Number 1 Next April?There are many who think Washington will challenge for the PAC Ten title this season and we understand why.  The program has took a huge jump in Steve Sarkisian’s first year and there’s reason to believe the former quarterback will continue to build a winner.   Except for two NFL prospects, one well known and the other a real sleeper, the roster is full of late round talent.

Jake Locker is predicted by some to be the first pick of next April’s draft, something we disagree with yet understand.  Locker is a sensational athlete who produces throwing the ball or carrying it.  Locker effectively sells the play fakes, immediately locates the open wide out and has a terrific sense for what’s happening on the field.  He’s nimble enough to escape the rush and loses nothing throwing on the move.  To his credit Locker will pull the ball down when nothing’s available rather than force passes into covered receivers.  Even at 6-feet, 2.5-inches, Locker seems to have trouble seeing over the offensive line at times.  He does not consistently throw with good mechanics and is usually high of the mark when he tries to zip the ball into receivers.  He comes with an upside and we will say we were very impressed with Locker’s improvement from thrower to passer last season once Sarkisian got hold of him.

Junior running back Chris Polk is resilient, works runs and keeps the play in bounds trying to pick up positive yardage.  He has a terrific burst of speed, shows the ability to pick up large chunks of yardage and carries the ball with a nice degree of strength.  Polk also shows himself to be a bit straight-linish and really is not an elusive ball carrier.

Tackle Cody Habben is a large, lumbering blocker only effective in a small area. He blocks with a nasty attitude, makes good use of body positioning and seals defenders from the action with his wide body.  Habben also displays good power at the point of attack.  He lacks footwork sliding out to protect the edge, struggles to adjust and looks like a marginal athlete on the field.

Junior Alameda Ta’amu could be one of the best kept secrets in the nation on the defensive line and a terrific prospect developing at a great pace.  Powerful, he’s very tough to move off the point and easily overwhelms one-on-one blocking, bull rushing opponents off the ball. He must improve his playing balance and Ta’amu is a heavy footed defensive lineman effective in a straight line yet a terrific prospect with a good upside.

Nate Williams is a competitive safety that gives it up against the run but shows poor ball skills in coverage and struggles if asked to play over the slot receiver.

Washington Pro-Prospects

Round Full Name Pos Num Year
1st Jake Locker QB 10 5Sr
2-3 Alameda Ta’amu DT 74 3Jr
6th Chris Polk RB 1 3Jr
6-7 Nate Williams S 8 4Sr
7-FA Jermaine Kearse WR 15 3Jr
FA Cody Habben T 71 5Sr
FA Quinton Richardson CB 28 4Jr
FA Mason Foster OLB 40 4Sr
FA D’Andre Goodwin WR 11 5Sr
FA Ryan Tolar C 65 5Sr

Discuss all the NFL prospects from the PAC  Ten!

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

Discuss all the NFL prospects from the PAC  Ten!

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

Discuss all the NFL prospects from the PAC  Ten!

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