Feb
06

Brandon Thorn’s 2009 NFL Draft Big Board

Last updated: April 22, 2009

1.       LB Aaron Curry – 6?2? 254 ~ Curry impressed me so much with the combine that he has jumped to the #1 ranked prospect in this draft. This guy can do anything and everything you ask for in a linebacker. He will make an instant impact for whoever drafts him and is my favorite for defensive rookie of the year.

2.   WR Michael Crabtree – 6’3″ 215 ~ Crabtree didn’t participate at the combine but I still am not down on him. What he did in college with the pads on cannot be ignored. He is a dynamic playmaker at receiver who makes big plays in high pressure situations, he is a gamer.

3.   OT Jason Smith – 6?5? 309 ~ This is a guy that looks like the prototypical tackle for the next level. He has one of the more impressive bodies/frames of anybody in the draft and has that mean streak you look for in a franchise tackle. Expect him to go in the top 4 overall picks come draft time.

4.    DE Brian Orakpo – 6?3? 263 ~ Orakpo had a very good combine and to me he has cemented a place in the top 5 picks. He was extremely productive at Texas while going against top competition. He also has the versatility to play in any scheme. *Orakpo looks every bit the part of a bodybuilder/athletic marvel which scouts love. I have heard he is just that and doesn’t have what it takes to play the game very long in the NFL. He has too much going for him (college production, excellent measurables, good work ethic) for me to say he’s going to be a bust, yet I can see how people think he got by in college based off his superior physical abilities, when in the NFL he will need much more than just that to be great.

5.      DT B.J. Raji – 6?2? 337 ~ B.J. was a beast at the Senior Bowl(which I attended) and showed he is nearly impossible to block with just one man. He can play in either the 3-4 as a nose tackle or either tackle spot in the 4-3 defense.

6.      QB Matthew Stafford – 6?3? 235 ~ Stafford will likely be the first pick in the draft but wasn’t even a top 3 college quarterback this past season. He has great potential because of his rifle arm and toughness. His inconsistencies against the good and bad teams in college do scare me a little bit. He might benefit from learning from an established veteran for a year or so before being the full fledged starter.

7.    OT Eugene Monroe – 6?5? 309 ~ Monroe is a special prospect at left tackle. Hailing from the rich tradition of left tackles out of Virginia, Monroe has excellent feet and didn’t give up a single sack this past season. Can afford to get better in the run game and develop more tenacity.

8.    CB Malcolm Jenkins – 6?0? 204 ~ Jenkins has a disappointing combine in many people’s eyes. Malcolm may not blow you away with a fast 40 time in a t-shirt and underwear but when the pads are on he is a true playmaker in the secondary. He has great size and a safeties mindset, he loves to hit and tackle. I love this guys versatility and style of play and how it translates to the next level.

9.      RB Chris “Beanie” Wells – 6?1? 235 ~ Beanie Wells is the prototypical tailback in for the NFL. Great size, a great stride, great leg drive, to go along with one of the nastiest stiffarms I’ve ever seen. The only knock on him is some injuries, but none were very serious. He also averaged 5.8 ypc during his college career.

10.  OT Andre Smith – 6’4″ 335 ~ Andre’s recent decision making skills have really made him take a huge hit in a lot of people’s eyes. Essentially skipping working out at the combine isn’t something I am a fan of at all. I still feel like this guy on tape was the best offensive lineman in the country. Alabama’s offense wasn’t the same against Utah when he was out and it showed. I still want to see him line up at left guard on the next level because there he could be the most dominant. He still is an excellent right tackle prospect and could maybe play left.

11.  RB Knowshon Moreno – 5?11? 217 ~ Moreno is a dynamic player at tailback who can stop and cut on a dime. He’s also very quick while also having that second gear. Can catch the ball and is a willing blocker as well. He has a disappointing 40 time at the combine(4.6) but I never have gotten down on a great football player because he doesn’t run blazingly fast in a straight line with underwear and a t-shirt on. Knowshon recently ran a sub 4.6 at his pro day.

12.  QB Mark Sanchez - 6?3? 227 ~ I know people will be surprised I have Sanchez ranked this low, but he could be great. He has the tools to do it. The fact that he started only one full college season and had one of the greatest defenses in NCAA history on his side doesn’t exactly help Sanchez’s cause. He is a little risky for me to say I’d use a top 10 selection on him. Sometimes we remember what you did last, not collectively as a whole, he was brilliant in his last game against Penn State and that really gave him the credibility to declare for the draft. I think he could be a very good QB in the NFL, just not right away or even in his first couple seasons.

13.  TE Brandon Pettigrew – 6?5? 257 ~ Brandon is the most complete tight end to come out of the college ranks in the last few years. I love his blocking ability which will enable him to stay on the field every down in the NFL. He has good hands and will make the tough catch as well. Reminds me of Heath Miller.

14.  WR Jeremy Maclin – 6?1? 200 ~ J-Mac as I like to call him has all the tools to develop into a serious weapon on the next level. He has good height and a great all-around NFL body. Pair this with track speed and the ability to catch the ball at its high point, he needs to really come into the league with the mindset that he needs to refine his route running and this guy could be one of the best players in the league after a couple seasons.

15. DE/OLB Everette Brown – 6?3? 256 ~ Brown is a pure pass rusher that fires off the line like he was shot out of a cannon. He also has one of the best spin moves I have seen that rivals Dwight Freeney’s on the college level. If he can add a little bulk without losing his quickness, this guy is the ideal 3-4 OLB who can really get after the quarterback.

16.  LB Rey Maualuga – 6?1? 250 ~ This guy is decent in pass coverage and possesses only above average sideline to sideline speed. What Rey brings to the table is simple, he has a knack for finding the ballcarrier and will take on offensive lineman with pleasure. Can be a very effective blitzer in the 3-4. What I like most about him is his intensity and explosiveness. When he finds you he finds you in a very bad mood.

17.  C Alex Mack – 6?4? 312 ~ Mack showed me he is the top center prospect in this draft at the Senior Bowl. He defines prototypical with his size and ability to achor the line. Very polished and has that mean streak you need in your center

18. LB Brian Cushing – 6?3? 243 ~ Cush is very versatile being able to play in any defensive scheme at any of the LB position but is best suited for the outside. He is extremely athletic and will deliver a big hit at any given time. Has great sideline to sideline pursuit ability, and is a smart football player who doesn’t get caught out of position.

19. DE Tyson Jackson – 6?4? 295 ~ Jackson is a classic 3-4 end with his size and strength. He plays the run better then any DE in this draft. His motor has come into question on more then one occasion. He was one of the leaders on the team, so that tells me it could have been his conditioning that was the issue. I like this guy to develop into a reliable player who can impact the running game more then anything.

20. CB Vontae Davis – 6?0? 206 ~ Vontae is the brother of 49ers TE Vernon Davis. Hopefully his career doesn’t unfold the same. Vontae is a spectacular athlete and can really shadow almost any receiver. His ball skills won’t wow you, but he is rarely out of position. He is very good in run support, but not the tackler Jenkins is. He is only 20, so the sky is the limit for this kid. Vontae recently ran a 4.40 at his pro day and posted a 37 ½ inch vertical.

21. OLB Aaron Maybin – 6?4? 249 ~ Of all the underclassmen, Maybin could have afforded another college season more then anybody. Aside from that, he may have the fastest burst off the line of anybody in this draft. That alone has NFL guy’s drooling. Unless you are one of the more successful franchises in the league, you can’t afford to draft this guy any higher then 15 and have to wait 2 or 3 seasons before you get a return on the millions you will have to pay him. * Maybin has gained 25 pounds (252) since his last football game, and he ran a 4.59 & 4.63 at his pro day which significantly improves his draft stock.

22. OT Michael Oher – 6?5? 309 ~ At the Senior Bowl Oher showed excellent mirror skills and very quick feet. What I like most about him is his leg drive, and run blocking ability. He may be the best in that regard out of any tackle side from Andre Smith. Needs to become more consistent.

23. WR Percy Harvin – 5?11? 195 ~ Maybe the best playmaker in this entire draft, Harvin has gamebreaking speed and great quickness. His durability is his biggest concern, but to me he can develop into a Reggie Bush clone on the next level. You can hand him the ball 3-5 times, throw it to him 5-7, and let him return your kicks and be guaranteed at least one big play.

24.  DT Peria Jerry – 6?1? 290 ~ Jerry is built for the 3 technique in a 4-3 defense based on his quickness and pass rush ability. He is very good with his hands and can collapse the pocket with his burst off the line. His ability to hold up against the double team is the only question, but other then that, a very underrated player.

25. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey – 6?2? 212 ~ Heyward-Bey is a big, strong, and extremely athletic wideout. He rarely gets tackled by the first defender and has gamebreaking speed(4.30 at the combine). He also has a decent pair of hands and can go up and get the ball at it’s high point. His route running and defensive recognition will be the key to his success, because physically he has everything you look for.

26. WR Hakeem Nicks – 6?1? 210 ~ Nicks is another big time playmaker at the receiver position. The main differences between him and Heyward-Bey is Nicks isn’t quite as fast on tape, but appears shiftier after the catch. He also has incredible, strong hands.

27. OLB/DE Larry English – 6?2? 274 ~ English is an extremely productive player with great intangibles. He plays the game hard at all times and he has a high football IQ. He showed he is no slouch against the run at the Senior Bowl either. He showed his entire college career that he is one of the most gifted pass rushers there was. He looks very natural in his pads and in the way he plays his position. I just don’t know how much better he can really get.

28. CB Alphonso Smith – 5’9″ 193 ~ Smith is a guy who reminds me of a less physical Antoine Winfield but with better ball skills. With his 21 career interceptions, he is the ACC’s all-time leader in that category. He is extremely athletic and will come up and be effective in run support. I really like his intangibles and his production in college can’t be ignored.

29. C/G Max Unger – 6?4? 309 ~  Max is a very high character guy, who at the Senior Bowl constantly took time out of his day to talk with little kids who approached him asking for his autograph. You would be surprised how many guys didn’t do that. Unger is extremely versatile lineman, with the ability to play center and guard with equal effectiveness. He is also very quick and would fit the zone scheme beautifully.

30. LB James Laurinaitis – 6?2? 244 ~ Here is a guy who plays hard on every down, is a solid tackler, and a big time hitter. He also has the right to say he is a three time All-American which is quite an accomplishment. What I don’t like about James is that he didn’t appear to get much better throughout his career but rather just stayed very good and never becoming great. I have the feeling he is already close to having maxed out his potential but he still can be an effective player at the next level.

31. CB Darius Butler – 5’10” 185 ~ Butler is a guy who can impact the game in more than one way. He not only has incredibly quick feet, he is an instinctive corner who won’t hurt you in the running game either. He also can make a big impact in the return game as well which only helps his stock.

32. LB Clay Matthews – 6’3″ 246 ~ Matthews comes from a rich bloodline which leads people to believe he has the upper hand to be great, which may or may not be true in Clay’s case. A former walk-on at USC, he battled his way to the starting lineup to form one of the best linebacking cores at Southern Cal. Clay also played defensive end, so he can rush the passer very effectively. He also showed at the Senior Bowl that he is an underrated athlete, on the same level as his teammate Brian Cushing. Only started one year at USC, so he is a very unproven college player with very intriguing potential.

33.DT/DE Ziggy Hood – 6’3″ 298 ~ Ziggy is one of the more versatile defensive lineman in this draft. He can play either tackle spot in the 4-3 as well as an end in the 3-4. He is stout at the point of attack, can shed blockers effectively, and has a few nice pass rush moves in his arsenal. Reminds me very much of Ty Warren coming out of college.

34. DE Michael Johnson – 6’7″ 259 ~ Johnson has so much potential that a team could draft him a lot higher than expected based off of that. I really like Michael at the outside linebacker in the 3-4. Since he is very lanky it seems like an ideal fit. He is extremely athletic, can play the flats, and has better recognition and reaction skills then people give him credit for..

35. RB Donald Brown - 5’10” 210 ~ Brown rushed for 2,083 yards and 18 touchdowns his last year in college which was his junior year. Despite the huge numbers Brown isn’t the flashiest player out there which makes his productive that much more impressive. Brown is extremely versatile and can do everything well. He has a very strong character and has gotten by with his high intangibles. Don’t think that is all he has, at the combine Brown ran a 4.51 in the 40, posted a 41.5 inch vertical, and a 10’5 broad jump.

36. DE Robert Ayers - 6’3″ 272 ~ Ayers is a big athletic defensive lineman who can get around the edge with surprising quickness. If he can hold up against the run as effectively as against the pass remains a question. He ran a 4.80 at the combine which isn’t too bad either but not exactly what he needed. For a guy who flew under the radar in college, and wasn’t very productive, he needed to put up big time measurables to be worth a first rounder in my book.

37. S Rashad Johnson – 5?11? 195 ~ Rashad is a former walk-on at Alabama and worked his way to team captain and 2nd team All-American his senior year. He has great intangibles to go along with his excellent ball skills. He was a dynamic playmaker in college against top notch competition and I think it’s just the beginning of what he can do at the next level.

38. S Louis Delmas – 5’11” 197 ~ Louis is arguably the top safety in this class but his ball skills aren’t quite on Rashad Johnson’s level. His biggest impact however will be his big time hitting ability. Not only that, he has nice range and at the Senior Bowl showed good coverage ability as well.

39. WR Kenny Britt – 6’3″ 218 ~ What I like about Britt is his ability to break the first tackle so often, he really can accumulate some impressive YAC(yards after catch). He also will go across the middle and make the tough catch. With his great size and hands, he’s one of the more underrated players in the draft.

40.  S William Moore – 6’0″ 223 ~ Moore is a big safety who has very good closing speed. He can really be effective against the run and has excellent ball skills. Against the pass he tends to hesitate too much, so he will need to be coached up to adjust to a NFL scheme. How quick he can pick up coverages on the next level will determine how successful he will be, because physically he has it all.

41. QB Josh Freeman – 6’6″ 248 ~ I put Freeman this low for a few reasons. First and foremost I haven’t seen him play enough to really have a strong opinion of how he projects to the next level. From what I have seen of him, he has good pocket presence and a great arm. Some say he reminds them of QB Ben Roethlisberger which is some very high praise. With his size and arm strength, one NFL could very easily over value this and select him in the 1st round, but in my opinion he’s a 2nd round prospect at best.

42. RB LeSean McCoy – 5?11? 210 ~ Another guy who would have benefitted a great deal by returning for another season. McCoy does have incredible speed and quickness. He needs to get stronger and add some weight to be considered a feature back in the NFL. He appears to shy away from contact every so often which I don’t like, but nonetheless, this guy’s potential is scary and he is only 20 years old.