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Draft's top 10 quarterbacks

Top 10 quarterbacks in 2008 NFL Draft:

1. Matt Ryan, Boston College

Height: 6-5   Weight: 228
College stats: 32 starts, 8,963 yards, 54 TDs, 34 INT
Vital numbers: 4.95 40-yard dash, 4.51 short shuttle

Ryan is the premiere quarterback of the class of 2008. He is a first round prospect with all the intangibles and is described accurately as a "winner." When compared to other draft classes, Ryan doesn't have the status of a Peyton or Eli Manning, Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger to some clubs, but he is a guy you can build a club around. It will be hard for Atlanta, Kansas City and Baltimore to all pass him in the top 10 spots. Ryan takes chances to win games, and has the pocket presence to keep a play alive and create on his own. Ryan has a good chance to have a Matt Hasselbeck type of career. Draft projection: Round 1.

2. Brian Brohm, Louisville

Height: 6-3   Weight: 230
College stats: 33 starts, 12,775 yards, 71 TDs, 24 INT
Vital numbers: 4.61 40-yard dash, 4.55 short shuttle

Brohm was considered a solid first-round pick if he came out in 2006. He returns to college and has a better completion percentage, 14 more touchdowns than his junior year and 1,000 more yards. His stock went down, which is hard to understand. Some question his toughness and his arm strength. He looks like a good fit for the West Coast attack that requires mobility, short accuracy and solid decision making. Some compare him to Drew Brees. There are times when watching film when he looks more like Chad Pennington to me. Draft projection: Rounds 1-2.

3. Chad Henne, Michigan

Height: 6-3   Weight: 230
College stats: 47 starts, 9,715 yards, 87 TDs, 37 INT
Vital numbers: 4.92 40-yard dash, 4.40 short shuttle

Henne has a lot of experience and is considered a leader with toughness. His performance at the Senior Bowl helped raise his draft stock. His ability to make good decisions on the football field as well as throw a good deep ball is evident on tape. Has a chance to be a No. 2 quarterback in 2008, and his career could resemble Matt Schaub with a few years on the bench followed by a solid chance to start. Draft projection: Round 2.

4. Joe Flacco, Delaware

Height: 6-6   Weight: 236
College stats: 26 starts, 7,046 yards, 41 TDs, 15 INT
Vital numbers: 4.86 40-yard dash, 4.27 short shuttle

Flacco told me he left Pittsburgh because he couldn't get a chance to compete for the starting spot with Tyler Palko. He excelled at the Division 1-AA level, and did a nice job at the Senior Bowl. He has a big strong arm but his running number would lead you to believe he can really move around on the field and use his feet to beat a team. The game tapes didn't convince me his measurable speed converts to football speed. He will hold the ball which can get him sacked but he is working on that with former Delaware QB Scott Bruener. Flacco has excellent rotation on the ball and reminds me of Derek Anderson. He could go to a team like Miami in the second round and compete for the starting spot by his second season. Draft projection: Round 2.

5. John David Booty, Southern California

Height: 6-2   Weight: 218
College stats: 20 starts, 6,125 yards, 55 TDs, 21 INT
Vital numbers: 4.82 40-yard dash, 4.58 short shuttle

Booty has big-game experience, and has better arm strength than advertised. His best attribute may be his game-day presence and ability to stay calm under pressure. He makes mistakes, but they easily roll off his back and he truly can move to the next play without the building pressure of earlier mistakes. He has West Coast skills and will hit the crossing routes with good consistency. Should be able to function as a solid backup who could come off the bench with limited practice time and perform well. He reminds me of Sage Rosenfels. Draft projection: Round 3.

6. Andre' Woodson, Kentucky

Height: 6-4   Weight: 229
College stats: 37 starts, 9,360 yards, 79 TDs, 25 INT
Vital numbers: 4.80 40-yard dash

His college production put him much higher up the draft than he is right now. As soon as the NFL coaches witnessed his throwing motion at the Senior Bowl his stock started to drop. Watch the LSU game tape and you might like him better than his present status. Some compare him to Jason Campbell, but his release and habit of hanging on his favorite receivers makes the comparison an issue for me. He needs solid coaching and time to become a productive starter in the NFL. Draft projection: Round 4.

7. Erik Ainge, Tennessee

Height: 6-5   Weight: 225
College stats: 37 starts, 8,700 yards, 72 TDs, 35 INT
Vital numbers: 4.98 40-yard dash, 4.60 short shuttle

Ainge was a late addition to the Senior Bowl when Ryan and Brohm both turned down the invitation to play. He did not distinguish himself during the week in Mobile, Ala. I did watch enough Tennessee tape to believe he is better than his all-star game performance. He knows who to throw to, but he doesn't snap the ball off which some would think was a function of a broken finger on his throwing hand in 2007. He rarely creates with his feet, and will be an easy target for NFL defenses to attack. He reminds me of Kerry Collins and Drew Bledsoe in the pocket, but doesn't have their arm or quick decision-making skills. Ainge may be a multiple-year backup in the NFL, and could take sacks like David Carr if he has to play. Draft projection: Round 6.

8. Dennis Dixon, Oregon

Height: 6-3   Weight: 195
College stats: 26 starts, 5,122 yards, 38 TDs, 21 INT (also ran 199 times for 1,032 yards and 11 touchdowns in the last two seasons)
Vital numbers: No running numbers due to injury

Dixon is a fine athlete with great running skills, but he is coming off ACL surgery. He worked out recently, much to the surprise of many NFL people who thought he would not be ready yet. Only three teams looked at him, but there is more interest than that if he is healthy. He may not be drafted this year, but he has a chance to make a team. If he is looked at as a wide receiver/athlete who could also double as the No. 3 quarterback, then his value goes up. He reminds me of Isaiah Stanback, who was drafted by the Cowboys in the fourth round last year. He is best described as a thrower, not a passer, by one scout. Draft projection: Round 7.

9. Colt Brennan, Hawaii

Height: 6-2   Weight: 207
College stats: 37 starts, 14,193 yards, 131 TDs, 42 INT
Vital numbers: No running numbers due to injury

Brennan had a lot of hype coming off his prolific numbers at Hawaii. He showed up at the Senior Bowl, and fell as fast as Woodson. Brennan doesn't look like he can take a physical pounding, but he did put on 18 pounds since being in Mobile. He had another setback with a hip injury that required surgery. He comes from the run-and-shoot system, which helps quarterbacks put up big numbers, but he is not held in high regard by most teams. The half-roll package with a dump off to the slot receiver is not going to cut it at the next level. His personality is another issue, as many feel he lacks the intangibles to enter an NFL huddle and command the respect he needs to get from the veterans. Draft projection: Round 7 or free agent.

10. Josh Johnson, San Diego

Height: 6-3   Weight: 213
College stats: 34 starts, 9,699 yards, 113 TDs, 15 INT
Vital numbers: 4.55 40-yard dash, 4.42 short shuttle

I watched the Marist College game, which should tell you the level of competition Johnson faced in college. He was coached by Jim Harbaugh for three years, and has a good understanding of the pro-style offense. He can snap a ball off, and easily bought extra time in the pocket against the competition he faced in college. Last year without Harbaugh (who left to coach Stanford), Johnson threw 43 touchdowns and just one interception. He can throw off his back foot, which any NFL quarterback will tell you he will have to do at the next level. His speed and athletic ability would suggest he could play another position, but he sees himself as a quarterback. He threw 1,064 passes in college and has the skills to develop into a pro quarterback. A team such as the Patriots could draft him late and spend a few years developing his skills. Draft projection: Rounds 6-7.

Post-draft free agents, or late seventh-round picks:Paul Smith, Tulsa; Matt Flynn, LSU; Kyle Wright, Miami (Fla.); Kevin O'Connell, San Diego State; Anthony Morelli, Penn State.

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