Anticipation of the grades handed the top senior prospects from the NFL’s scouting services reaches fever pitch every June. And as promised from our podcast of June 4th, TFYDraftInsider.net will break them down for you. Over the next week we will break down every position, looking at the highest rated prospects and who surprisingly received low grades. Tonight we start with the top 25, the players left out of that mix and a few big names from the ranks of the small schools.
National Scouting Top 25
1) Prince Amukamara/CB/Nebraska: NU’s talented corner ties for the highest grade in the senior class with a 7.3.
2) Adrian Clayborn/DE/Iowa: Clayborn keeps up the recent trend of college speed rushers that are given the highest pre-season grade by the scouting services. Last year Greg Hardy was given the highest grade of any senior who took the field while Quentin Groves was the highest rated player in 2008, after Quentin Moses took the honor in ’07. Hardy was a sixth round pick last year while Groves and Moses have been busts in the NFL. Clayborn was a verified 6’3’’/287lbs.
3) Mark Herzlich/OLB/Boston College: Herzlich’s grade, 7.2, is the same as the one he received last year after his cancer diagnoses.
4) Allen Bailey/DL/Miami-Fl
5) Von Miller/OLB/Texas A&M: Miller, who plays defensive end for the Aggies, is listed as an outside linebacker by National Scouting.
6) Greg Romeus/DE/Pittbugh: Romeus’ measurements are a verified 6051/267lbs.
7) Marvin Austin/DT/North Carolina
8 ) Christian Ponder/QB/Florida State: Ponder scored a big number on the pre-season Wonderlic.
9) Jake Locker/QB/Washington
10) Stephen Paea/DT/Oregon State: Paea gave serious thought to entering last years draft. We compare him favorably to Sedrick Ellis. His measurements are a verified 6013/306.
11) Anthony Castonzo/T/Boston College: We are surprised Castonzo is the highest rated tackle, and we don’t agree with his grade of 6.5. Like Ponder, he is another who scored very well on the pre-season wonderlic.
12) Pernell McPhee/DE/Mississippi State
13) Stefen Wisneiwski/C/Penn State
14) Jeremy Beal/DE/Oklahoma
15) Ross Homan/ILB/Ohio State: Another player we think is rated way to high.
16) DeMarcus Love/T/Arkansas
17) DeMarco Murray/RB/Oklahoma: This makes Murray the highest rated senior running back.
18 ) Niles Paul/WR/Nebraska: At 6011/222lbs, Paul is the highest rated senior receiver.
19) James Smith/CB/Colorado: Smith was on the verge of entering the draft this year.
20) Ras-I Dowling/CB/Virginia: The more we watch Dowling the more we like him. Pre-draft 40-time will be critical.
21) Jabaal Sheard/DE/Pittsburgh: Sheard is a terrific player and a solid 4-3 end but gets overlooked playing with Romeus. His verified measurements of 6027/254 is a good sign.
22) Jerrell Powe/DT/Mississippi: When all is said and done we think Powe will make a big rise up boards.
23) Bruce Carter/OLB/North Carolina: In our opinion, the top senior linebacker moving toward 2010.
24) Derek Sherrod/T/Mississippi State: Sherrod is a tackle we’ve like for some time now and wrote about extensively last year.
25) Rodney Hudson/G/Florida State: One of the better zone blocking guards to come around in a while.
Grades of 6.0 or higher are considered very good and six more players received a 6.0 or higher bringing the total to 31. By comparison 38 players received a grade of 6.0 or higher entering the 2009 season from National. The National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide had seven players selected in April’s draft including four top sixty choices. Entering the 2010 season only offensive lineman James Carpenter has received a draftable grade.
Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward is the 26th player on the sheet while Nate Solder of Colorado is the next tackle (#28 on the list) the followed by Florida tackle Marcus Gilbert (#29 on the list). Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi ranks 65th and well down the tackle list. He is rated as the 9th tackle.
Robert Housler of Florida Atlantic and Luke Stocker of Tennessee are the highest rated tight ends, both receiving grades of 5.8.
Idaho’s Shiloh Keo, who returned for another season after initially being graded by the scouting services last year, received the highest grade of any senior safety. He received a 5.5 and was the 87th player on the list.
LSU tackle Joseph Barksdale was graded as barely draftable as was USC fullback Stanley Havili. Florida State defensive end Markus White was not given a draftable grade.
Of the 38 players who received grades of 6 or better prior to the 2009 season ten were defensive linemen. That is the same number as this year of the 31 players who received a grade higher than 5.9. Somewhat surprisingly, there are more offensive tackles with grades of 6.0 on this years list. Five tackles have grades of 6.0 or better compared to just three one year ago. Granted two of the players who received those grades were Selvish Capers and Tony Washington.
The biggest faux pas from last year was Dan Williams, who received a grade of 4.2 one year ago, equivalent to being a street free agent, then went on to be a first round pick. We think the player they will miss on this season is Boston College guard Thomas Claiborne, who was given a grade of 4.1. National added another lower grading category to their list. National’s list this year is more than twice as long as last year (1419 players versus 709). That is because they now give players grades as low as 1.2. In the past 2.0 was usually the floor.
Small School Players
During our podcast on June 4th we mentioned there would be a large number of small school prospects with high grades and the National list proved us right.
Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin is the top non-BCS prospect. He’s the 30th rated player with a grade of 6.0.
Former South Carolina Gamecock Ken Ellis, now at Hampton is next. The defensive lineman ranks 57th with a grade of 5.7.
Receiver Stephen Burton of West Texas A&M, Lehigh offensive guard William Rackley, defensive tackle Cedric Thornton of Southern Arkansas, and Villanova offensive tackle Ben Ijalana are all graded as top 100 senior prospects.
Note: Starting this week, Wednesday, we will break down the grades for every position. Beginning on Tuesday, July 6th, and through the rest of the summer, TFYDraftInsider.net will break down every Div IA school in the nation, scouting all the draft eligible players in each program!