I am mostly concerned with the skill positions (QB, RB, WR) when it comes to the NFL Draft because those are the players that will help your 2009 fantasy football rosters. Here is my first look at the early declarers.
Josh Freeman, Kansas State
6'6″, 250 Lbs.
2008: 2945 yards, 20 TDs, 8 INTs, 58.6% completion percentage
Excellent NFL size with a big arm. Left Kansas State as the school’s all-time leading passer with 8078 yards and 44 TDs. Doesn’t lack confidence. Not exactly a proven winner as he went 14-18 as a starter. He’ll probably be a second or third-round pick unless he blows the scouts away at the combines.
Matthew Stafford, Georgia
6'3″, 237 Lbs.
2008: 3459 yards, 25 TDs, 10 INTs, 61.4% completion percentage
Stafford was heralded out of High School and he didn’t disappoint. He improved each season. Has a very strong arm. He struggled against Florida, but came up big in the Capital One Bowl against Michigan State. He should be a top ten pick, and possibly No. 1 overall if Detroit goes that direction.
Shonn Green, Iowa
5'11″, 235 Lbs.
2008: 1850 yards, 20 TDs
Shonn came out of nowhere after not playing in 2007 and totaling just 69 carries in 2005 & 2006. Doesn’t have great speed (4.58), but has a knack for making plays. He ran for over 100 yards every game this season and had 14 TDs in his last six games including 121 yards and three TDs in a Outback Bowl win over South Carolina.
He only caught eight passes out of the backfield so versatility is not his game. He’ll likely be a second round pick that could vault into the first or slide into the third depending on his workouts.
P.J. Hill, Wisconsin
5'11″, 236 Lbs.
2008: 839 yards, 11 TDs
Hill was awesome start to his career with 1569 yards and 15 TDs in 2006 and 1212 yards and 14 TDs in 2007. He finished 2008 with a bang hitting 100+ yards in four of his last five games while picking up 8 of his 11 TDs.
He finished with just seven receptions. He does not have great speed (4.59) and will likely be a second day pick unless he wows at the Combine.
Knowshon Moreno, Georgia
5'11″, 207 Lbs
2008: 1400 yards, 16 TDs
Knowshon followed up an impressive 2007 campaign (1336 yards, 14 TDs, 20 receptions, 253 yards) by improving in each category. He was inconsistent though gaining 393 yards in six games against Georgia Southern, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech, and Michigan State.
In his other seven games he had 1007 yards. He has pretty good speed (4.48) and is an effective receiver out of the backfield. He’ll probably be one of the top two or three backs taken and should go mid-first round.
Chris Wells, Ohio State
6'1″, 237 Yards
2008: 1197 yards, 8 TDs
Beanie has tons of talent, but durability issues could lower his stock. He was a beast though when he could go. Only Penn State (55 yards) kept him in check. Not a speedster (4.53), but does have big play ability. He’ll likely be a top two RB and should also go in the mid-first round.
Kenny Britt, Rutgers
6'4″, 215 Lbs.
2008: 87 receptions for 1371 yards, 7 TDs
Britt is a nice big target with big play ability. He topped the 100 yard mark 8 times, including six catches for 119 yards and a score in the PapaJohns.com Bowl. Doesn’t have good speed (4.54), but is a great football player.
He finished as the Big East leading receiver with 3043 yards. He’ll probably go in the second or third round. If he can improve his forty time he could improve his stock.
2008: 42 catches for 609 yards, 5 TDs
Not exactly numbers that set the world on fire, but he did add 202 yards on 15 carries. He only registered one 100 yard game and had just 113 yards in the three games to close out his season.
His biggest asset is his 4.37 speed. He’ll likely be a second-round selection who could rise or slide based on his workouts.
Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina
6'1″, 215 Lbs.
2008: 68 catches for 1222 yards and 12 TDs
His eight-catch, 217 yard, three-TD performance in the Meineke Car Care Bowl likely gave him the confidence to test the NFL waters. He had just three 100 yard games in the regular season though.
His amazing catch in that game has led to cult status. He’ll need those hands to make up for his 4.57 speed, which will likely land him in the 2nd or 3rd round if he can’t improve.
For a complete list of declared Underclassmen, check out ESPN.com.