As everyone puts the finishing touches on the 2009 NFL Draft, I want to fast-forward and take a sneak peek at 2010.
Scouts felt the top quarterback prospects this year would have benefited from another year of college experience, but with three Heisman finalist quarterbacks staying in school, now was the time to get paid.
Along with the top quarterbacks, there is plenty of talent in the college game this year, and there are always players looking to establish themselves as blue-chip prospects.
Let's take a closer look at some of the seniors with the most to gain and lose over the next college football season from a pro perspective.
Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma
Apparently Bradford didn't want to be a Lion because he was slated as the top pick in the draft before heading back to Norman.
Statistically, the Heisman Trophy winner has been amazing in two seasons with 86 touchdowns and only 16 interceptions. Although Bradford is in an offense-friendly system, it's hard to knock his 68.5 career completion percentage.
At 6'4", 216 pounds, Bradford has a great frame, but he needs to add some bulk because he appeared frail when hit inside the pocket. He does have toughness, however.
For all of the good that comes with Bradford, there are still some uncertainties.
Oklahoma graduated four starting offensive linemen, two being pro picks. The Sooners also graduated three key receivers, including their top receiver, Juaquin Iglesias.
Bradford will be able to rely on his elite tight end, Jermaine Gresham, and his running game, but an inexperienced offensive line will expose Bradford's flaws.
I question Bradford's ability to throw with players in his face. Florida was able to get pressure on him, and he seemed afraid to really step into his throws. I also have concerns about Bradford's arm action, but at 6'4" he can get away with a three-quarters delivery.
It will take an immaculate season for Bradford's stock to get any higher, and scouts will get a more realistic look at him. All of this will give Colt McCoy a chance to unseat Bradford as the highest rated player.
Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
Ten years ago we would be talking about a position change for Tebow in the NFL. Some still think his best fit is as an H-back, but with the emergence of the wildcat offense, teams are very interested—just ask Pat White.
Tebow doesn't necessarily have to be a gimmick player to be successful in the NFL. It is apparent that the Heisman Trophy winner is extremely competitive, and he expects more out of himself than any coach or franchise could. He loves the college game, but Tim Tebow wants to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
This spring Tebow has already taken snaps under center. Coach Urban Meyer says it's to exploit their running game, but the two have a close relationship, and Meyer knows it will benefit Tebow on his journey to the NFL.
Physically, Tebow is amazing. He has a combination of size and strength that is rarely seen at the quarterback position. He has been around 65 percent passing in each of his three seasons and only has 11 career interceptions.
During interviews teams will fall in love with him. With his versatility and dedication to preparation, I am confident that Tebow will propel himself to the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Jerry Hughes, DE/OLB, TCU
First, I commend Hughes for returning to school for his senior season. He gains another year's worth of strength and experience before entering the pros.
That being said, it will be very hard for Hughes to replicate the FBS-leading 15 sacks that he recorded in 2008. Every offense TCU faces will be game-planning to contain Hughes, especially BYU, who he sacked four times.
A drop-off in production will put Hughes' ability into question.
If Hughes were a monster, I would feel more confident about him remaining a top hybrid prospect. At 6'2", 248 pounds, he will need to run a great forty time and display quick hips in his workouts if he wants to avoid being outshined by the more physically impressive prospects like George Selvie and Willie Young.
A slip in the draft may result in a team getting a steal in Hughes.
LeGarrette Blount, RB, Oregon
Blount is one of the more interesting prospects in the 2010 Draft. Coming out of JUCO in Mississippi, Blount choose Oregon over Florida State when Tallahassee is only 50 miles from his hometown of Perry, FL.
Big, physical, and athletic are three adjectives that correctly describe Blount. Reports on his weight fluctuate from 228 to 240 pounds, but at 6'2", and with speed in the 4.5 range, it only adds to his attractiveness.
After sharing time with Jeremiah Johnson in 2008, Blount will be the man in 2009. Last year he broke 1,000 yards on 132 carries (7.3 YPC) and scored 17 touchdowns, displaying his nose for the goal line.
Looking towards the NFL Draft, Blount's pro status would benefit from him being used in the passing game after only catching two balls in '08. I am confident that Blount can be a dual threat because he has good flexibility and is natural with the ball.
The Ducks only threw to Johnson eight times, but in 2006 and 2007 Jonathan Stewart caught 42 balls, which helped to exploit his pass-catching ability, making him a first-round pick.
Look for Blount to burst onto the national spotlight early in the season. Scouts will love him, mainly for his size, as long as he earns a clean sheet in the character category.
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