Early Draft Projections

One of the things we can normally count on at mid-season is an updated look on the draft prospects for 2009. The latest updates from noted draft analysts Todd McShay and Mil Kiper make a couple of things clear.

One, the SEC still has more than it's share of elite talent. McShay's list of the top 27 players includes nine from college football's top conference. Second, the speculation that Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes won't be around for their senior seasons has plenty of merit. Both made McShay's top 27 and Kiper has both ranked among the top draft eligible non-seniors at their positions.

Percy Harvin --- Is ranked No. 22 overall by McShay and fourth among draft eligible non-seniors by Kiper. He has impressed scouts by adding to his yards per catch and proving himself to be an improved route runner. Additionally he has caught 5 TD passes in the first six games after catching just 4 all of last season. McShay has Harvin ranked third among receivers, trailing only Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin.

Brandon Spikes --- Florida's powerful linebacker has also gotten plenty of notice. He ranks No. 26 overall with McShay while Kiper has pegged Spikes as the best non senior inside linebacker in the country. Spikes is doing everything you want a linebacker to do. He leads Florida with 46 tackles and is second on the team with 4.5 tackles for loss. Spikes has also registered a QB sack and intercepted two passes against LSU. Like Harvin, Spikes is ranked third at his position by McShay. He trails Ray Maualuga of Southern Cal and Ohio State's James Laurinaitis among inside linebackers.

If those two stay healthy and productive it seems they are well on their way to being first round picks come April.

In addition to Harvin and Spikes there are seven other SEC player who project as top picks according to McShay's rankings, including three other SEC teams with two players on the list. Andre Smith the massive offensive tackle from Alabama is the highest rated SEC player at No. 3 while his even more massive teammate, DT Terrence Cody has soared to No. 9. Two Georgia Bulldogs make the list with QB Matthew Stafford at No. 5 and RB Knowshon Moreno at No. 13. Ole Miss also has a pair of highly regarded players with DE Greg Hardy who was a huge factor in the Rebels' win over Florida at No. 6 and OT Michael Oher earning the No. 20 spot. The remaining SEC player is Auburn defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks at No. 23. Closer to home two other players in the state of Florida are in the club. FSU DE Everett Brown checks in at No. 21, three spots ahead of Georgia Selvie from South Florida.

As for the top player, McShay tabs Oklahoma's third-year sophomore QB Sam Bradford as the top guy. It'll be interesting to see what he decided to do with two years of collegiate eligibility remaining.

Of course a lot can change between now and April.

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