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Brock
04-05-2005, 05:03 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/don_banks/04/05/five.draft.movers/2.html

Five up, five down
These prospects are on the move as draft approaches
Posted: Tuesday April 5, 2005 12:09PM; Updated: Tuesday April 5, 2005 4:57PM

We're five weeks past the Scouting Combine, and the majority of collegiate pro days have come and gone. But with 18 days remaining until the San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to make the first pick of the NFL Draft, reputations and fortunes still can be made or lost. Whose stock is rising and whose is on the decline? Based on what we're hearing from around the league, here are five of each:

FIVE ON THE RISE


Jason Campbell, Auburn, Quarterback -- After skipping most of the physical work at the Combine, Campbell needed a solid pro-day showing to back up the perception that he was a first-day prospect. And he delivered, throwing a bevy of on-target passes and launching the deep ball with ease. Most projections now put Campbell somewhere in the second round, depending which teams need for a quarterback to groom.

"He's fairly hot,'' said one league talent scout. "He's a raw, athletic guy who's moving up the ladder. He's probably going to go somewhere between 25 and 45. He's coming off a good year, he's a four-year player and he had great numbers at Auburn. You have to look at him.''

NFL personnel men believe Campbell's stock was greatly enhanced by his year spent with Auburn offensive coordinator Al Borges. While not regarded as an NFL starter the day he walks in the door, Campbell is seen as player who could quickly develop into No. 1 material after a year or two.

"If you took him in the second round, you might look pretty good in a couple years,'' said an AFC personnel man.

Adrian McPherson, Quarterback -- There might not be a more intriguing prospect in this year's draft than the scandal-ridden former Florida State quarterback, who has spent the past two seasons chucking passes in the Arena Football League. McPherson wowed the NFL talent scouts at the Combine in February and turned in a strong pro-day workout last week in South Florida.

McPherson ran a pair of low-4.5 40s and showed off the arm that has most draft observers believing he has moved himself up into the middle of the second round, where he could be the fourth quarterback taken overall. McPherson threw a 70-yard deep out on the money last week, and also flat-footed a 72-yard bomb.

McPherson's character issues have been well documented, but his recent steps have all been positive ones and point to a maturity level he didn't have in Tallahassee. Rest assured someone in the league is going to give him the opportunity to continue his improbable comeback saga.

Matt Jones, Arkansas, Receiver -- Jones has quickly emerged as the ultimate climber of this draft and it's not hard to understand why. The former Razorbacks quarterback has posted freakish numbers this spring. Despite his intriguing size (6-foot-6, 242 pounds), he has run a sub-4.4 40 and has almost a 40-inch vertical leap.

Says one AFC personnel man: "In this draft, [Jones] could definitely sneak into the first round. It might take you a year or two to develop him, because he's a project at receiver, but if you hit with him, you could hit big.''

But cap realities being what they are, Jones is a tricky call. While everybody loves the idea of taking a project player, it takes some moxie to step up and make that kind of wager on the future on the draft's first day.

"If you can't really count on him playing much in the first two years or so, how can you take him in the first two rounds?'' another veteran personnel man said. "He's a great athlete and has great speed, but where do you play him? Right now he's not playing as fast as a receiver because the position is so new to him that he's stopping to think before he moves. He loses some speed at receiver.''

Fabian Washington, Nebraska, Cornerback -- The first round is expected to be heavy with quality cornerbacks, but Washington has climbed the charts a bit because of his eye-popping 40 times on Nebraska's pro day. Washington ran a 4.29 and a 4.31, and had a vertical leap of 41.5 inches. Once considered a borderline first-round prospect at best, Washington could now go in the 18-to-24 range. If there's an early run on the top-rated corners, that number could inch even higher.

With such outstanding jumping ability, Washington is considered the best pure athlete among the first-round cornerbacks, and he's certainly the quickest. His three years of starting experience in a major program are also seen as a huge plus for a team in need of an immediate impact player. Washington is a little on the small side at 5-10 1/2, 188 pounds, but he plays tough and his ball skills compare favorably with any of the other higher-ranked prospects.

Khalif Barnes, Washington, Offensive Tackle -- There's little mystery to Barnes' rising fortunes. It's the law of supply and demand. He's the only legitimate big-time left tackle in the draft, and therefore he's virtually bullet-proof. Barnes has great footwork and is seen as being ready to play the offensive line's toughest position almost immediately. Despite missing the final six games of his senior season with a wrist injury, he's not a question mark because he turned in strong performances at both the Senior Bowl and the Combine.

Unlike many collegiate offensive-line prospects, Barnes seems to excel both in pass protection and run blocking, and he has enough athleticism at 6-5, 311 pounds to be able to hold his own against even the quickest defensive ends in the NFL. Teams such as Baltimore at No. 22 and San Diego at No. 28 are thought to be eyeing him, but it would be an upset if he's still on the board when the Chargers' second first-round pick rolls around.

FIVE FALLING DOWN

Adam Jones, West Virginia, Cornerback -- It's not yet conventional wisdom to put "Pac-Man'' in the falling category, but given that he has been projected to go as high as sixth overall to Tennessee in some mock drafts, we think he's going to end up considerably short of that lofty slot. And short might just be the operative word.

Jones measured a bit over 5-10 at the Combine, but he's still in the category of a small cornerback, and when push comes to shove, this is a league that likes its top cover men to be a little taller than that. It didn't help Jones' cause that he had only an average pro day workout and his ball skills were not judged to be top notch. He ran a 4.47 40, which is good, but for his size, he should have been even a tad faster.

With so many talented cornerbacks available, Jones needs to be head and shoulders better than the likes of Miami's Antrel Rolle and Auburn's Carlos Rogers -- both of whom stand 6-foot or better -- to be the first cornerback taken. We think Rolle will wind up ahead of Jones, and Rogers might wind up pushing him for the No. 2 slot.

Cedric Benson, Texas, Running Back -- Whereas Auburn's Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams have improved their standing during the past six weeks, turning in boffo Combine workouts, Benson largely sat out the Combine and then posted a disappointing pro day showing. He also has personality issues that might echo a little too much of Ricky Williams and his penchant for aloofness.

That said, don't look for Benson to fall below No. 8 Arizona. Cardinals head coach Dennis Green loves powerful north-south runners like Benson, and likely won't be scared away by the questions regarding his temperament.

The Cardinals' thinking is Benson won't time or test as well as Brown or Williams, but he's a better player than he is a workout warrior. He can run people over, keep his feet and his balance, and make the plays that keep the chains moving. He's not going to make as much money in signing bonus as the two Auburn backs, who will both go ahead of him, but he has a chance to be a more productive pro right away.

Dan Cody, Oklahoma, defensive end -- Cody once seemed slotted for the middle to bottom third of the first round, but more than one league personnel man has him slipping into the second round at this point. Some say that although he's a high-motor player and gives you everything he has, Cody was overrated to begin with and is a first-round reach. Scouts like his quickness and athleticism, but believe he might be out-manned against the run in the NFL.

Some off-the-field issues -- such as a bout of depression that Cody reportedly battled -- also concern teams. Put together, the two question marks could result in him being off some teams' first-round boards.

Elton Brown, Virginia, guard -- Brown has been considered the top guard in this year's draft, but that is somewhat tepid praise, because few personnel men believe guards are first-round material. But given a chance to crack the top 32, Brown hasn't exactly turned in the kind of draft season performance that earns favorable reviews.

He didn't work out at the Combine, and left early on the advice of his agent. His pro day showing was underwhelming to say the least. He had just 19 reps in the bench press, ran a 5.79 40 after pulling his left hamstring, and his vertical jump was 26 1/2 inches. If he ever had a chance to improve his standing and tempt some team into taking a first-round chance on him, that window of opportunity has closed.

Run-blocking is Brown's forte, but he really hasn't shown enough in pass protection to warrant more than second-round consideration. In the past two months, he has given teams way too many reasons to shy away from him.

Anttaj Hawthorne, Wisconsin, defensive tackle -- Most early mock drafts had Hawthorne going at the bottom of the first round, not all that far behind top-rated defensive tackle Travis Johnson of Florida State. But Hawthorne has seen some slippage.

Hawthorne is quick for a guy who is so bulky (6-2, 315), but scouts have seen way too much inconsistency on tape to justify anything higher than a second-round investment. He's an ideal tackle in the 4-3 scheme, but with so many teams considering a move to the 3-4 defensive formation, at least on a part-time basis, his timing appears to be poor.

Hawthorne has shown he has the athleticism and explosiveness to make plays in the backfield, but too many holes in his game have been exposed in the scouting process and there's not enough time for him to reverse his slide at this point.

CosmicPal
04-05-2005, 05:24 PM
Good read. :thumb:

From that article, it sounds like Washington would be a steal. Imagine a Cornhusker tandem at DB with Warfield and Washington. Uhhhh, prolly not.

I've been high on Matt Jones, but he's at best, a late first rounder. I'd love to see him fall into the Chiefs hands, but that would only happen if we still had a 2nd round pick.

The rating on PacMan Jones doesn't really surprise me- I've never been enthusiastic about him. I'd rather have a number of the other corners out there on the market....

buddha
04-05-2005, 05:33 PM
Does anybody remember Fabian Washington actually playing at Nebraska? I follow Big 12 football pretty closely and I only have vague memories of the guy. Is this another example of a Nebraska workout warrior who isn't "all that" on the field?

Woodrow Call
04-06-2005, 12:57 AM
I did read that Washington is coming in for a predraft workout. This dude has compiled a pretty solid list on the Chiefs predraft workouts and other prospects the Chiefs have been interested in.

http://www.chiefscoalition.com/Forums/index.php?showtopic=25374

ChiefsCountry
04-06-2005, 01:10 AM
The only thing I remember out of Washingtona & the Cornhuskers D was the 70 pts that Texas Tech put on them.

Pants
04-06-2005, 01:15 AM
The only thing I remember out of Washingtona & the Cornhuskers D was the 70 pts that Texas Tech put on them.

And we almost beat the f*cks the week before they played Nebraska.

Woodrow Call
04-06-2005, 01:23 AM
And we almost beat the f*cks the week before they played Nebraska.

Wasn't KU up 21-5 or something in that game. I remember watching it on TV and thinking there is no way Tech wins that game.

Of coure I remember thinking the same thing when MU was up 14 on Troy so I will STFU .

Uncle_Ted
04-06-2005, 03:07 AM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/don_banks/04/05/five.draft.movers/2.html


Adam Jones, West Virginia, Cornerback -- It's not yet conventional wisdom to put "Pac-Man'' in the falling category, but given that he has been projected to go as high as sixth overall to Tennessee in some mock drafts, we think he's going to end up considerably short of that lofty slot. And short might just be the operative word.

Jones measured a bit over 5-10 at the Combine, but he's still in the category of a small cornerback, and when push comes to shove, this is a league that likes its top cover men to be a little taller than that. It didn't help Jones' cause that he had only an average pro day workout and his ball skills were not judged to be top notch. He ran a 4.47 40, which is good, but for his size, he should have been even a tad faster.

With so many talented cornerbacks available, Jones needs to be head and shoulders better than the likes of Miami's Antrel Rolle and Auburn's Carlos Rogers -- both of whom stand 6-foot or better -- to be the first cornerback taken. We think Rolle will wind up ahead of Jones, and Rogers might wind up pushing him for the No. 2 slot.


Funny how a 5-10 CB is considered "short" by some, while others consider a 6-0 CB as "tall".