QB~ Matt Leinart ~ Southern California–Former major league baseball pitching prospect, has become a big-armed college football star, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2004 and leading his team to another National title. At 6’5″ and 225 pounds, Leinart has thrown 71 TD’s and completed nearly 65 percent of his attempts the last 2 seasons at the highest level of college football. I know it’s cool to say he’s overrated due to the talent around him, but he looks like a legit, big-time NFL prospect. Coming off elbow surgery, Leinart is expected to be back in USC’s lineup when the season begins.
RB~ Gerald Riggs Jr.~ Tennessee– Fast, powerful running back, at a little over 5â€²11â€³ and 220 pounds, who can run over defenders or scamper by them with his reported 4.48 speed. Shared playing time with NFL draft pick Cedrick Houston, but still ran for 1,100 yards (5.7 avg) and 6 TDâ€™s in 2004. Hasnâ€™t been a real productive receiver out of the backfield, but has potential to get better. Is the son of 1980â€™s NFL star Gerald Riggs, who was also a running back.
TE~ Marcedes Lewis~ UCLA–Tall, athletic tight end, who was recruited to play forward for the Bruins b-ball team too. Had a fine season in 2004, registering 32 receptions for 402 yards and 7 TD’s for the Bruins. Lewis isn’t considered a great blocker yet, but is a dynamic receiver that must be accounted for. Tim Day of Oregon, a fellow PAC-10 tight end, is also outstanding.
WR~ Derek Hagan~ Arizona State– 6’2″, 200 pound speedster from ASU recently ran a 4.45 40 at the schools Pro Day. Hagan considered entering the most recently completed drafted and may’ve been a 1st round pick. Nonetheless, if he stays injury free as a senior, he may even get better as a player–more complete. Has 181 receptions for 2729 yards (15.1 yard avg) and 19 TD’s in 3 seasons at ASU.
WR~ Travis Wilson~ Oklahoma–“Only” had 50 receptions for a 13.2 yard average and an amazing 11 TD’s for the Sooners in 2004, while sharing time with 3 wide receivers who were recently drafted by NFL teams. At 6’3″ and 220, Wilson has the size and speed to dominate games. Also an Academic All-Big 12 student athlete.
WR~ Mike Hass ~ Oregon State– Hass may not “look the part”, but he might be the most feared wide receiver in all of college football. He’s 6’1″ and 215 pounds and can beat just about anybody in college football deep at any time. Former walk-on burst onto the scene as a sophomore, collecting over 1,000 receiving yards (amazing 23 yard avg) and 7 TD’s. In 2004, as a junior, terrorized defensive backs for 86 receptions, almost 1,400 yards (16 yard avg) and 7 TD’s. If he keeps this up, the folks in the Pacific Northwest will start having “Steve Largent flashbacks”. On the collegiate level, he’s been that good and that dominate.
0G~Davin Joseph~ Oklahoma–May’ve been the Sooners best lineman at times in 2004, which is saying a lot. Was definitely, by far, the team’s best interior lineman last season, helping clear the way for freshman sensation Adrian Peterson. At 6’4″ and 312 has the required size and is also athletic. Formerly a defensive lineman for the Sooners.
OT~ D’Brickashaw Ferguson ~ Virginia– A high impact lineman, who could’ve been a top 5 overall pick in the most recent draft, had he opted in. Now, most of that was based on potential, so another season of playing college football for former NFL coach Al Groh will only make him a better a player. The 21 year old Ferguson is 6’5″ and 320 pounds, out of Freeport, New York. Wasn’t very highly regarded coming out of high school, but he definitely is now.
OT~ Eric Winston ~ Miami (Fla.)– Very similar talent to Ferguson. Winston went into the 2004 season feeling he could eventually be a top 5 overall pick in the NFL draft. Those hopes were scuttled when he tore his ACL early in the season. Winston, who is 6â€²7″ and 310 pounds, is very strong and very athletic, evidenced by the fact that Miami originally recruited the big fellow to play tight end. Coming out of high school, was rated the nationâ€™s number 1 tight end prospect by recruiting guru Tom Lemming.
OG~ Mark Setterstom ~ Minnesota– Has started for the Gophers since the moment he arrived at the school as a true freshman. At 6â€²3â€³ and 300 pounds, he possesses a rare combination of intensity and athletic ability for person of his size. Along with teammate Greg Elsinger, these 2 have helped pave the way for running backs Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney to dominate Big 10 action. Was a defensive lineman and a top heavy weight wrestler in high school.
OC~ Greg Eslinger ~ Minnesota– If there was an award or accolade to be had by an interior offensive lineman the last few seasons, you can bet Eslinger won it or was strongly considered. A native of Bismark, North Dakota, Eslinger has made various All-America teams since he was a true freshman. Along with Setterstrom, the Gophers will have one of the most dominating inside duoâ€™s college football has seen in a while.
R44 is the Head Editor of draftdaddy.com, a Jet Nation affiliated website dedicated to providing premium draft information to die-hard fans of the NFL.