Bennett leads Aggies back to NFL draft

Last year, the Aggies failed to put anyone in the NFL draft for the first time in a long time. This year, former Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione will finally see members of his first recruiting class be selected in the 2008 NFL Draft. Aggie Websider takes a look at where the Aggies may hear their name called.

Last year, Texas A&M had a grand total of zero players taken in the NFL Draft for the first time in more than 20 years. It was a stat that the anti-Franchione camp had a field day with.

This year former A&M head coach Dennis Franchione can take solace in the fact that members of his first recruiting class—and in one instance, his second class—will represent the Aggies well in the 2008 NFL Draft.

But how many Aggies will hear their names called on the first day? Where do the experts project A&M standouts to land?

1. Martellus Bennett, TE – (6-7, 248)
Bennett is known first and foremost for his incredible blocking abilities. Several NFL scouts believe that Bennett may be the best blocking tight end in the draft, which will earn him millions on Sundays next fall. Bennett takes great pride in those abilities, saying, "My knuckles are always dirty," Bennett said. "If you want to be a tight end, show me some dirty hands."

Bennett is also a very good receiver with great hands, which some NFL execs may not be aware of due to his lack of touches at A&M. Even though he led the team in receptions, he never seemed to be utilized as much as he could have been. But he'll have a chance to show off those skills at the combine, which could make "Money" Bennett even richer.
PROJECTION: Late 1st/2nd round pick

2. Cody Wallace, C – (6-4, 298)
Wallace was a pre-season Playboy All-American and was named the Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year, along with first-team All-Big 12 honors by the coaches. He's also a smart guy, earning Academic All-Big 12 and Academic All-American honors, which will give him even more earning power in the NFL. averaged 15 pancake blocks per game this season, paving the way for the Aggies' rushing attack which averaged 215.6 yards per game this year.
PROJECTION: 3rd/4th round pick

3. Red Bryant, DT – (6-5, 328)
Many people didn't know what to expect from Bryant this year, coming off a knee injury that he suffered in 2006. He seemed to be doing okay for himself this year though. He was a freshman All-American in 2004 after starting all 12 games his freshman year, but that was the best season for him statistically until 2007. He missed two and a half games at the end of 2006, which hurt his numbers and may make NFL general managers hesitant to spend lots of money on him. He's a solid run-stopper and an extremely smart guy, which will offset the injury concerns somewhat.
PROJECTION: 4th round pick

4. Chris Harrington, DE – (6-5, 268)
Harrington is an All-Big 12 defensive lineman with good pass rushing abilities, posting 15 sacks in his four-year career. He didn't post as many sacks in his senior campaign, but that may be a result of scheme, rather than ability. Started 36 of the last 37 games for the Aggies, so durability is not a concern either. He's another smart lineman and is the nephew of NFL alum Dave Elmendorf. He won't be a first-day pick, but he'll be a solid defensive lineman for someone.
PROJECTION: 5th-6th round pick

There are also three Aggies who have a shot at being picked up in the last round of the draft if they impress someone at the combines. However, most if not all, will probably end up looking for a free agent contract.

Kirk Elder, OG – (6-4, 305)
Henry Smith, DT – (6-3, 308)
Corey Clark, OT – (6-6, 318)

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