat Sims from Auburn. He is a really raw prospect because he only played one season really at Auburn, and even then he got limited playing time. Red Bryant has potential, but he struggles with double teams. Likely a second-round pick with his athleticism on his 6-4, 330-pound frame.

Two mid-round guys to look at are Frank Morton from Tulane and Ahtyba Rubin from Iowa State, who had an impressive Senior Bowl. We will learn more about all these prospects’ physiques at the Combine, which certainly helps to see if they can play nose.

49ers fan: Who helped and hurt their stock the most at the post-season games (Senior Bowl, Texas vs. The Nation, etc)?

I think Leodis McKelvin and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie proved they can play with the big boys at the Senior Bowl. Keith Rivers really stood out to me. Josh Johnson looked good in the Hula, but we still need more questions answered about him from the scouts. A lot of people loved Sedrick Ellis, but he didn’t shock me at all. I knew he was a top-four player in this draft for a very long time.

As I predicted, Colt Brennan’s arm is just very, very weak when you put it under the microscope. He checked in at 186 pounds, 10 less than what Hawaii had him listed at. I went into the Senior Bowl with a fifth-round projection, but now I see him as a late-sixth, early-seventh.

Brian Brohm’s stock goes down in my eyes (not the consensus) because he was too scared to compete. I seriously question his intangibles, and his arm strength is below average.

Gosder Cherilus measured in with extremely long arms and hands, but he doesn’t have quick feet. Likely a right tackle in the NFL, I like him as a run blocker but he will let you down from time to time in pass protection. Mixed feelings here but likely a low-first, high-second round pick.

Craig Smith: How will Michigan fans, who have been used to a power-running style of football for at least the last 30 years, react to Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense? And if he can’t make an immediate impact, how long until he wears out his welcome in Ann Arbor?

I think Michigan fans want to win more than watch an NFL offense get beaten by Ohio State year in year out. As far as the offense goes specifically, they want production. While this won’t be a popular opinion if the Wolverins underachieve, I think Rodriguez deserves five years to build a program.

Realistically? I think the boosters give him three years.

Rich Rodriguez head coach of Michigan will soon shred documents

T-minus five years till Rich Rodriguez begins stealing/shredding Michigan documents.

jimmy p: Who will be this year’s combine workout warrior, like last year’s Chris Henry?

As far as a sleepers at the combine, I like RB Allen Patrick from Oklahoma and WR Steve Johnson from Kentucky.

Leo Fender: Rookies nowadays are paid a load of money if they get drafted early. When will we see a salary cap on rookie wages?

Like you, I would like to see guaranteed money set by pick like in the NBA Draft. I’m not sure if it will ever happen because of the Players Association.

giantsfanmike: Outside the two projected first-round safeties in Reggie Smith and Kenny Phillips, who is the best balanced safety in the draft when it comes to coverage skills and stopping the run?

I think Thomas DeCoud of Cal is very underrated and balanced like you said. Probably best fit at free safety, as his pass coverage outweighs his skills against the run (slightly).

Leo Fender: What are the easiest and hardest positions for a rookie to become a starter and make an impact on a team?


1. Runningback

2. Guard

3. Tight End


1. Defensive End

2. Wide Receiver

3. Quarterback

More 2008 NFL Draft Q&A by Matt McGuire

Matt McGuire’s 2008 NFL Mock Draft

Walt’s 2008 NFL Mock Draft

2008 NFL Free Agents

NFL Draft Prospects

NFL Mock Draft Database