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Sneak peek at draft class of 2009

With the 2008 draft behind us, NFL teams are looking ahead to minicamps, OTAs, training camp, preseason and the start of another season. But it's never too early to look ahead to next year's draft.

With that in mind, understanding that so much can change in the next 12 months, here are some of the top college seniors who will be watched closely by the NFL scouts during the 2008 season. These are seniors only, listed by position in alphabetical order:

Tracking the '09 draft class

Gil Brandt has the scoop on the best seniors heading into next year's draft. Here is a sampling of some players by position:

Rashad Johnson, DB, Alabama
Not one Crimson Tide player was drafted this year, Johnson figures to change that in '09.


Chase Daniel, Missouri (6-0, 220): He will be a three-year starter, having thrown for 7,833 yards with 51 TDs and 21 INTs over past two seasons.

Graham Harrell, Texas Tech (6-2 ½, 205): Has 14 career 400-yard games; passed for 646 yards in a game against Oklahoma State last season.

Curtis Painter, Purdue (6-3 ½, 225): Passed for 7,831 yards and 51 TDs over the past two seasons.

Patrick White, West Virginia (6-1 ½, 190): Has passed for more than 4,000 yards in his career and brings the added dimension as a runner -- he has eight runs of more than 50 yards.

John Parker Wilson, Alabama (6-2, 210): He will be a three-year starter for the Tide, and has passed for 35 TDs over the last two seasons.

Note: His mother was a cheerleader for the 1979 Alabama team that went 12-0 and won the national championship.

Running Backs

Andre Brown, N.C. State (5-11, 230): Has 1,461 career rushing yards and 11 TDs; set N.C. State freshman record with 248 rushing yards in a game against Southern Miss.

James Davis, Clemson (5-10, 210): Has 38 TDs and 3,130 rushing yards in three seasons.

Arian Foster, Tennessee (6-0, 217): Has started 23 games for Vols and rushed for 2,394 yards; good receiver coming out of the backfield.

Ian Johnson, Boise State (5-10 ½, 205): Has run for 3,418 yards and 46 TDs in the past three seasons.

Marlon Lucky, Nebraska (5-11, 210): Ran for 1,019 yards and 9 TDs and caught 75 passes last season.

Javon Ringer, Michigan State (5-9, 205): Ran for 1,447 yards and 6 TDs last season, and added 35 receptions.

Wide Receivers

Demetrius Byrd, LSU (6-1 ½, 195): A former JC transfer who has outstanding speed (4.42) for his size.

Greg Carr, Florida State (6-5, 215): Had 45 catches for 795 yards (18.6 avg) last season. Of his 25 career TD catches, 20 have been from 30 yards or more.

Jarrett Dillard, Rice (5-10, 187): Caught 170 passes with 35 TDs over last two seasons; has 2 or more catches in 36 consecutive games.

Brandon Gibson, Washington State (6-0, 200): Had 67 catches for 1,180 yards and 9 TDs in 2007; also returns kicks.

Juaquin Iglesias, Oklahoma (5-11 ½, 201): Played as a true freshman in 2005 and was Sooners' leading receiver last season. Also averaged 28.5 yards per kickoff return in '07.

Aaron Kelly, Clemson (6-4, 185): Has caught 165 passes over the past three seasons; had 11 TD catches in 2007.

Kenny McKinley, South Carolina (5-11 ½, 180): Started in 2005 as a true freshman; had 77 receptions and 9 TDs in 2007.

Brian Robiskie, Ohio State (6-2, 193): Son of former NFL player and current coach Terry Robiskie; had 55 catches for 935 yards and 11 TDs last season.

Tiquan Underwood, Rutgers (6-1, 185): Had 65 catches for 1,100 yards and 7 TDs in 2007; already ranks second all-time in receiving yards at Rutgers.

Derrick Williams, Penn State (5-11 ½, 200): Has speed, athleticism and ability at the receiver spot; also returns kicks.

Tight Ends

Travis Beckum, Wisconsin (6-3 ½, 225): Lots of athletic ability, comparable to Kellen Winslow Jr.; had 75 catches and 6 TDs in 2007.

Chase Coffman, Missouri (6-5, 250): Son of former NFL TE Paul Coffman, an undrafted free agent who went to three Pro Bowls; had 52 catches and 7 TDs last season.

Cornelius Ingram, Florida (6-3 ½, 235): Came to Gators as a quarterback; had 34 catches last season and 7 TDs.

Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State (6-5, 260): Three-year starter; a good blocker who had 35 catches and 4 TDs in 2007.

Offensive Linemen

Alex Boone, Ohio State (6-7, 330): Was projected to be a first-round pick this year but he elected to stay in school; has started 23 games at LT the past two seasons.

Photos ...
The 2009 draft class

Antoine Caldwell, Alabama (6-2 ½, 300): Plays guard; will be a four-year starter for the Crimson Tide.

Cedric Dockery, Texas (6-3 ½, 315): Entering his third year as starter for the Longhorns; brother of Bills G Derrick Dockery.

Andrew Gardner, Georgia Tech (6-5, 300): Three-year starter at left tackle for the Yellow Jackets.

Herman Johnson, LSU (6-7, 345): Biggest player ever to play for LSU; has started the past two seasons at guard for the Tigers.

Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma (6-7 ½, 335): Outstanding athlete who is entering his second year at Oklahoma after playing in junuior college.

Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas (6-3 ½, 315): Plays center; Rimington Trophy winner in '07, has started 37 of 38 games.

Alex Mack, California (6-4 1/3, 300): Center; has started the past two years and in 2007 was one of three players voted unanimous all-Pac-10.

Ryan McDonald, Illinois (6-5, 300): Has started at both right tackle and center; most likely will end up with 50-plus career starts; very smart.

Jamon Meredith, South Carolina (6-4 ½, 301): Has started 29 games over the last three seasons, including the last 18 at left tackle.

Eugene Monroe, Virginia (6-5, 310): Plays left tackle but has also started at guard; has 11 brothers.

Michael Oher, Mississippi (6-4 ½, 320): Three-year starter at Ole Miss who was the subject of Michael Lewis' best-selling book, "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game."

Anthony Parker, Tennessee (6-3, 210): A very good athlete who has started 23 consecutive games for the Vols.

Duke Robinson, Oklahoma: (6-4, 325): Two-year starter at guard who can also play tackle if needed.

Ryan Stancher, West Virginia (6-3 ½, 305): Three-year starter at LT who logged more than 800 snaps in '07; graduated in three years.

Max Unger, Oregon (6-5, 300): Has started 38 consecutive games for the Ducks, playing left tackle in 2005-06 and center in 2007.

Kraig Urbik, Wisconsin (6-5, 330): Will most likely end up with 50-plus career starts for the Badgers, split between right tackle and right guard.

Defensive Linemen

Terrill Byrd, Cincinnati (6-1, 275): Three-year starter who was all-Big East last two seasons.

George Hypolite, Colorado (6-1, 285): Had 6 sacks and 5 third-down stops last season; very strong against the run.

Tyson Jackson, LSU (6-5, 290): Has good size, quickness and strength, and has a great first step off the edge; has started 26 games.

Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech (6-6, 250): A great athlete with pass-rush ability.

Mitch King, Iowa (6-3, 275): Has 174 career tackles with 39 for a loss; came to Iowa as a LB.

Fili Moala, USC (6-4 ½, 302): Strong and active, he can be a force at DT; related to Ravens DT Haloti Ngata.

Brian Orakpo, Texas (6-4, 255): Missed five games in '07 with an injury, but he's got the one trait everyone looks for -- he's a pass rusher.

Jeff Owens, Georgia (6-2 ½, 300): Very strong with good quickness.

Nick Reed, Oregon (6-2, 255): Pass rusher with a great motor and work ethic; holds team record for shuttle run among DEs at Oregon.

Matt Shaughnessy, Wisconsin (6-5 ½, 251): Played in 2005 as a true freshman; has the ability to rush the passer.


Darry Beckwith, LSU (6-1, 235): Started at OLB in 2006, MLB in 2007; has good speed and lateral movement and will hit hard; very tough.

Ian Campbell, Kansas State (6-4 ½, 245): Two-time all-Big 12 selection; hybrid DE/OLB who had 11 ½ sacks in 2006.

Jonathan Casillas, Wisconsin (6-1 ½, 225): Will be a three-year starter at LB; makes big plays on defense and is a very good special-teams player.

Aaron Curry, Wake Forest (6-2 ½, 238): Redshirted in 2004 and has been a starter ever since. Aggressive and smart with athletic ability and speed.

Brian Cushing, USC (6-4, 241): Played DE in 2006 and then started 13 games at strongside LB in 2007; played RB and TE in high school.

Dannell Ellerbe, Georgia (6-0 ½, 235): Started at both middle and outside LB last season and led team in tackles. Very aggressive player with coverage skills in the kicking game.

Marcus Freeman, Ohio State (6-2, 240): Will be a three-year starter; has the speed to play every down.

James Laurinaitis, Ohio State (6-2 ½, 245): The first scholarship player from the state of Minnesota to play at OSU since Hall of Famer Sid Gillman in 1933; will be a three-year starter; had 121 tackles, 2 INTs and 5 sacks in 2007.

Sean Lee, Penn State (6-1 ½, 235): Was a top-rated player but he suffered a knee injury in spring practice and it's doubtful he'll be ready to play at the start of the '08 season.

Rey Maualuga, USC (6-3, 252): Started four games as a true freshman; has outstanding speed for the position; led team in tackles in 2007, making plays all over the field.

Joe Mortensen, Kansas State (6-1, 235): Moved to middle linebacker from outside in 2007 and had four games with double-digit tackles; plays a lot like '07 draft pick Curtis Lofton of Oklahoma.

Defensive Backs

Joe Burnett, Central Florida (5-11, 185): Has 12 INTs the past three years including 6 in 2007, and also has returned three punts for TDs.

Kevin Ellison, USC (6-1, 220): Started 13 games in 2006; as a high school RB, he once ran for 322 yards in one game; brother Keith plays for Buffalo Bills.

Nic Harris, Oklahoma (6-2 ½, 225): Safety who can play both the run and pass well; had 21 career INTs in high school and returned nine for TDs.

Victor Harris, Virginia Tech (6-0, 200): Newly-drafted QB Matt Ryan called Harris the best CB he faced in '07; has started 27 consecutive games for the Hokies and had 5 INTs in '07 with one returned for a TD; also returns kicks.

Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State (6-0 ½, 200): Part-time starter as a true freshman who has started ever since and has 8 career INTs; would have been a first-round pick if he left school early.

Bruce Johnson, Miami-Fla. (5-10 ½, 175): Started one game as a true freshman in 2005 and has good man coverage skills. Member of Hurricanes' track team who also returns kicks.

Rashad Johnson, Alabama (5-11 ½, 195): Led SEC with 6 INTs in 2007.

Mike Mickens, Cincinnati (6-0, 170): Three-year starter with 10 career INTs; state high school champion in the 300-meter hurdles.

William Moore, Missouri (6-0, 215): Best athlete on a good Missouri team; has returned two INTs for TDs.

Alphonso Smith, Wake Foresst (5-9, 190): Outstanding athlete who was a QB in high school; has very good ball skills to play CB.

Curtis Taylor, LSU (6-2, 205): A QB/WR in high school who is a two-year starter at FS for the Tigers. Strong vs. pass and run.


Kevin Huber, Cincinnati (6-1, 205): Very strong leg; led all divisions in the nation last season with a 46.9-yard average.

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