Fascinating facts from weekend's draft

TWO COUGARS WERE DRAFTED over the weekend right about where most pundits envisioned, and four others considered on the bubble were signed quickly as free agents. Indeed, other than Brady Quinn's big slide, the only head-turner for me over the weekend was this discovery: Only one of the 32 players taken in the first round hailed from the Pac-10. LSU, meanwhile, produced four picks and Miami three.

Whoa Nellie. We're talking some serious concentration of talent, folks. Four other schools (Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas and Florida) had two players each taken in the first round.

In all, nearly half of the first-round picks came from just six schools.

The lone Pac-10 player in round one was Cal running back Marshawn Lynch, who went to the Bills with the 12th selection. Hard to believe, but mighty Central Michigan U., all by itself, equalled the entire Pac-10 in that first round.

In fairness, though, the Conference of Champions made up ground in the second round, with six players -- three from USC -- getting their names called.

HERE's ANOTHER REMARKABLE factoid to come out of the draft. Jamie Newberg, national recruiting analyst for Scout.com, looked at the top 100 selections and then went through the datbase to see how Scout rated those players when they were high school seniors.

I must say I found myself eating some crow. As longtime readers of CF.C know, I've been a loud critic of the star system. But looking at how the top 100 draft choices were evaluated as prepsters, I have to concede that there is some serious legitimacy to it all.

I didn't break down the entire top 100, but I did crunch the data on the first 40, which encompasses the first round and the top portion of the second. This is what I found:

* 11 of the top 40 were rated 5-star prospects when they were high school seniors and 14 were rated 4-star talents. Bottom line: a whopping 62 percent of the top 40 NFL draft picks this year were earmarked for greatness when they were 17 or 18 years old.

* 5 of the top 40 were 3-star prospects; and

* 9 of the top 40 were unranked 2-star prospects, and 1 more wasn't even on the radar.

I ALSO DID A LITTLE star research myself, to see how the five Cougars who were drafted or signed free agent contracts over the weekend were rated back in their high school senior years.

Receiver Jason Hill, taken in the third round by San Francisco, was an unranked 2-star safety prospect -- despite an assessment from his prep coach that he was destined to play wideout in the NFL. Safety Eric Frampton, drafted in the fifth round by Oakland, was also an unranked 2-star prospect.

Second-team All-American defensive end Mkristo Bruce, who signed a free agent deal with Miami, wasn't even listed in the database. Neither was offensive tackle Charles Harris, who signed Sunday with Tennessee.

Tight end Cody Boyd, however, was far from under-the-radar. Coming out of Ferndale in 2002 he was a 4-star prospect rated the 23rd-best TE prospect in the land. He signed a free agent contract Sunday with Pittsburgh.

Another Cougar who signed a free agent deal, cornerback Tyron Brackenridge with Kansas City, wasn't even listed in the database coming out of high school, but after a stellar two years at Chaffey Community College he was rated a 4-star prospect.

THERE WAS SOME speculation that the Cleveland Browns might be interested in picking up a running back in this draft, but they took none, which leads me to believe that while they were critical last season of former Cougar All-American Jerome Harrison's blocking skills (or lack thereof), they do see him developing into a legitimate change-of-pace back for them.

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE 2008 draft, there seems little doubt which Cougar will be drawing the most attention. Receiver/kick returner Michael Bumpus is widely viewed as NFL caliber. He, by the way, was a 4-star guy coming out of high school and rated the 15th-best prep receiving prospect in the nation.

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