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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Raiders are on the clock

Detroit's upset win over Dallas gives the first pick in the 2007 NFL draft to the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders need help at every offensive position and will have a tough decision between Brady Quinn, Joe Thomas, Calvin Johnson, or Adrian Peterson.


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Predicting the Underclassmen

Dwayne Wright, Rory Johnson, Luke Smith-Anderson, Chris Henry, Stanley Doughtey, Gary Russell, Eric Wright, and Lawrence Timmons, have all announced they will go pro.

Which other top underclassmen will enter the NFL draft? Below is our best guesses based on rumors, 2006 performance, and opinion.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma - Going pro. He's a probable top 5 pick and a virtual lock to skip his senior season.

Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech - Going pro. Another top 5 pick, who should go pro. However, it's not a lock and there has been a lot of noise from friends and family about the importance of staying in school.

Henne, Hart, Long, Michigan - Staying in school. All announced they will return for senior year.

Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville - Staying in school. Will return for another National Championship and Heisman run.

Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC - Going pro. Not as certain as the start of the season, but should still go pro.

Jackson, Baker, Washington, and Booty, USC - All announced they will return for senior year.

Ted Ginn, WR, Ohio St - Going pro. He won't want to audition for the NFL with a new QB next year at OSU.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Cal - Going pro. Stock way up. A few scouts like him better then Peterson.

Alan Branch, DT, Michigan - Going pro. Could be the top DT.

Sidney Rice, WR, South Carolina - Staying in school. Has already told Spurrier he'll return.

Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU - Will go pro. Stock is up and should be a first rounder.

JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU - Going pro. Has everything scouts look for in a pro QB prospect: size (6-6 250), athleticism and a big time arm. Could challenge Quinn for first QB taken in draft.

Reggie Nelson, S, Florida - Going Pro. Stock way up. Could pass Laron Landry as the best safety prospect.

Colt Brennan, QB, Hawaii - Originally looked to return, now seems to be leaning to going pro.

Limas Sweed, WR, Texas - Announced he will return.

Zach Miller, TE, ASU - Going pro. With coach fired, he's more likely to skip senior year. Best TE in the draft.

Greg Olsen, TE, Miami - Going pro. 2nd best TE in the draft.

Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee - Likely to go pro. Has a daughter to support and should be a late first or early second rounder.

Mario Urrutia, WR, Louisville - Will return to school.

Darrelle Revis, CB, Pitt - Going pro. Could be top CB in draft.


Friday, December 29, 2006

FSU's Timmons will go pro

Florida State linebacker Lawrence Timmons will enter the NFL draft according to to FSU linebackers coach Kevin Steele. also confirmed that Timmons has signed with pro agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Timmons finished with 79 tackles and led the team with 18 tackles for loss. The 6-3, 230 pound linebacker is expected to be a first day pick and could end up in the first round depending on his performance in post-season workouts.

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Lynch impressive in perhaps his final game at Cal

In probably his last game at California, Marshawn Lynch ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Golden Bears to victory in the Holiday Bowl. Most expect Lynch to skip his senior year and enter the 2007 NFL draft.

Look for Lynch to get drafted in the top half of the first round as he is the total package for a running back prospect. He has very good size and is a good interior runner. He also has the elusiveness to make people miss, the speed to outrun defenders, and is a play-maker in the passing game.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Who is Ikaika Alama-Francis?

One NFL draft prospect you might not be familiar with is Ikaika Alama-Francis. Kiper recently ranked Alama-Francis, a defensive end from Hawaii, as his 24th best senior prospect.

Alama-Francis is a raw talent with excellent athleticism. He finished the 2006 season with 10 TFL and 4 sacks. Alama-Francis was an All-State basketball player who spent his first year at UH on the basketball team, before switching to football in his sophomore season. He has gradually added bulk to his 6-foot-6 frame, going from 215 to 290 in three seasons. His father, Joe Francis, was a backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.

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Ohio State's Barton will return

Ohio State junior offensive tackle Kirk Barton announced Wednesday that he will return for his senior season in 2007.

"The best thing for me and my family is for me to stay at Ohio State and continue my college football career as I work toward my degree," Barton said.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Branch still undecided about NFL draft

Michigan defensive tackle Alan Branch is still undecided on whether to enter the draft or return to Michigan for his senior season. While most expect Branch to enter the 2007 NFL draft, where he could be a top ten pick, Branch doesn't sound too sure.

"This semester, I had a lot of fun. Going to the pros, that's a grown-up world, and I don't know if I'm ready for that now," Branch said.

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Sweed to return for senior season

Texas wide receiver Limas Sweed plans to return for his senior season.

"My intentions are to come back," Sweed said Tuesday.

Sweed has 11 touchdown catches this season, one shy of tying the school record held by Roy Williams.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Chris Leak, the other BCS QB

Troy Smith has received all the accolades and is the discussion of numerous draft debates, so what about the opposing quarterback in the BCS championship game? Florida's Chris Leak doesn't posses Smith's athleticism, but is an experienced and productive college quarterback with NFL potential.

He’s been a starter since his true freshman season, playing in the tough SEC. He's had to deal with coaching changes and learn three different offenses (two OCs under Zook and Meyer's), playing well in them all. Leak isn't a spread option QB and playing in Meyer's offense the last two season has actually hurt his draft stock tremendously. He's a classic drop-back pocket passer and could excel in a pro style offense that relies on quick decisions and quick throws.

His biggest weaknesses are his height (only 6') and the lack of a big time arm. Still, he can make all the throws and would be a nice mid-round choice for the right NFL team.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Bucs and Texans win, shake up top picks

Three of the leagues worst teams won on Sunday. The Bucs, Texans and Cardinals all put up wins and hurt their draft position in the process. The Bucs now have the 4th pick, the Cardinals fell to 5th and the Texans to 6th. The big 'winner' of the week, the Browns, moved up into the 3rd spot from the 6th.

The Lions and Raiders locked up the first two picks, although who will pick number one is still too close to call.

The tie breaker for draft position is strength of schedule, with the worst schedule receiving the higher pick.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Keyshawn's advice to Jarrett, stay in school

Former USC receiver Keyshawn Johnson recently commented that, if asked, he would tell receiver Dwayne Jarrett to stay in school.

"He's not ready for the NFL in my opinion," Johnson said. "Any time you go down to Arkansas and you allow those guys to jam you at the line of scrimmage and run poor routes, you're not ready."

It's doubtful Jarrett will listen to Keyshawn. Jarrett hasn't made his decision know, however his silence while all the other USC juniors were announcing they would return speaks volumes. It would also be difficult to see Jarrett pass up the draft when many project he'll be a top 15 pick.

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Eleven defensive linemen now in Kiper's top 25

Mel Kiper now lists eleven defensive lineman in his top 25 seniors. Gaines Adams, Amobi Okoye, Quinn Pitcock, Adam Carriker, DeMarcus Tyler, Turk McBride, LaMarr Woodley, Tim Crowder, Anthony Spencer, Quentin Moses, and Ikaika Alama-Francis are all highly ranked by Kiper. The list doesn't include juniors Alan Branch and Frank Okam who could be up with the best of the lineman if they declared. Should be a deep draft for defensive lineman.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

JaMarcus Russell's decision to impact draft

LSU junior quarterback JaMarcus Russell is expected to be a first round selection should he enter the NFL draft. He has yet to give any indication on what his decision will be, but teams, players, and agents are all anxious to learn if the 6'-6" QB with a cannon for an arm will go pro. If he does, it will change the make up of the entire top of the draft.

The number one overall pick will lose some of it's value as Brady Quinn won't be the only elite QB in the draft. Teams won't want to give up as much to move into the first pick.

Brady Quinn will have some competition for the first QB taken. Most scouts still rank Quinn higher then Russell right now. However, that could change after Russell displays his skills for scouts during the combine and workouts. Some say Russell has one of the strongest arms to ever play the game.

Troy Smith might fall to the second round. The Smith bandwagon has been picking up steam and many consider him a first rounder. That could change with both Quinn and Russell expected to go higher then him.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Florida juniors consider NFL draft

Four University of Florida underclassmen have sent in paperwork to the NFL's Draft Advisory Committee to see where they would project to go in April's draft. Linebacker Brandon Siler, wide receiver Andre Caldwell, defensive end Jarvis Moss, and safety Reggie Nelson are all considering the 2007 NFL draft.

According to previous reports, Nelson will enter the draft and should be a first round selection. It's unknown at this time what the other three will do. Purely speculation, but expect Siler and Caldwell to go pro and Moss to return.

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Quinn and Smith accept Senior Bowl invites

Troy Smith and Brady Quinn will both compete in the Senior Bowl on January 27, 2007. The Senior Bowl is an important pre-draft event featuring the nation's best senior collegiate football stars and top NFL draft prospects. Players are coached by the entire coaching staffs from two NFL teams and practices are attended by over 700 general managers, head coaches, assistant coaches, scouts and other front office personnel. Past Senior Bowls have had a big influence on the draft stock of the top prospects.

For Smith, the weigh in portion of Senior Bowl week could have a huge impact in his draft stock. If his official height is around his listed 6-1, he'll have a good chance of being a first rounder. If he measures up to only 5-11, as rumored, it's doubtful he'll make the first round.

Quinn has less to prove and some may question why he'll even participate in the Senior Bowl. However, NFL personal will appreciate his desire to compete and unless Quinn has a miserable game his draft stock shouldn't be affected.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Poinsettia Bowl prospects to watch

The bowl season gets underway tonight with Texas Christian battling Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl. The game is being televised on ESPN2 at 8PM EST and if you are tuning in keep your eye on these two draft prospects.

Doug Free, OT, Northern Illinois: Free is the best prospect in this game. He is a great pass blocker and an excellent athlete. He easily mirrors defenders moves, and he can get out and block on the move. Free has dropped a little this year, but not because he lacks the talent. A stress fracture in his foot limited his impact. Free has a lot of potential, and should hear his name called at some point on Day One.

Garrett Wolfe, RB, Northern Illinois: Wolfe led the nation in rushing and is a very versatile running back. He has fantastic quickness and agility, and the speed to break off long runs with ease. The obvious knock on Wolfe’s game is his size (5-7, 177). He is extremely small, and it will keep him from being an every down back in the NFL. However, he could be a great third down back and return man in the NFL.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Stanley Doughty going pro

University of South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier confirmed Junior nose tackle Stanley Doughty is going pro.

"He's free to go. He's not here," Spurrier said. "He's going pro. We haven't seen him in a couple days. He's out. He's gone."

The 6-foot, 331-pound Doughty started just 3 games this season for USC and was in and out of the coaches' doghouse all year because of his weight and questionable work ethic. He finished the year with 17 tackles and no sacks. Doughty isn't an elite prospect and reports of his poor work ethic will only hurt his draft stock.

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Arizona's Henry to leave for the NFL draft

University of Arizona starting tailback Chris Henry will declare for the NFL draft, he confirmed Monday afternoon. Henry cited a lack of playing time early in the season as a key reason for making his decision to leave.

Henry has a good combination of size (6-1, 230-pounds) and speed (some report a 4.4 forty), however he didn't produce at Arizona. The junior rushed for 581 yards on 165 carries this season, an average of just 3.5 yards per attempt. He'll need to have an impressive post-season circuit to hear his name called on the first day of the 2007 NFL draft.

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Lions, Raiders, and Bucs sit atop draft

The three worst teams all lost again on Sunday and the top five spots in the draft are currently held by the Lions, Raiders, Bucs, Cardinals, and Texans. In FF's latest NFL mock draft Robert Davis predicts these teams will draft Quinn, Johnson, Adams, Thomas, and Peterson.

The Lions currently have the number one pick over the Raiders due to the strength of schedule tie breaker. The Lions finish the season against the Bears and Cowboys. The Raiders finish with the Chiefs and Jets.


Peter King lists Troy Smith #2 overall

In a recent issue of Sports Illustrated, Peter King's mock has Troy Smith going number two overall to the Oakland Raiders. Troy Smith's stock continues to rise and while he could go in the first round, it seems like a stretch to predict he'll go that high. While scouts love Smith's athleticism they are worried that his lack of height (listed at 6-1, but might be 5-11) could cause problems at the next level.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

UM's Beason and Olsen could declare

Linebacker Jon Beason and tight end Greg Olsen of the University of Miami could enter the NFL draft. Both juniors have left open the posibility of skipping their senior season. Beason is waiting to hear back from the NFL committee about his draft grade and will go pro if he's a first rounder. Olsen did not request an NFL draft grade, but could enter the draft anyways.

Beason is very unlikely to receive a first round grade and should return to Miami. Olsen is more likely to go pro and would be one of the top TEs in the draft if he declares.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Ohio State juniors consider entering NFL draft

Four Ohio State juniors have asked NFL officials for an opinion on their draft status, signaling that they are considering leaving school a year early. Receivers Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez, running back Antonio Pittman and offensive tackle Kirk Barton have sent in NFL paperwork for a draft evaluation.

Most expect Ginn, a probable first rounder, to go pro. Gonzalez doesn't receive the hype that Ginn does, but some scouts feel he's just as talented and could head to the NFL also. Pittman is expected to return to OSU.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Meachem likely to return to Tennessee

Tennessee junior receiver Robert Meachem said he won't go pro unless the NFL draft advisory committee projects him to be a first rounder in the 2007 NFL draft.

“If they say second round, I’ll definitely be back, because nobody wants to go second round. Trust me,” Meachem said. “When you’re beating up your body and doing things like that, nobody wants to be second round.”

It's pretty unlikely that he will receive a first round grade. So, if you take him at his word, expect him to return to Tennessee for his senior season.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jake Long will return for senior year

Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long announced Thursday that he will return to school for his senior season.

“It’s best for me and for the team,” Long said. “I looked into it a little bit, but I never was close to leaving. I really want my degree, and we have unfinished business as a team.”

The first-team All-American was projected to be a top ten pick had he entered the 2007 NFL draft.

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Carriker enters Kiper's top ten

Nebraska defensive end Adam Carriker is now rated #8 on Mel Kiper's latest big board. Carriker is an interesting blend of talent. He has excellent size (6-6 295) and strength, but also has speed and athleticism you normally don't see in someone his size. Carriker has been a productive pass rusher in college, and knows how to get to the quarterback. He had 15.5 sacks over the last two seasons.

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Urrutia leaning toward returning

University of Louisville wide receiver Mario Urrutia said he is leaning toward returning to school next year rather than entering the NFL draft. Urrutia was one of several underclassmen who have requested evaluations from the NFL draft advisory board. He is eligible for the draft as a redshirt sophomore.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Brennan might go pro after all

Hawaii junior quarterback Colt Brennan, who earlier stated he was returning to Hawaii for his senior season, now says he'll consider going pro if he's a first rounder.

"That's a pretty big opportunity and there's no guarantee it (being a first round pick) would be there later" Bennan said. "If they (the NFL advisory board) suggest it, I would have to take a step back and look at things."

Some scouts consider Brennan a first rounder and Kiper recently named him his top junior QB prospect ahead of Brian Brohm.

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Gaines Adams happy with decision to stay

Senior defensive end Gaines Adams, who considered leaving Clemson early for the 2006 NFL draft, finished the season with 10½ sacks and a selection as a first-team All-American. He also improved his draft stock dramatically and is regarded by most scouts as a top 10 pick for the 2007 NFL draft. Needless to say, he is very happy with his decision to stay for his senior season. "This feels great," Adams said. "It shows that I made the right decision coming back."

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Michigan underclassmen decisions

Michigan juniors Alan Branch, Mike Hart, Chad Henne, Shawn Crable and Jake Long have drawn interest from NFL scouts and face the difficult decision on whether to go pro or return to Michigan. Both Henne and Hart told Michigan coach Lloyd Carr they will return for their senior season. However, Branch and Long have yet to announce their plans. Rumors say Branch will go pro and Long is still undecided. Most experts list both players in the their top 10 prospects for the 2007 NFL draft.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Is Ryne Robinson the next Devin Hester?

While it is doubtful that anyone can match Devin Hester's 2006 season as a returner, Ryne Robinson might be the closest thing to Devin Hester in the 2007 NFL draft. Robinson starred as a receiver and returner at Miami of Ohio, where he returned 7 punts for touchdowns. As a receiver he is under-sized and likely won't make a big impact in the NFL. However as a returner, Robinson should excel at the next level and is the best return specialist in the draft.


Lions control first pick

The Lions lost again on Sunday and they have three very losable games to finish out the season: at Green Bay, vs Chicago, and at Dallas. If they manage to lose all three, they should have the first pick in the 2007 NFL draft. Brady Quinn, Joe Thomas, or a trade down are all possibilities for the Lions with the first pick.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

USC's Baker, Washington, and Booty to return

Three USC juniors announced they will return next season: tackle Sam Baker, running back Chauncey Washington, and quarterback John David Booty.

"I've always said the whole season I want to come back," Baker said.

"I'm coming back," Booty said. "There's too much ahead of us and still a lot to learn."

Receiver Dwayne Jarrett said he would wait until after the Rose Bowl to make his decision.

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Peterson will play in Fiesta, last game at OU?

Oklahoma runningback Adrian Peterson returned to practice on Friday and is expected to play in the Fiesta Bowl. Peterson has been out since he broke his collarbone Oct. 14 against Iowa State. The junior is expected to enter the 2007 NFL draft and should be a top ten selection. Peterson has all the skills to be a star in the NFL. He's big and strong, but still has room for more growth. He couples that size with excellent speed, and very good athleticism. The only concern with Peterson is his inability to stay healthy.

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Friday, December 8, 2006

USC's Jackson to return for senior season

USC defensive end Lawrence Jackson told Trojans coach Pete Carroll on Thursday he would return for his senior season. Jackson, who was a preseason All-American, had a disappointing season, recording just four sacks. He will likely improve his draft status by returning for another year.

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Reggie Nelson's stock keeps soaring

Florida safety Reggie Nelson continues to rise on mock drafts, moving into many experts top 15. The junior, who's mom says is going pro, is an attacking safety with big time play-making ability. He has a nose for the ball and finished the season with six interceptions. Nelson is tough and plays bigger than his wiry frame indicates, delivering bone-crushing hits to opposing receivers. See exhibit A in the video below.

Click here for more prospect videos.

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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Troy Smith now in Kiper's top 20

Troy Smith made his first appearance on Kiper's big board this week at number 20. Smith has seen his stock skyrocket this season and could be selected in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft. A big performance during the national championship game could give his stock another boost, as it did for Vince Young last year. Before Young's performance, few considered him a first round talent, let alone a top five pick.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

McCauley's disappointing senior season

Fresno State corner back Marcus McCauley had a disappointing senior season and was benched for his poor play. He was routinely beaten for big plays and didn't record an interception.

McCauley blames his poor performance on distractions and Fresno State head coach Pat Hill said it is common to see agents hanging out in the parking lot outside of the Bulldogs locker room. With teams placing a greater emphasis on character when ranking players, this can only hurt McCauley.

McCauley has the size (6-1, 205 lbs) and speed (4.4 in the 40) to be a dominating corner in the NFL, but is he still a first rounder after his poor senior campaign?

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Troy Smith a Philly option?

With Donovan McNabb's season cut short once again, is it time for the Eagles to draft a QB? One intriguing possibility is Troy Smith. The knock on Smith, his height or lack of it, wouldn't be much of an issue in Philadelphia's west coast offense. Short, mobile QBs have thrived in this offense and Smith has everything else you look for in a franchise QB. He has a good arm, and the ability to make all the throws on the field. Smith shows the willingness to throw the ball from the pocket, and the ability to throw on the move if flushed out. If things break down, he is a great athlete, with the ability to scramble and make plays.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Brohm backtracks, leaves NFL options open

Louisville junior quarterback Brian Brohm said after Saturday’s game that he “definitely expected” to return for his senior season. Now Brohm is backing off that statement, saying that he would keep his NFL options open until after the Orange Bowl. “I definitely want to win a national championship," Brohm said. "but you’ve got to see where you might be picked and weigh all your options to see what is the best thing to do.”

You can expect a lot of this type of activity from junior prospects over the next month as they waiver back and forth over their decision. A lot of them are quick to 'return' to make their college fans happy, only to head to the NFL in the end.

If Brohm declares, he'd be a first round lock and a possible top ten pick.

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Monday, December 4, 2006

Rory Johnson headed to NFL draft

Mississippi linebacker Rory Johnson will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Johnson played just one year for the Rebels after transferring from Hinds Community College. The 6-foot-1, 235-pound linebacker was Ole Miss' second-leading tackler (94) in 2006.

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Kenny Irons Falling Fast

Auburn running back Kenny Irons had a difficult senior season. Battling injuries and inconsistency he was unable to follow up on last season's standout performance. He disappeared against many tough opponents and was only able to crack the 100 yard mark three times, finishing with 821 yards and just 4 TDs. Irons is a solid back, but he doesn't standout in any area. At just 200 lbs he doesn't have the bulk to be a power back and he doesn't have the speed to be a home run threat. He's likely fallen out of the first round and will need impressive post-season workouts to bounce back.

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Sunday, December 3, 2006

Brian Brohm to return for senior season

Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm announced he plans to return in 2007 for his senior season. "I definitely expect to be back next year," said Brohm. His return was predicted and he'll make a run for the National Championship and Heisman trophy next season. Look for Brohm to be a top prospect for the 2008 NFL draft.

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Texans 2007 draft debate

The Houston Texans shocked the world last year by passing on Reggie Bush and selecting Mario Williams with the first overall pick. Houston should have a top five pick for the 2007 draft and the debate has already begun on who they should select.

Do they give up on David Carr and take a shot at Brady Quinn? After passing on Bush, do they add a franchise RB like Adrian Peterson? Or upgrade their defense again with Gaines Adams?

Peterson looks to be the obvious choice, however if Kubiak follows his blueprint from his days as the Denver OC, running back will never be a high selection. Instead he'll choose to develop a low-round RB to fit his system. All his 1000 yd backs were drafted in the 4th round or later, except for one. Terrell Davis (6th Rd), Mike Anderson (6th Rd), Oladis Gary (4th Rd), Reuben Droughns (FA), Clinton Portis (2nd Rd). It seems unlikely they will give up on Carr, so defense could the choice.

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Saturday, December 2, 2006

Trannon skips hoops to heal for draft

Michigan State receiver Matt Trannon told coach Tom Izzo Friday afternoon he doesn't intend to re-join the basketball Spartans. Trannon will instead concentrate on getting healthy in preparation for the NFL draft in April. Trannon will probably switch to TE in the NFL and is currently rated as the number 4 TE prospect by FF's Robert Davis.

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