2009 NFL Draft Pre-Combine Position Rankings

John LorgeSenior Writer IFebruary 18, 2009

The NFL Draft Combine kicks off Feb. 18, when offensive linemen, tight ends, and special teamers arrive.  From there, the prospects will be measuring their hands, participating in interviews, and showing off their physical attributes and physiques. 

Before we get consumed in vertical jumps and Wonderlic scores, I wanted to set a baseline for where the players stand amongst their peers with my 2009 NFL Draft Pre-Combine Position Rankings. 

I will be ranking the first round talent, giving you a list of players who are looking to prove something, and predicting who will be the superstars of the NFL Draft Combine.


First Round Talent

1. Matthew Stafford, Georgia - Stafford will not participate in drills which will only create more questions about his potential.

2. Mark Sanchez, USC - Doesn't have the experience NFL teams like, but he is a natural leader and is very polished.

3. Josh Freeman, Kansas State - Freeman has been drawing Joe Flacco and JaMarcus Russell comparisons with his size and arm strength, but on the field, he hasn't lived up to those billings.

4. Nate Davis, Ball State - Borderline first round talent, Davis has the arm strength, mobility, and accuracy but lacks ideal height for the NFL.

Looking to Impress

Rhett Bomar, Sam Houston State - Bomar has to say "What if?" when he looks at Sam Bradford, now he needs to show he could have been that guy.

Graham Harrell, Texas Tech - He is slowly bleeding down boards across the NFL.

Combine Superstar

Pat White, West Virginia
- Yes, White is looking to impress, but he will do so by putting the rest of the QBs to shame during testing, only to fuel more WR talks.

Running Backs

First Round Talent

1. Knowshon Moreno, Georgia - Moreno is exactly what NFL teams are looking for in a running back.

2. Chris Wells, Ohio State - Beenie will have to eliminate injury concerns in his exams and impress in his tests.

3. LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh - Not ready to star in a one-back system, but his big-play ability will add lightning to someone’s thunder.

4. Shonn Greene, Iowa - Super-productive in college but doesn't have top-end speed.

Looking to Impress

Javon Ringer, Michigan State
- Looking to move up draft boards with a solid combine; Ringer is an every-down back.

Jeremiah Johnson, Oregon - Johnson could fill a Jerious Norwood role for several teams with his catching ability and quick change of direction.

Rashad Jennings, Liberty - Side-by-side with the big boys, Jennings will succeed with his blue-collar mentality.

Combine Superstar

McCoy - Should edge Moreno in the 40 and display his elite receiving skills and acceleration.

Wide Receivers

First Round Talent

1. Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech - Will not run the 40 but it won't hurt his status.

2. Jeremy Maclin, Missouri - Scouts will be watching his routes closely.

3. Hakeen Nicks, North Carolina
- May drop if his 40 time is not up to par.

4. Percy Harvin, Florida - If he participates in all the events, it will benefit his stock.

5. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland - Has the look of an NFL receiver but cannot afford any drops in workouts.

6. Kenny Britt, Rutgers - Best size out of first-tier receivers.

7. Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma - Needs to prove; he's not just another productive college receiver.

Looking to Impress

Brandon Tate, North Carolina
- Tate was first-ay talent until his injury and he's looking to get back there.

Jarett Dillard, Rice - One of the most productive college WRs in history; takes his small stature to the big stage.

Brandon Gibson, Washington State - Playing for the worst team in college football, Gibson needs to shine in workouts and tests but may not run due to his hamstring.

Ramses Barden, Cal Poly - The combine is the perfect format for Barden to raise his stock.

Derrick Williams, Penn State - Elite WR coming out of high school has dropped to the second tier of talent.

Mike Thomas, Arizona - Playing in the East-West and North-South game, showed he wants to make a team.

Combine Superstars

Dillard - As a junior, jumped 42 inches and said he wants to break 47 at the combine.

Maclin - Expects to run a sub 4.40 40 yard-dash.

Tight Ends

First Round Talent

1. Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State - A head above the rest.

2. Jared Cook, South Carolina

Looking to Impress

Chase Coffman, Missouri - Considered an elite TE this time last year, Coffman needs to show off his receiving ability.

James Casey, Rice - Relatively unknown, Casey needs to make a name for himself.

Combine Superstar

Shawn Nelson, Southern Miss
- On the lighter-side but it will only help his running and jumping.

Offensive Line

First Round Talent

1. Andre Smith, Alabama - Will rely on tests to elevate his status.

2. Eugene Monroe, Virginia - Safest pick of the group.

3. Jason Smith, Baylor - Will draw comparisons to Robert Gallery as draft nears.

4. Michael Oher, Mississippi - Being projected as a RT has dropped him below clear-cut LTs.

5. Duke Robinson, Oklahoma - Mauler, road grater, get out of his way.

6. Alex Mack, California - Senior Bowl elevated Mack to the top center.

7. Eben Britton, Arizona

8. Max Unger, Oregon - Can play every position on the line if needed.

9. Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma
- Giant is the best RT-only prospect in the draft.

10. Jamon Meredith, South Carolina

11. William Beaty, Connecticut

12. Andy Levitre, Oregon State

Looking to Impress

Herman Johnson, Louisiana State - Needs to prove that he’s more than just big.

Louis Vasquez, Texas Tech - Big, strong, and experienced.

Tyronne Green, Auburn

Alex Boone, Ohio State - Has the size and accolades of an NFL player but scouts feel he’s missing the talent.

Combine Superstar

Jason Smith - The former tight end's quick feet will be on display.

Defensive Ends

First Round Talent

1. Brian Orakpo, Texas - Proven and polished.

2. Aaron Maybin, Penn State - Potential hybrid uses length and speed to get sacks.

3. Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech - Highest ceiling of the group.

4. Everette Brown, Florida State - Hybrid with speed to burn, plenty of room to add weight on his frame.

5. Tyson Jackson, Luciana State - Not expected to put on a show at the combine.

6. Paul Kruger, Utah - The combine will be Krugar's coming out party.

Looking to Impress

Robert Ayers, Tennessee - Traditional end will need to show that he can move.

Brandon Williams, Texas Tech - Was coming out early the right move?

Kyle Moore, Southern California - Playing with great LBs masked USC's D-line.

Combine Superstars

Johnson - Giant amongst giants should have best running and jumping numbers of the class.

Orakpo - Should have the best 225 bench of the class and will run and jump at the top too.

Defensive Tackles

First Round Talent

1. B.J. Raji, Boston College - Only elite tackle in the draft.

2. Peria Jerry, Mississippi - His build may create concerns at the combine.

3. Ron Brace, Boston College - Run-tuffer extraordinaire may not test well.

Looking to Impress

Sen'Derrick Marks, Auburn - 3-4 teams will love his versatility.

Evander Hood, Missouri - Ziggy flirted with the first round, a solid combine could generate more of those talks.

Fili Moala, Southern California
- Needs to display his great motor in drills.

Ricky Jean-Francois, Louisiana State - Many feel another year of school would have greatly benefited him.

Combine Superstar

Jarron Gilbert, San Jose State - Lighter than most of the DTs and much more athletic.


First Round Talent

1. Aaron Curry, Wake Forest - Makes elite plays all over the field.

2. Rey Maualuga, Southern California - Many questions about how he will perform in the combine.

3. James Laurinaitis, Ohio State - Should have an eye-opening workout.

4. Brian Cushing, Southern California

5. Clay Matthews, Southern California - Will have the best interviews of the group.

6. Larry English, Northern Illinois - Hybrid is the best pass rusher of the group.

7. Clint Sintim, Virginia - Benefiting from teams switching to the 3-4.

Looking to Impress

Connor Barwin, Cincinnati - Looking to raise into the first tier but it's mighty full.

Nic Harris, Oklahoma - Tweener needs to find his place between S and LB.

Tyrone McKenzie, South Florida - Productive college player is very light at 230 pounds.

Combine Superstar

Cushing - Scouts can't stop talking about his physique.


First Round Talent

1. Malcom Jenkins, Ohio State - Only a poor 40 time will drop his stock.

2. Vontae Davis, Illinois - This is his time to shine.

3. D.J. Moore, Vanderbilt

4. Sean Smith, Utah - Great size makes him a rare prospect.

5. Alphonso Smith, Wake Forest - Makes up for lack of size with plays.

6. Jairus Byrd, Oregon - Imposing corner can play some safety if needed.

7. Darius Butler, Connecticut

Looking to Impress

Cary Harris, Southern California - Needs to prove that he's a starting corner in the NFL.

Asher Allen, Georgia - SEC stopper has typical measurables.

Victor Harris, Virginia Tech - Macho is a man when it comes to coverage.

Mike Mickens, Cincinnati - Has flirted with the first round but his stock has dropped.

Joe Burnett, Central Florida - Can return but needs to prove that he can cover.

Combine Superstar

Davis - If he can do what his brother did, teams won't be able to pass on him.


First Round Talent

1. Louis Delmas, Western Michigan - Senior Bowl put him at the top of the list.

2. William Moore, Missouri - Rare size amongst safety prospects.

3. Rashad Johnson, Alabama - Lacks size so he will need to run some great times.

Looking to Impress

Patrick Chung, Oregon - Very good in run support, but is he fast enough for the NFL?

Kevin Ellison, Southern California - Ready to get out of Taylor Mays' shadow.

Combine Superstar

Moore - Will look like a man amongst boys at weigh-ins.


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