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December 31, 2008
With the 2008 college football season wrapping up, NFL scouting departments are reorganizing their draft boards and refiguring the nation's top prospects. Mike Lombardi, Andrew Brandt and Wes Bunting of the National Football Post put together their list of the top 100 draftable prospects for the 2009 draft.
(* - denotes underclassman)
NFL Draft top 100 prospects
1. WR Michael Crabtree*, Texas Tech
The nation's premiere threat at receiver. He has the entire package and is destined to become one of the NFL's top wide receivers.
2. OT Michael Oher, Ole Miss
A powerful, well-proportioned tackle with light feet and impressive body control on the outside. He possesses the ideal skill set for a NFL left tackle.
3. DE Brian Orakpo, Texas
An explosive athlete with a powerful frame and good flexibility in his lower half. He will be able to rush the passer as a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 outside linebacker.
4. DT Terrence Cody*, Alabama
A massive two-gap nose tackle who eats up blockers and clogs run lanes; he's ideal for a 3-4 defense.
5. OT Andre Smith*, Alabama
A nimble-footed tackle with great body control and agility. He may be best-suited to play on the right side because of his girth.
6. ILB Brandon Spikes*, Florida
A do-it-all linebacker who displays great power in the box and fluidity in space. He's the kind of athlete you can build a defense around.
7. FS Taylor Mays*, USC
A physically imposing safety who can play near the line of scrimmage and has great range against the pass.
8. QB Sam Bradford*, Oklahoma
He's the nation's most accurate passer. He has all the intangibles to mature into a productive NFL quarterback.
9. CB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State
A natural cover man who has the footwork and transition skills to stay with receivers in and out of their breaks.
10. DE Aaron Maybin*, Penn State
This undersized defensive end showcases the first step and the closing speed to consistently get after the passer. He plays a lot more stout than his 245-pound frame would indicate.
11. LB Aaron Curry, Wake Forest
An impressive sideline-to-sideline athlete who tracks the ball well in pursuit. He has good power inside, and plays the run and pass both equally well.
12. TE Jermaine Gresham*, Oklahoma
He possesses the body control and athleticism of a wide receiver with the frame of a big-time tight end.
13. RB Chris Wells*, Ohio State
He exhibits a rare blend of speed, burst and agility for a man of his dimensions (6 feet 1, 230 pounds).
14. DT Gerald McCoy*, Oklahoma
The nation's most disruptive interior lineman. He has a powerful lower body, with the quickness to shoot gaps and make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
15. LB Rey Maualuga, USC
He has the power to fill run lanes and destroy ballcarriers on contact. He is a much better athlete than given credit for.
16. QB Matthew Stafford*, Georgia
He has the physical skill set to make scouts drool, but after a somewhat disappointing junior campaign, questions remain about his accuracy and intangibles.
17. DT B.J. Raji, Boston College
An explosive nose tackle with a great first step and a powerful lower half He has the ability to simply overwhelm offensive linemen at the point of attack.
18. WR Percy Harvin*, Florida
An explosive playmaker in every sense of the word. He can line up at running back or in the slot and will add a lot of versatility to an NFL team's passing attack.
19. DT Peria Jerry, Ole Miss
He has played as well as any defensive tackle in the nation and is really shooting up draft boards. He has good girth, with the quickness to shoot gaps and blow up plays inside.
20. DE George Selvie*, USF
He exhibits the most explosive first step off the line of any defensive end in the country. He is a bit limited with his pass rush repertoire but he is a consistent factor off the edge.
21. OT Eben Britton*, Arizona
A long, smooth-footed tackle who has shot up draft boards. He has all the tools, but lacks any kind of real explosion to his game.
22. CB Vontae Davis*, Illinois
The nation's most athletically gifted corner. Davis displays the size, speed and body control to be a star; he just needs to polish his technique a bit.
23. DE Everette Brown, Florida State
One of the most productive ends in the nation, Brown has a good first step and an excellent motor in pursuit. He uses his hands well on the outside and knows how to turn the corner.
24. OT Eugene Monroe, Virginia
A dancing bear on the outside with good length and smooth feet in pass protection. He needs to continue to add more strength, but he has the quickness to handle speed off the edge.
25. WR Jeremy Maclin*, Missouri
An explosive receiver who has really polished his route-running ability since last season. He is dynamic with the ball in his hands and is a constant vertical threat.
26. OT Russell Okung*, Oklahoma State
He is a bit undersized and needs to add some girth to his frame, but Okung may have the best feet and body control of any tackle in the nation.
27. DT Sen'Derrick Marks*, Auburn
An undersized, quick-twitch tackle who makes a living in opponents' backfields. He has an explosive first step and the lower-body strength to fight through blocks.
28. OT Trent Williams*, Oklahoma
Blessed with the feet of a left tackle and the size and power of a right tackle, Williams will continue to shoot up draft boards after a dominant 2008 campaign.
29. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey*, Maryland
One of the premier vertical threats in the draft, Heyward-Bey combines size (6-2) and speed (4.35) to consistently get down the field and create big plays.
30. LB James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
A smart, instinctive linebacker who has a nose for the ball. He plays the game the way it is supposed to be played and relies on his technique and smarts to make up for his physical shortcomings.
31. RB Knowshon Moreno*, Georgia
One of the most instinctive runners to come along in years, Moreno has great vision and the ability to run between the tackles and create plays in the open field.
32. CB Sean Smith*, Utah
He's 6-3 and scouts still are tying to determine his position at the next level. He exhibits the fluidly and body control to become a top press corner in the NFL.
33. RB LeSean McCoy*, Pittsburgh
He's blessed with rare quickness and "wiggle." McCoy has the type of athleticism to be an X-factor in the run game at the next level.
34. OT Jason Smith, Baylor
This former tight end has made a smooth transition to tackle and displays some of the best feet in the country. He still is working on his technique, but you can't ignore his natural athleticism.
35. TE Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State
The most polished tight end prospect in this year's draft. He can hurt you in the passing game and he also is a physical blocker.
36. DE Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech
A tall, angular pass rusher with a great first step and closing speed off the edge. While his production has yet to match his physical tools, he has a ton of upside.
37. OLB Mark Herzlich*, Boston College
A versatile outside linebacker who has a good first step. He can get after the quarterback as a 3-4 outside linebacker or play the strongside in a 4-3.
38. G Duke Robinson, Oklahoma
A massive guard prospect with smooth feet and good body control. He could be the first guard off the board and can be penciled in to start for the next 10 years.
39. DE Corey Wootton*, Northwestern
A long, angular defensive end who plays with good leverage and uses his hands well to shed blocks. He knows how to slip blockers.
40. LB Antonio Coleman*, Auburn
A thick, powerfully built (6-2, 254) linebacker who can stack and shed inside the box; he also has the feet and re-direction skills to hold his own in space.
41. CB Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest
An undersized corner (5-9) who makes up for his lack of height with great awareness and re-direction skills. He gets in and out of his breaks as well as any corner in the draft.
42. LB Brian Cushing, USC
A versatile athlete who will be able to line up at an array of positions at the next level, which will only help his draft stock.
43. DE Greg Hardy*, Ole Miss
A talented pass rusher who has the ability to reach the corner or stunt inside with an impressive counter move.
44. G Herman Johnson, LSU
A massive in-line blocker who showcases impressive body control and feet for his size. He gets good push in the running game and absolutely engulfs defenders against the pass.
45. CB D.J. Moore*, Vanderbilt
An athletically gifted corner with great feet and re-direction skills in and out of his breaks. He has the feet to stay with NFL receivers, but is too easily boxed out of plays.
46. WR Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina
A thick, well-built receiver with great ball skills and body control. He lacks great speed but knows how to make plays with the ball in his hands.
47. OT Ciron Black*, LSU
He has great feet and showcases an ability to re-direct in space. He may be best-suited to play on the right side in the NFL.
48. QB Mark Sanchez*, USC
Sanchez still needs more polish, but he has the arm strength and accuracy from the pocket to warrant late first-round consideration.
49. RB C.J. Spiller*, Clemson
A two-stepper who gets up to speed instantly. He has the "wiggle" and body control to consistently make defenders miss in the open field.
50. C/T Max Unger, Oregon
This left tackle-turned-center possesses elite feet inside and has the versatility to play just about any position on the line.
51. RB Shonn Greene*, Iowa
A productive back who has good quickness and lateral mobility for his size. He is a powerful, downhill back who knows how to carry the load between the tackles.
52. WR Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma
A smooth route runner who gets in and out of his breaks quickly and shows the burst to separate on all levels of the field. He has the potential to be a poor man's Reggie Wayne.
53. G Sergio Render*, Virginia Tech
A stout, powerfully built guard with good feet and re-direction skills inside. He has the athleticism and power to contribute in any kind of blocking scheme.
54. C Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas
He displays great feet and athletic ability for his size (6-4, 314), but doesn't have the kind of power his dimensions would indicate.
55. LB Sean Weatherspoon*, Missouri
He's a sideline-to-sideline linebacker with good straight-line speed and fluidity in coverage. He has a nose for the ball, but can be overwhelmed and washed out at the line of scrimmage.
56. TE Jared Cook*, South Carolina
A big, athletic tight end prospect who displays a lot of upside as a receiver. He is far from a finished product but has the athleticism to cause mismatches in the secondary.
57. OLB Clint Sintim, Virginia
A 3-4 outside linebacker prospect who has good power on the outside and impressive closing speed off the edge. He knows how to get after the quarterback and has experience playing in Al Groh's 3-4 defense.
58. QB Tim Tebow*, Florida
A physical leader who has put together two of the most impressive statistical years in college football history. The position he will play at the next level is still up in the air, but you can't count out a guy with his kind of passion.
59. WR Brandon LaFell*, LSU
LaFell was productive this season, especially considering all the struggles LSU's offense endured. He has a big frame and the ball skills and speed to handle the rigors of being a team's top wideout at the next level.
60. DT Fili Moala, USC
He displays good athleticism and burst off the ball, with the power to drive lineman into the backfield. He lacks lateral mobility, and if Moala doesn't win the battle with his first step, he really struggles.
61. DE Brandon Graham*, Michigan
A stocky, powerful end with good first-step quickness and the ability to get under blockers and dip around the edge. He plays both the run and pass well.
62. TE Chase Coffman, Missouri
A natural receiver who loves to fight for the ball and craves contact. He has the power and aggressive nature to become a sound blocker at the next level.
63. CB Trevard Lindley*, Kentucky
A tall, thin-bodied corner with good deep speed and body control down the field. A bit raw but has great ball skills and make a lot of plays on all levels of the field.
64. WR Kenny Britt*, Rutgers
A physically built athlete with the size (6-4) and speed to (4.5) to develop into a go-to receiver at the next level.
65. LB Connor Barwin, Cincinnati
This former tight end has made quite the transition to defensive end as a senior. He is tough and instinctive and has the ability to rush the passer as a linebacker in the 3-4.
66. G John Jerry*, Ole Miss
A massive (6-5/348) guard prospect who plays with good bend and can really move defenders off the ball in the running game. He's an ideal fit for a power-blocking scheme.
67. OLB Eric Norwood, South Carolina
A short, stout (6-0/267) athlete who will make the transition to a pass-rushing outside linebacker in the 3-4. He exhibits great lower-body strength, and has the flexibility to dip his hips to turn the corner on tackles.
68. FS William Moore, Missouri
His play has declined a bit as a senior, as he hasn't shown the same type of physical, ball-hawking ability he did in the past. He will need a good Senior Bowl showing to move back up draft boards.
69. DT Ndamukong Suh*, Nebraska
He has a quick first step off the snap and plays with good leverage and power inside. He has the ability to shoot gaps and can engage and slip blockers against the run.
70 . CB Victor Harris, Virginia Tech
He lacks technique and isn't the most fluid of corners, but he has the ability to close quickly and make plays on the ball.
71. RB Javon Ringer, Michigan State
A compact, well-proportioned back with good quickness and burst through the hole. He has a lot of wear on his tires and will need to work in a running back-by-committee at the next level.
72. CB Mike Mickens, Cincinnati
A tall, angular corner with good length and ball awareness out of his transition. He needs to work on his technique.
73. LB Sergio Kindle*, Texas
A big, physical linebacker with the girth and power to play inside the box and the speed and burst to make plays on the perimeter.
74. LB Jerry Hughes*, TCU
An undersized pass rusher with the first-step quickness to attack the edge. He uses his hands well on his outside rush, but may need to make the transition from end to a 3-4 outside linebacker.
75. C Alex Mack, California
A tough, physical lineman who loves to maul defenders in the running game.
76. DT Ziggy Hood, Missouri
He has a good first step and plays with a motor that runs non-stop. He has good lateral mobility and uses his hands well to shed blocks.
77. LB Joe Pawelek*, Baylor
An instinctive athlete who does a great job getting a deep drop down the seam and reading the quarterback's eyes. He has impressive range and makes a lot of plays in pass coverage.
78. WR Derrick Williams, Penn State
A gifted athlete, but his production never has matched the skill. A real boom-or-bust prospect who will be selected a lot higher than many think because of his upside.
79. DE Tyson Jackson, LSU
He has the girth and power to control blockers at the point of attack. Jackson has the makings of a five-technique defensive end in the 3-4.
80. OLB Larry English, Northern Illinois
An explosive pass rusher who needs to play outside linebacker in the 3-4 to be successful. He lacks the flexibility and bend to really coil up and attack the edge from a three-point stance.
81. FS Derek Pegues, Mississippi State
A bit thinned frame, but Pegues has great instincts and a nose for the ball. He will be an ideal centerfield-type rover.
82. RB Donald Brown*, Connecticut
He displays a nice skill set, but needs to learn to run behind his pads more. He reminds some scouts of Oakland Raiders running back Justin Fargas.
83. LB Tyrone McKenzie, USF
He's an explosive athlete who runs well and can pack a punch on contact. He needs to improve his technique and instincts, but has all the athletic tools to make it.
84. SS Patrick Chung, Oregon
A physical in-the-box safety who can really play the run at the line of scrimmage. He is quick to attack downhill, and will be at his best playing the "Cover 3" role.
85. LB Clay Matthews, USC
A hybrid 3-4 outside linebacker who has really blossomed this season, his first as a starter. He plays with passion and knows how to rush the passer.
86. LB Rico McCoy*, Tennessee
He's an undersized but explosive linebacker who re-directs and moves as well as any linebacker in the country. But he lacks girth and will struggle near the line of scrimmage.
87. WR Eric Decker*, Minnesota
A natural receiver who has great ball skills and route-running ability. He's a nice-sized target but lacks the vertical speed to consistently threaten downfield.
88. DE Willie Young*, NC State
An athletic, long-limbed pass rusher with good body control and burst off the edge.
89. LB Gerald McRath*, Southern Miss
A physical inside plugger with good instincts and power at the point of attack. He moves well in space and has the hips to re-direct at ease.
90. SS Emanuel Cook*, South Carolina
An underrated strong safety prospect who plays with more power than his body and frame would indicate.
91. DT Ricky Jean-Francois*, LSU
He has the physical tools and athletic ability to be a top-15 prospect, but he lacks technique and has a tendency to play too high and get washed out of plays.
92. DE Brandon Lang*, Troy
A talented pass rusher who may be a bit overrated because of the success of past Troy defensive ends DeMarcus Ware and Osi Umenyiora.
93. WR Mohamed Massaquoi, Georgia
He has improved significantly over the past two seasons and uses his big body well to work the middle of the field. But he needs to add more girth if he wants to become a possession-type receiver at the next level.
94. G Trevor Canfield, Cincinnati
A tough, athletic guard who plays with a mean streak inside. He has good feet and the ability to fight and scrap in the running game.
95. CB Jairus Byrd*, Oregon
A tall, well-built corner with great ball skills and a smooth transition. He lacks deep speed (4.58) and may need to play in a "Cover 2" scheme to mask it.
96. DE Jermaine Cunningham*, Florida
He didn't quite have the season many expected, but Cunningham is a powerful end who plays with good leverage and displays the burst to get after the passer.
97. WR Louis Murphy, Florida
He's an explosive vertical threat with blazing speed (4.38) for his size (6-2). But he isn't a real fluid route runner and is more of a one-trick pony at this stage.
98. QB Nate Davis*, Ball State
He's an overrated MAC quarterback who lacks the kind of arm strength many scouts give him credit for. He isn't consistently asked to make many post-snap reads and will have a steep learning curve in the NFL.
99. G/T Andy Levitre, Oregon State
He played left tackle this season for the Beavers and displays excellent feet and athleticism on the edge. He has the bulk to play inside and will be a versatile starter on the left side in the NFL.
100. QB Josh Freeman*, Kansas State
He will be way overvalued because of his raw physical skills; he has a ways to go before he can step foot on an NFL field.
Nationalfootballpost.com is a football insider Web site featuring Andrew Brandt, the vice president of the Green Bay Packers for the past nine years, and Michael Lombardi, who has worked in NFL front offices for 22 years, including nine years with Cleveland and eight with Oakland.