NFL Network's Mayock debuts rankings leading into combine

Draft expert breaks down prospects by position on NFL Total Access this week

Illinois' Rashard Mendenhall No. 1 RB; USC's Sedrick Ellis tops among DTs

The "Path to the Draft" continues on NFL Network this week as draft expert Mike Mayock releases his top five prospects by position and his overall top 20 draft prospects heading into next week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

NFL Network's exclusive coverage of the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine presented by Reebok begins Thursday, Feb. 21.

In all, NFL Network will televise 26 hours of live, high-definition combine coverage. NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" kicked off in January with 19 hours of original programming over six days at the Under Armour Senior Bowl.

This week on NFL Total Access, Mayock will preview his top draft prospects by position:

Monday, Feb. 11 – Top 10 overall (Video) and Quarterbacks
Tuesday, Feb. 12 – Running Backs (Video)
Wednesday, Feb. 13 – Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Thursday, Feb. 14 – Defensive Line
Friday, Feb. 15 – Offensive Line

With Xs and Os breakdowns from this past season, Mayock explains why Illinois' Rashard Mendenhall beats out Arkansas' Darren McFadden as his top running back and why USC's Sedrick Ellis gets the edge over LSU's Glenn Dorsey at defensive tackle.

Mayock's pre-combine thoughts and player rankings are as follows:

Mayock on Illinois' Rashard Mendenhall vs. Arkansas' Darren McFadden: "Mendenhall translates better to the NFL game. He's 225 pounds and has great feet and tremendous burst and acceleration for a player of his size. My biggest concern with McFadden is that although he also has great burst and acceleration, I don't think he has the lower body strength that you're looking for in a first-round NFL back."

Mayock on USC's Sedrick Ellis vs. LSU's Glenn Dorsey: "They are both great football players and it's a very difficult evaluation between the two as to who is better because they are both top-10 picks. What I like about Ellis is that he played nose tackle in a 3-4 defense at USC and that will appeal to 3-4 NFL teams. In addition, he will also appeal to the 4-3 teams because he has the quickness to play the "three technique." Dorsey is a great football player and I give him credit for playing through injuries the past few years. However his durability is a concern."

Mike Mayock's top 20 (as of Feb. 12, 2008)**

  1. Matt Ryan - QB, Boston College
    1. Sedrick Ellis – DT, USC
    2. Chris Long - DE, Virginia
    3. Glenn Dorsey – DT, LSU
    4. Vernon Gholston – DE, Ohio State
    5. Jake Long – OL, Michigan
    6. Ryan Clady – OL, Boise State
    7. Keith Rivers – LB, USC
    8. Phillip Merling – DE, Clemson
    9. Leodis McKelvin – CB, Troy
    10. Brandon Flowers – CB, Virginia Tech
    11. Rashard Mendenhall – RB, Illinois
    12. Jeff Otah – OL, Pittsburgh
    13. Derrick Harvey – DE, Florida
    14. Kentwan Balmer – DT, North Carolina
    15. Aqib Talib – CB, Kansas
    16. Chris Williams – OL, Vanderbilt
    17. Mario Manningham – WR, Michigan
    18. Limas Sweed – WR, Texas
    19. Branden Albert – OL, Virginia

** Rankings subject to change

In 2007, NFL Network aired nearly 200 football games, including eight regular season NFL games, 52 preseason games, 98 game replays, Super Bowl and NFL Classics, plus the Insight Bowl, Texas Bowl and Senior Bowl. NFL Network airs seven days a week, 24 hours a day on a year-round basis and is the first television network fully dedicated to the NFL and the sport of football. For more information, log onto www.nfl.com/nflnetwork. NFL.com is the exclusive internet home of NFL Network.

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