Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Big-12 Top Ten Senior Prospects

This is an article I found and wanted to put it on here.
Top 10 Senior Prospects: Big 12

The Big 12 and SEC have battled to be considered the country's premier college football conference the past several years. Examining the former's top senior talent makes it easy to understand why the latter's grip on NCAA supremacy has loosened just a bit.
Three or four players from the Big 12 are typically drafted in the first round, but as many as seven of the players listed below could fit the bill this year.
Add in Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy -- both juniors -- and young Oklahoma State star wide receiver Dez Bryant, and this year's top 32 could have a very strong Big 12 flavor.
And if any of these players fall into the late second or early third round next spring, they should still compete for starting positions in the NFL sooner than later.
A closer look at the top 10 Big 12 seniors eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft:

10. Jordan Shipley, WR, Texas, 6-0, 190, 4.47 40-yard dash: Shipley will not be considered the biggest, fastest or strongest receiver in this year's class. However, his ability to get open for roommate QB Colt McCoy and turn short patterns into long gains using underrated quickness will intrigue scouts. The sixth-year Longhorn should have a long NFL career, much like reliable slot man Brandon Stokley.

9. Darrell Stuckey, SS, Kansas, 5-11, 205, 4.50: What Stuckey lacks in height, he more than makes up for in determination and athleticism. Physical enough to handle playing in the box (98 tackles) and quick enough to makes plays against the pass (five INTs last season) or track down running backs in the open field, the 2008 first-team All-Big 12 pick could be the second safety off the draft board after Southern California star Taylor Mays.

8. Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State, 6-0, 195, 4.44: This Cowboy brings everything a team wants in a starting cornerback: good size, strength and excellent speed. Cox's return skills (2,155 career kickoff return yards, four returned for TDs; 496 punt return yards, one for TD) will contribute not only to special teams, but also give him the chance to change field position on interceptions. The honorable mention All-Big 12 pick has also proven his ball-hawking skills by making six picks and breaking up 21 passes in three seasons.

7. Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri, 6-1, 245, 4.59: An exceedingly confident and reliable open-field tackler, Weatherspoon has accumulated more than 280 stops over the past two seasons. Some NFL scouts will see a bit of Derrick Brooks in this All-American, but others are concerned that he runs around too many blocks instead of taking them on. However, it's hard to ignore that No. 12 is always around the ball whether between the tackles, behind the line or outside the hashes.

6. Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas, 6-4, 239, 4.66: Given his length and speed, Kindle should be in the top three on this list. However, his inconsistency and off-field issues (he recently ran his car into an apartment building while texting-and-driving) might put off NFL teams. He did show flashes of meeting his potential as a rush linebacker during a first-team All-Big 12 season in 2008 (10 sacks). If he continues to improve as a senior, teams -- especially those envisioning him as a 3-4 pass rush specialist -- might find him too valuable to ignore in the mid-first round.

5. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas, 6-3, 210, 4.68: In some years, McCoy would have been in the hunt for a top 10 overall spot (see 2005, Alex Smith; 2002, David Carr; etc.). But given the likely exits of underclassmen Bradford and Mississippi's Jevan Snead, as well as the talent of Florida's Tim Tebow, McCoy might end up as a late first-round value. Teams will have questions about his arm strength (which is more than adequate) and ability to operate from under center, but not his leadership or character. Adding 15 pounds of muscle to his frame before last season while displaying excellent mobility and completing 75 percent of his throws for 34 touchdowns with only eight interceptions (outstanding numbers no matter the offense) raised his stock as a junior. Another campaign like 2008 could push him up team draft boards even further.

4. Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State, 6-6, 305, 5.26: A three-year starter in Stillwater at left (2007-2008) and right tackle (2006), Okung's size and athleticism make him a legitimate first-round prospect. Some league personnel men question his ability to stay with elite defensive ends on the edge, however. He must improve his footwork and balance in pass protection or else his future might be on the right side of the line -- and that could drop him from the top 10 to mid-first round.

3. Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma, 6-5, 308, 5.30: Williams received a second-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee after last season, but hopes to improve that while moving from right to left tackle for his senior year. Named first-team All-Big 12 in his first year as a full-time starter in 2008, Williams has the size and functional strength to dominate at times and is able to negate linebackers at the second level. But concerns about his lack of flexibility and inconsistent footwork will have teams wondering if his best position is on the strong or weak side.

2. Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma, 6-6, 260, 4.78: The highly regarded in-state high school recruit has factored into the Sooners air attack since he stepped onto campus. Gresham garnered All-American status last season with 66 catches for 950 yards and 14 scores in the prolific Oklahoma offense. Pro scouts see him as an all-around player capable of moving the chains and creating mismatches downfield -- something last year's top senior Big 12 tight end pro prospect, Brandon Pettigrew, couldn't say. Although Gresham is considered a primary receiving target and often lines up in the slot, he is a willing edge blocker who is likely to improve with more work in that area.

1. Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska, 6-4, 300, 5.02: A product of parents from Cameroon and Jamaica, Suh is considered by many to be the top senior prospect in America -- at any position. During his junior year in 2008, Suh transformed from potential star to dominant force. He earned first-team All-Big 12 honors by leading his team with 76 tackles, including 16 for loss and 7½ sacks. Unlike many defensive-line prospects who are pigeon-holed as fitting best in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme, Suh's combination of height, strength, agility and effort makes him a threat at the three-technique in a 3-4 or at defensive end in a three-man alignment. Comparisons to NFL All-Pros DT Kevin Williams (Vikings) and DE Richard Seymour (Patriots) are likely to continue as long as he produces at a high level.

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