As far as quarterbacks go in this year's draft class, Georgia's Matthew Stafford has set the mark.
Although Georgia may have had a down year in some people's eyes, it certainly wasn't due to their offense. Stafford had a 61.4% completion rating, 25 TD passes to 10 INT, passed for over 3,500 yards, and had a QB rating of 153.54, all while playing within Georgia's pro-style offense.
At 6' 3" and 237 lbs, Stafford has good size for an NFL quarterback, and while the Lions seem to be doing everything they can to convince people that they are going in another direction, it would be foolish to pass on a talent like Matthew Stafford.
2. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech
Michael Crabtree has now declared, and without doubt should be the first wide receiver selected in the 2009 NFL draft.
In the NES 24/7 Mock Draft, we have Crabtree going No. 4 overall, to the Seattle Seahawks, and at this point the former Red Raider is a near lock to be gone in the top five.
At 6' 3", Crabtree has great size for a possession receiver, and amazing hands, which were showcased with his 97 receptions as a Red Raider in 2008. He will really turn some heads at the combine if he can turn out a fast 4.4, which is certainly in his range.
The biggest knock on Crabtree seems to be that he is a product of the Texas Tech system, but Crabtree has remained consistent throughout his college career.
"What Crabtree did as a redshirt freshman last year was downright disgusting. Try 134 receptions, 1,962 yards and 22 touchdowns. He had one of his biggest games against Oklahoma, catching 12 balls for 154 yards and a score."
3. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri
Some people I've talked to are a little higher on Florida's Percy Harvin than they are Maclin, but with a great combination of size (6'1"), and speed (4.33), Jeremy Maclin has all the tools a WR needs to become a serious deep threat.
Maclin finished up last season with over 100 receptions, and proved that he can make things happen after the catch, averaging over 12 yards per reception.
If Maclin can improve on his 40 time at the combine we might easily see his value skyrocket above Percy Harvin, and begin to receive top 15 overall consideration.
Behind Crabtree, and maybe Darrius Heyward-Bey out of Maryland, Jeremy Maclin strikes me as the only other wide out in the draft with real franchise player potential.
Maclin has also shown the potential to be an excellent return man, and should be able to provide an instant boost to any team's return game.
While many thought that another year at USC would have done Sanchez the world of good, the news that Sam Bradford would remain in school for another season made it the ideal time for a player such as Sanchez to declare.
Coming out of a strong offensive system, Sanchez put up some incredible numbers, throwing for over 3,200 yards on under 400 attempts, with a completion percentage of almost 66%, and 34 TD to 10 INT.
Don't be at all surprised if the Kansas City Chiefs role the dice on Sanchez at No. 3 overall in this year's draft.
5. Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB, Ohio State
As much as I hate to leave Percy Harvin, Knowshon Moreno, Hakeem Nicks, and Josh Freeman off this list, I think I'd regret it even more if I left out Chris Wells.
At 6' 1", 235 lbs, Wells runs a fast 4.4, and is a very strong downhill runner. Throughout his career as a Buckeye, Wells averaged an impressive 5.7 yards per carry, and while he might not have the speed of fellow backs Knowshon Moreno and LeSean McCoy, he has a great NFL frame, and the uncanny ability to break tackles and absorb contact.
The only true downside to Wells is that he hasn't yet shown he can be a consistent receiving threat out of the backfield, but then again, nor did anyone else on that Ohio State team.
Honorable Mentions & Why They Didn't Make The Cut
Incredible hands, and great speed, but lacks the ideal frame for a No. 1 go to receiver.
He certainly has a solid upside, and I wouldn't be shocked to see a team take a gamble on him in the first round, but as of right now, I see him as the third or fourth best WR in this draft class trailing behind Darrius Heyward-Bey and Hakeem Nicks.
For Harvin's sake, he had better hope that Kenny Britt out of Rutgers doesn't improve too much upon his 40 time.
Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
We have Freeman going in the first round in the NES 24/7 Mock Draft, and I truly feel like this kid has all the tools necessary to be a starting QB in the NFL.
Incredible size, a great arm, with a good feel on his passes, and a very low TD/INT ratio throughout his career, Freeman has shown that he can perform at the college level.
However, it's not his decision making in the passing game that worries me, it's what he tries to do with his feet that raises the red flag in my eyes.
It's not that Josh Freeman can't make things happen with his feet, as he proved that he can against Texas A&M, where he nearly broke the 100 yard rushing mark on 18 attempts, it's his ability to throw on the run that needs to improve.
Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
In terms of talent, Moreno isn't too far off from matching up with Chris Wells. He has the speed, he's proven to be a more consistent receiving target, and not once in his college career has Knowshon Moreno fumbled the ball.
The one, and perhaps only thing that worries me about Moreno is that he is coming out of a somewhat pass heavy offense, led by the consensus first overall selection in this years draft, quarterback Matt Stafford.
However, when all is said and done, Moreno could very well be the best back to be drafted in this years class.
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