As I'm watching countless hours of game film to compose my 2008 Mock Draft, I caught a glimpse of the future.
Here are my top ten draft eligible college football players for the 2009 Draft.
1. Alex Boone, OT, Ohio State
Boone probably would have gone late in the first round in this year's draft. Another year in Columbus pushes him to the top of my list.
This 6'8", 330-lb behemoth has the bulk to dominate games in the NFL and on film he seems to display rare athleticism for a man his size. If Jake Long is a top-five selection, Boone goes number one in 2009.
2. Chris "Beanie" Wells, RB, Ohio State
I am going to catch a lot of heat for being a Buckeye fan and projecting two Ohio State players to go this high in the 2009 Draft. But the tape doesn't lie.
Beanie has breakaway speed, power, and most impressively, quick feet that makes him elusive with the ability to cut on a dime. Wells should provide some lucky NFL team with 30 carries a game and average 4.5 ypc. My only concern will be how he holds up health-wise his junior year, because the Buckeyes are going to once again ride him all the way to the Big Ten Championship.
3. Myron Rolle, S, Florida State
I usually don't project safeties to go this high in the draft—although in 2005, I had Sean Taylor as the No. 1 player on my board, but Taylor was the best defensive player I have ever seen play college football. (Too young to have seen LT.)
Anyway, Rolle is the closest thing I have seen to Taylor. Physical, aggressive and a heavy hitter. Some will argue that USC's Safety Taylor Mays is a better pro prospect, but right now Rolle holds the higher grade.
4. Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
Maualuga is explosive and brings the wood every Saturday. He needs to play with more control at the next level and improve in coverage, but he should hear his name called early on Draft Day 2009.
He is probably best suited at MLB in a 4-3 scheme in the pros. His athleticism and instincts should allow Maualuga to have a successful NFL career.
5. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida
There are two receivers I am excited to watch play at the next level—Harvin and Penn State's Derrick Williams. Both of them are prototypes of a new generation of NFL wideouts.
No matter where Harvin lines up in the NFL, offensive coordinators will need to find ways to get the ball in his hands. I would love to see him play for the 49ers and see what Mike Martz could do with his rare athletic ability.
6. Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State
I know what you're thinking, another Buckeye, but Jenkins would of been a mid first round pick in this year's draft, had he not returned for his senior season.
Jenkins has the size and speed to take on receivers the likes of Randy Moss and Terrell Owens in the NFL. Another year in Columbus, can only improve his draft status.
7. Phil Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma
Loadholt, well he is a load at 6'8" 350 lbs. This is a projection clearly based on upside. If he is able to improve his footwork and show his ability to pass block he could end up as a top ten pick.
Right now Loadholt is a project, but a solid senior season for the Sooners should garner him some attention from the NFL Scouts.
8. Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Smith was a prep legend coming out of Huffman High School in Alabama. Most people consider him the best pro prospect in college right now. Some scouts have said that Smith is the best college offensive lineman to suit up since Orlando Pace. Lofty praise, I know.
While there is no denying Smith's talent and measureables, I still feel that Smith is still a bit raw and needs a solid junior year for the Crimson Tide before he ascends to the top of this list.
9. James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State
Yes, more Buckeyes. "Little Animal" would have been a top 10 selection in 2008, but I am glad he came back for his senior season.
Laurinaitis has some work to do in coverage and probably needs to bulk up some more to be able to withstand the pounding of a 16 game NFL season.
10. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida
The 2007 Heisman trophy winner will probably end up being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 Draft. I am still trying to determine whether Tebow is a great QB or simply a system quarterback.
The spread offense is very effective in the college ranks, but nobody runs the spread in the NFL. Another Urban Meyer protege—Alex Smith—ran the spread at Utah and was No. 1 overall in 2005. Smith is now one more poor season away from being labeled a bust by many NFL insiders.
If Tebow is No. 1 overall, then Chase Daniel should go No. 2.
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