NFL draft: forecasting the Cougs

FOR COUGAR WATCHERS, about the only certainty during this weekend's NFL draft is that Jason Hill will be picked on the first day. The consensus among the array of forecasters is that the record-setting wideout will go somewhere between the middle-second and high-third rounds. But for Hill's nine teammates who also are looking for a shot at pro ball this year, the outlook ranges widely.

Take offensive tackle Charles Harris, for instance. While most observers have long considered him destined for free agency, The Sporting News last week predicted he'd go in the sixth round to the Buffalo Bills. Harris, who had a stellar Pro Day workout in Pullman in early March, was one of only two Cougs TSN had on its 255-person draft board. The other was Hill, going to the New York Giants in the second round., and also have Hill going in the second round -- to the Seahawks, New York Jets and San Diego Chargers, respectively., and have pegged Hill for the third round -- to San Francisco, Denver and Kansas City.

Defensive end Mkristo Bruce, once thought to be a potential third or fourth round pick, has in the words of analyst Kyle Rota, "seen his stock fall due to lack of overall athleticism –- he is 6-5, 268 but ran a tackle-like 5.12 forty at the Combine." Still, Rota sees Bruce going to the Seattle Seahawks in the sixth round. "He plays disciplined ball with good technique and while he may never be a difference maker he is a safe pick who oozes intangibles," Rota says. also sees Bruce going to the Seahawks, but a round earlier, in the fifth. Bruce had a personal workout with the Seahawks two weeks ago. Most other forecasters see Bruce as a free agent signee.

Another Coug whose stock has dropped since the end of the season is cornerback Tyron Brackenridge. With struggles during East-West Shrine Game workouts and then slow 40 times at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in February, he looks now to be a free agent pick up.

On the other hand, one of his mates in the Cougar secondary -- safety Eric Frampton -- has seen his stock rise. slots him going to the Seahawks in the fourth round and predicts him going to New England in the sixth. The Oakland Raiders, though, could be in the hunt after showing particular interest in his footwork at the NFL Combine.

Tight end Cody Boyd, long thought a free agent signee, has garnered a fifth round/Tampa Bay prediction from and a sixth round/Seattle forecast from NFLexperts also sees Cougar outside linebacker Steve Dildine going to the Bears in the seventh round.

Three Cougars unlikely to draw draft consideration but who could earn free agent tryouts are linebacker Scott Davis, offensive lineman Sean O'Connor and cornerback Don Turner.

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