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Top Feature Backs Knowshon Moreno & Donald Brown Chosen in First Round
Photo - Brian Cushing - Southern Cal
New Jersey has always supplied college football with premier talent that has helped teams like Penn St and Southern Cal compete for national titles. This year the Jersey college talent converted into seven #1 picks in the NFL Draft 2009, including two prospects in the top ten overall selections. OT Eugene Monroe and NT B.J. Raji were among the elite draft selections this past weekend with each selected among the top ten picks.
The top two running backs, Knowshon Moreno and Donald Brown were selected in the first round. Both prospects are Jersey Shore players who I have been familiar with for the past six seasons and ranked at the top of the class. Each prospect is a talented feature back and carries an early NFL staring grade. Both have excellent intangibles and character, in addition to well rounded running skills.
The Jersey first round contingent fittingly finished with Rutgers wideout Kenny Britt selected by the Tennessee Titans as the 30th overall selection. Britt was the first Rutgers player ever chosen in the 1st round of the NFL Draft.
First Round Selections
Overall - Player - Pos - School
8th Eugene Monroe - OT - Virginia
9th B.J. Raji - DT - Boston College
12th Knowshon Moreno - RB - Georgia
14th Malcolm Jenkins - CB - Ohio St.
15th Brian Cushing - LB - Southern Cal
27th Donald Brown - RB - UConn
30th Kenny Britt - WR - Rutgers
Jersey - Rutgers Players Highlight NFL Draft 2009
Photo - Eugene Monroe - Virginia
Scarlet Scuttlebutt with Keith Sargeant
Scarlet Scuttlebutt caught up recently with Frank Coyle, a nationally-known pro football scout based in Red Back who publishes Draft Insiders’ Digest. In its 18th season, DraftInsiders.com is a website and publication dedicated to the year round coverage of NFL and NCAA Football.
Coyle discussed the NFL Draft prospects of each Rutgers hopeful as well as several other New Jersey products in a Q&A.
Scuttlebutt: Have you ever seen a year like this, where there’s so many New Jersey products scattered through the draft. I mean, seven alone could go in the first round.
Coyle: “No I haven’t to tell you the truth. It’s pretty interesting, especially the running backs — Knowshon (Moreno) and (Donald) Brown and (Shonn) Greene. And then you start factoring the Rutgers kids and B.J. Raji is a kid from North Jersey. Michael Ray Garvin, the kid from Florida State who ran a 4.22. There’s a lot of players.
“You know, Penn State made a 25-year gravy train off New Jersey kids when Rutgers was no good. And obviously Rutgers stepped up, so it’s kind of changed it a bit. But Jersey’s always had a good base of kids. They just never went to Rutgers.
“But I do think the high school talent-level has increased with better coaching, and I think it’s going to be reflected in the draft.”
Scuttlebutt: The Rutgers guys, let’s get them out of the way first. Kenny Britt is obviously the headline guy. Where do you see him going?
Coyle:“Possible late-round guy to the Colts or the Giants, and certainly off the board in the first 10 picks of the second round. A kid who really came on strong after his one-game suspension. Big, good run-after-catch ability, not a true burner but good speed and some good, natural receiving skills. I expect him to play and play well fairly early in his career.”
Scuttlebutt: Tiquan Underwood, Courtney Greene are guys being discussed in the mid-rounds. What do you think of their chances this weekend?
Coyle: “Greene, I like him a lot. I think some inconsistencies probably cost him an early-round grade, but I give him a middle-round grade and I see him being a starting NFL strong safety in the right set. He’s going to have to prove more consistent in coverage but he’s a good player and I think someone in the 4th, 5th round is going to get a real quality safety.
Sidbury is our highest rated small college prospect. He leads our Dirty Dozen List of the top 12 Small College Pro Prospects that will be available in our Update Online Book this week.
Photo - DE/LB Lawrence Sidbury
Lawrence Sidbury #2 - 6’2” 265 lbs. - Richmond - Sp. 4.65
Hindu Theory - Shaun Phillips
Quick relentless senior defensive end has performed well over his small college career, playing a key role in the UR national title last fall. Lawrence is a quick twitch player who gets the most out of his good athleticism and projects to both end and outside linebacker in the NFL. He earned CAA first-team honors over his final two seasons, as one of the more dominant defenders at the lower level. He is fast on the snap to gain a quick advantage over blockers and wins many matchups with relentless effort. As a pass rusher, he comes out of his stance quickly with a strong fast hand punch that jars a blocker and uses his very long reach to keep blockers off his body. He has a sudden burst of speed that allows him to get his shoulder pass a blocker and bend the edge. He flattens out nicely with the burst of speed to finish with big plays. He has fine hand technique that allows him to counter quickly, though he needs development on his footwork and hand use to separate better and more consistently. He has the speed to pursue and makes plays from the backside. In run support, he struggles to play well at the POT and needs to get stronger and better as a technician. He is a high motor undersized end that plays with a lot of intensity, instincts and fine work ethic. He played both at end and up at linebacker in the Spiders defense with impact ability at each position. Despite a top motor, his lack of bulk and size causes him to get bounced around at times at the POT and washed out too often. He may need to rotate in a 4-3 set until he proves capable of playing the run better when directed at him. He can get worn down late in the game vs the run and needs to add bulk before being ready for fulltime duty. He has good change of direction skills with the flexibility and agility to redirect and make plays in space. In space, he is usually under of control and has keeps his feet underneath him to move toward the ball. He needs to be more consistent in his use of leverage and learn more moves for rushing the passer, other than trying to just beat the blocker off the snap with quickness. During his senior year, he started every game and finished the regular season with 11.5 sacks including 4 sacks in the national title victory over Montana. That performance earned him first team CAA honors for the 2nd time and several invites to the major All Star events. As a junior, he started 13 games and totaled 48 tackles, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 PBU including 3 TFL and 4.5 sacks that earned him 1st team CAA honors. Over his career, he started 30 contests and was a two time CAA honoree while recording 145 tackles, 38 TFL, 21sacks, 4 FF and 2 FR. At the combine, he ran 4.55 and 4.56 times, had a 35” VJ, a 10’ BJ and did 28 reps in the lifting. He had decent times in the agility drills to complete a good overall workout. He is the type who best fits an end position in a 4-3 scheme, though undersized and needs to lineup on the weakside. He needs to read plays and blocks quicker with film work development to improve his instincts. He also needs to develop better hand usage playing off blocks in close quarters that would help him to stay more active along the line. He has the athleticism to move to a 3-4 linebacker, but faces a tough learning curve there that will delay early contribution. He needs to show he can drop in coverage and matchup with backs or tight ends. He probably needs a creative coach like Rex Ryan or Bill Belichick to find a niche for him in their front seven as a flexible situational role defender like the Chargers Shaun Phillips. He is the type with good athleticism and toughness, but with ‘tweener size that needs to settle into the proper pro position. Top 100 grade but may fall beyond that in the draft. Clubs like the Ravens, Cardinals and Dolphins interested. Playmaker needs right setting, but he can rush the passer and has a relentless attitude to become a major surprise within a short time.
Over 400 In-Depth Scouting Reports in Draft Insiders' Yearbook 2009 - Available Now
Here is the Yearbook Report - Larry English out two weeks ago.
Photo - Larry English - N. Illinois
Larry English #51 - 6’2” 255 lbs. - N. Illinois - Sp. 4.75 - Rating 88
Hindu Theory - LaMarr Woodley
Fast outside defender is coming off another strong performance that earned him first team MAC honors. Larry has been an impact defender since his breakout sophomore season earning MAC honors his final three seasons and Defensive Player of the Year over his last two seasons. He has lined up at both defensive end and outside linebacker over his career, displaying the quick first step that gives him an advantage off the snap with fine hand and arm technique to flatten out and get to the passer. He has come on strong over his career and is one of the top ‘tweener attack ends/ linebackers in this year’s class. He is ideally suited for the attack linebacker role in the 3-4 defensive scheme with further development. He has actually played more up as a linebacker than with his hand on the ground as an end over his college career. His fast hands and long arms allow him to counter quickly and use his natural leverage vs. offensive tackles whether playing down or up off the edge. He has quick feet and excellent change of direction skills that allow him to redirect fast and recover whether attacking the LOS or dropping in pass coverage. He separates well from blockers that allow him to use his fine closing speed to the ball and make big plays. He has the flexibility to bend the edge and get his shoulders past a blocker with the burst to pressure the passer consistently. He usually wins early on the down and needs development on additional counter moves and better overall strength to separate if his initial move is contained. He has shown the ability to stunt and spin and come back inside with a burst to the QB, but needs further work on that maneuver especially hand usage to separate. He can struggle to shed blockers once his initial move is contained and further counter moves is essential to win starting NFL time. With further hand development, he can compete for playing time as either a situational pass rushing as an end in a 4-3 set or up as a linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He brings the key component from the outside, pressuring the passer off the edge. He has a good level of development with the fire to battle bigger athletes and win many confrontations. In run support, he shows fine functional strength that allows him to hold the POT fairly well, though at times, bigger tackles can engulf him. He struggles to anchor vs the double team and can get washed out at the POA too often at plays directed at him. He is a very good athlete with fine instincts while playing in space either vs the run or the pass. He has the change of direction skills, instincts and speed to cover backs and tight ends with equal success, though he has performed mainly in forward motion. He has improved his hand technique to separate from blockers quicker with the ability to get his shoulder past blockers as an edge defender but needs further work in that key area. As a senior, he started all 13 games displaying fine pass pressure off the edge. Over his final season, he totaled 37 tackles with 16 TFL, 8 sacks, 3FF and 1FR in a fine effort earning 1st team MAC honors and his 2nd Defensive Player of the Year award. As a junior, he had 67 tackles, 17 TFL, 1 FF, 2 PBU and 10.5 sacks while starting all 12 games. His career totals include 233 tackles, 57 TFL and 32 sacks. At the Senior Bowl practices and game, he displayed quickness off the edge and the ability to get after the passer with some ability to counter. He works hard, leads by example and shows fine football intelligence and instincts. He is similar to tweener defenders LaMarr Woodley, Shaun Phillips and Rosevelt Colvin in size, AA and big play ability. At the combine, he checked in at 255 lbs. and had an impressive workout. He ran 4.82 and 4.84 times with a 1.61 time for the ten yard split. He did 24 reps with a 36” VL, 8’11” BJ and a 4.38 short shuttle and 7.26 time in the three cone drill to complete an outstanding performance. He has the ability to start early in the NFL after some improvement in his lower body strength and overall technique, but he should contribute early as a good situational pass rusher. Fast rising top 40-50 prospect and a player in high demand by the 3-4 clubs like the Patriots, Jets, Cardinals and Dolphins. Big play defender with impact ability as a pass rusher and great fit for the attack backer role in a 3-4 defense. Fine early round selection with big upside potential.
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Top 50 Pro Prospects for the NFL Draft ’09
* underclassmen Rating - April 7
Photo - WR Darrius Heyward-Bey - Maryland
1. * Matthew Stafford - QB - Georgia
2. Aaron Curry - LB - Wake Forest
3. * Michael Crabtree - WR - Texas Tech
4. Eugene Monroe - OT - Virginia
5. Brian Orakpo - DE - Texas
6. Jason Smith - OT - Baylor
7. * Mark Sanchez - QB - Southern Cal
8. * Jeremy Maclin - WR - Missouri
9. * Everette Brown - DE - Florida St
10. B.J. Raji - DT - Boston College
11. * Andre Smith - OT - Alabama
12. * Vontae Davis - CB - Illinois
13. * Percy Harvin - WR - Florida
14. Malcolm Jenkins - CB - Ohio St
15 * Darrius Heyward-Bey - WR - Maryland
16. Michael Oher - OT - Ole Miss
17. * Knowshon Moreno - RB - Georgia
18. Brandon Pettigrew - TE - Oklahoma St
19. Brian Cushing - LB - Southern Cal
20. Michael Johnson - DE - Georgia Tech
21. Rey Maualuga - LB - Southern Cal
22. Tyson Jackson - DE - LSU
23. * Chris Wells - RB - Ohio St
24. * Eben Britton - OT - Arizona
25. * Aaron Maybin - DE - Penn St
26. * Josh Freeman - QB - Kansas St
27. Peria Jerry - DT - Mississippi
28. Alphonso Smith - CB - Wake Forest
29. James Laurinaitis - LB - Ohio St
30. * Hakeem Nicks - WR - North Carolina
31. Alex Mack - OC - California
32. Darius Butler - CB - UConn
33. William Beatty - OT - UConn
34. Evander ‘Ziggy’ Hood - DT - Missouri
35. Louis Delmas - S - Western Michigan
36. Clay Matthews - LB - Southern California
37. * Kenny Britt - WR - Rutgers
38. Larry English - DE - Northern Illinois
39. * Sean Smith - CB - Utah
40. Robert Ayers - DE - Tennessee
41. William Moore - FS - Missouri
42. Clint Sintim - LB - Virginia
43. * Donald Brown - RB - UConn
44. * Jared Cook - TE - South Carolina
45. Connor Barwin - DE/TE- Cincinnati
46. Brian Robiskie - WR - Ohio St
47. Max Unger - OL - Oregon
48. * D.J. Moore - CB - Vanderbilt
49. * Jairus Byrd - CB - Oregon
50. * LeSean McCoy - RB - Pittsburgh
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