Oregon State seems to make a living participating in second tier bowl games yet this season the team should be explosive on both sides of the ball.  In the 2011 NFL Draft the Beavers will offer their highest rated prospect since running back Steven Jackson.

The Rodgers brothers are an exciting pair to watch on offense and both offer ability as utility/role players at the next level.

Jacquizz Rodgers is a small yet elusive ball carrier that runs with tremendous quickness.  Running low to the ground, he gets lost behind blockers, shows a   terrific burst and quickly cuts back against the grain, losing no momentum.  He’s also an effective receiver out of the backfield.  Rodgers runs north/south yet his ball carrying lacks strength and he’s easily brought down at the point of attack.  We project him as a third down back/situational runner at the next level.

James Rodgers is a small framed receiver who gives effort.  Like his brother, he displays terrific quickness in his overall game.  Rodgers comes back to the ball out of breaks, very quickly transitions from making the catch to running after the reception and does a nice job following blocks in the open field.  Rodgers unnecessarily body catches at times and does lose out in battles.

Alex Linnenkohl is a hard working lineman with terrific blocking vision.  He’s    smart, tough and does a nice job quarterbacking the offensive line.  Linnenkohl is really not a finisher but offers some skill for a zone blocking scheme.

Defensive tackle Stephen Paea gave serious thought to entering last April’s draft but decided to return for his senior season at the final moment.  For almost two years now we’ve compared him to Sedrick Ellis, the former first round pick from the USC Trojans.  Paea, like Ellis, is an explosive one-gap lineman that fires off the snap and makes plays in every direction.  He’s constantly around the action and has next level skills which should get him selected during the second half of round one.  Scouts coming out of Corvallis this summer have already been incredibly impressed with Paea during August camp.

David Pa’aluhi was a forceful middle linebacker, constantly around the action, intimidating opponents.  Pa’aluhi left Oregon State then considered transferring to Hawaii before deciding to leave football together and join the Armed Forces.  We wish Pa’aluhi well and thank him for his service to America.

Oregon State Pro-Prospects

Round Full Name Pos Num Year
1st Stephen Paea DT 54 5Sr
4th Lance Mitchell S 10 4Jr
6th Alex Linnenkohl G 60 5Sr
6-7 Jacquizz Rodgers RB 1 3Jr
7th James Rodgers WR 8 4Sr
7-FA Cameron Collins S 5 3Jr
FA Mike Remmers T 50 4Jr
FA David Pa’aluhi ILB 45 4Jr

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Rick Neuheisel continues to try and rebuild the UCLA football program back to the prominence it enjoyed under Terry Donahue.  There’s solid talent on defense though the prospects from the offensive side of the ball are hard to find.

We don’t see much we like on offense.  In fact our highest rated player from the scoring side of the ball was wearing a Colorado uniform the last time we saw him.

Josh Smith returns to the field after red-shirting in ’09 due to NCAA transfer rules.  Smith showed us a lot of skill in ’08 at Colorado and was a big play receiver who also impacted the game as a return specialist.  It remains to be seen how quickly he gets back in the saddle yet Smith does offer a good amount of upside talent.

The top NFL prospect on the Bruins roster far and away is linebacker Akeem Ayers.  An imposing looking athlete on the field, Ayers is fast, large and stands out on film.  He breaks down well, holds his ground against blocks and possesses the ability to quickly change direction.  Very tough to block from the action, he holds his ground against strong, offensive linemen and makes plays.  Ayers is very effective in space and easily stays downfield with opposing tight ends.  He has all the skills to be a starting strong-side linebacker on the NFL level.

Many are high on the football skills of Rahim Moore yet we are not inclusive in this group.  Moore showed skill early in his career yet has never really progressed on the field.  He has a physical game and is very quick up the field to defend the run.  At the same time Moore is inefficient, takes improper angles to the action and is late reacting in pass coverage despite his interception numbers.

On the other hand the team’s other safety, Tony Dye, is a prospect growing on us.  An active safety constantly around the ball, Dye is a hard hitting defender that’s aggressive against the run.  He must develop his game and prove he’s more than a run only defensive back yet there’s a lot to like about Dye.

UCLA Pro-Prospects

Round Full Name Pos Num Year
1st Akeem Ayers OLB 10 4Jr
4-5 Josh Smith WR 1 4Sr
7th Rahim Moore S 3 3Jr
7-FA Tony Dye S 6 3Jr
FA Micah Kia G 73 5Sr

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Flags went up when Pete Carroll moved back to the NFL to run the show for the Seattle Seahawks.  The hammer of the NCAA soon came down harshly on USC after serious violations.  There also will be a major drop-off in talent on the field this season, something which will be felt in NFL war rooms next April.

Junior tackle Tyron Smith is our highest rated prospect on the Trojans offense.  Smith plays with terrific fundamentals, shows the ability to effectively redirect to linebackers on the second level and seal them from the action.  He effectively adjusts to pass rushers from his left tackle spot and knocks them from their angle of attack with good hand punch.   He’s a developing player with a nice upside.

Kristofer O’Dowd is a heady center who works well with teammates and effectively quarterbacks the offensive line.  O’Dowd blocks with terrific leverage, immediately gets his hands into defenders and shows a tremendous amount of quickness in his game.   O’Dowd is really not a guy that moves defenders off the middle of the line and is not a prospect with a great upside.

Early in his USC career Butch Lewis was a prospect we were high on but the offensive lineman watched his game regress last season.  Formerly the teams starting tackle, Lewis was relegated to backing up at guard last season. He plays with nice lean, quickly gets off the line into blocks and looks for someone to hit.  Lewis shows solid strength at the point but lacks playing balance which hurts his ability to finish blocks.  He must quickly revert to the form he showed as a freshman then sophomore to have any chance of getting drafted and our grade is based on the promise he once showed.

Stanley Havili is a favorite of many and a triple threat fullback effective as a lead blocker, ball carrier and pass catcher.  He shows good vision in his overall game, creates space for ball carriers and easily adjusts to linebackers on the second level.  Havili gives effort but lacks blocking bulk and power.

Allen Bradford is a strong interior ball carrier that runs with an aggressive style and puts his shoulders down into defenders, driving forward for the extra yardage.  Bradford is strictly a between the tackles runner and does not possess the speed to turn the corner besides struggling to change direction.

C.J. Gable, the once promising ball carrier, has struggled to regain previous form.  He showed himself to be an elusive back with a burst yet rarely saw the ball last season.

Ronald Johnson is a sure handed possession wide out who sells routes, nicely adjusts to make the reception away from his body and uses his frame to shield away opponents.  Johnson is a one-speed wide out that lacks the ability to stretch the defense.

On defense, another junior tops our list of draft eligible Trojan prospects, linebacker Chris Galippo.  Remaining patient with assignments, Gallipo does a solid job diagnosing and anticipating the action, showing skill in coverage.  He’s tough against the run yet lacks bulk and will be swallowed up by blocks.  We like Galippo’s future.

Malcolm Smith is another active linebacker we gave a draftable grade.  Athletic, Smith is fluid moving in reverse, shows skill in coverage and makes plays in space.  He lacks bulk yet may have a home as a back-up weakside linebacker.

We started off by mentioning there’s going to be a huge drop off in talent at USC and they’ll have minimal impact in NFL war rooms next April.  Don’t believe us?  Consider this; NFL scouting services stamped cornerback Shareece Wright as the highest graded senior on the Trojan roster.  Why so strange?  Wright has played just two games the prior two seasons.  He was academically ineligible in 2009 and started the first two games of the ’08 season before a hairline fracture in his neck sidelined Wright the remainder of the year. Wright was a back-up during his freshman and sophomore campaigns.

USC had fourteen top sixty picks over the last three drafts.  They are unlikely to have a single player broach the third round next April.

USC Pro-Prospects

Round Full Name Pos Num Year
2-3 Tyron Smith T 70 3Jr
3rd Chris Galippo ILB 54 4Jr
4th Ronald Johnson WR 8 4Sr
5th Kristofer O’Dowd C 61 4Sr
5-6 Stanley Havili FB 31 5Sr
6th Butch Lewis T 68 5Sr
6th David Ausberry WR 9 5Sr
6-7 Malcolm Smith OLB 6 4Sr
6-7 Jurrell Casey DT 91 3Jr
7th Allen Bradford RB 21 5Sr
FA C.J. Gable RB 2 5Sr
FA Shareece Wright CB 24 5Sr
FA Mitch Mustain QB N 5Sr
FA Marshall Jones S 27 4Sr

Discuss all the NFL prospects from the PAC  Ten!

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