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NFL Draft Prospects: Week in Review

Tony Pauline, who covers the NFL Draft for, broke the story about the Browns' interest in Chaun Thompson last year. We're going to be featuring continuing updates from Tony throughout this season, including this recap of last week's prospect-related events. Want to talk to Tony? <A HREF="">Click here</A> to visit his message board!

August 25

  • Alabama defensive tackle Anthony Bryant, a senior, is looking trimmer and quicker then he has in the past.  A big bodied lineman, Bryant displayed flashes of dominance as a sophomore and was highly touted by scouts. His play drastically slid off last season after Bryant looked overweight and poorly conditioned.  Academically ineligible to play as a freshman, Bryant could potentially return to Alabama for the 2004 season if his grades are in order.   
  • LSU wide receiver Michael Clayton suffered a stinger in his right shoulder last week during the Tigers' preseason scrimmage. It is being described as a bruise that aggravated an AC-joint sprain Clayton initially injured on August 14.   Clayton is expected to be back 100% in a few days.  Clayton, a true junior, is already projected as a first round pick by NFL scouts.
  • Southern Mississippi cornerback Corey Yates has responded well after missing the past two years with knee injuries. In 2001 Yates tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the season opener.  Yates then tore the ACL in his left knee during a preseason scrimmage, last year.  The sixth year senior was highly ranked by NFL scouts prior to the knee problems.
  • Tulane running back Mewelde Moore, whose been suffering from a hamstring injury, is close to 100% and should be ready to go for this weekends Green Wave opener against TCU. Moore, one of the most versatile ball handlers in the nation, is considered a potential top 60-pick for next April's draft.
  • Bob Montgomery broke a bone in his foot during a scrimmage last week and is expected to be sidelined for an indefinite period of time.

August 26

  • Junior Devard Darling pulled off several great practices in August and looks poised for another big season. Darling, Washington State's "go to" guy and home run receiver, is one of the more underrated pro-prospects in the nation and a potential first round pick in next April's draft should he make the leap into the NFL.
  • Greg Gathers  has yet to be cleared by doctors to return to action and will definitely not play in Tech's opener this week. Gathers missed the 2002 season with a kidney disorder. The situation flared up this summer and it has kept Gathers on the sidelines. Many think there is the possibility that Gathers may not receive medical clearance to play at all this season.
  • Tony Johnson has had an outstanding camp for the Nittany Lions and looks poised for a big senior campaign.  The speedy wide out has been the favorite target of quarterback Zach Mills and is highly ranked by NFL scouts.
  • Derek Abney has been sidelined since last weekend with a strained hamstring but is expected to be at full strength for the season opener this Sunday against Louisville.  Abney is considered the nation's premiere return man and his special teams skills are giving him first day consideration fir next April's NFL Draft.
  • Tulane linebacker Anthony Cannon, an outstanding young pro-prospect who led the Green Wave last season with 114 tackles sprained a knee two weeks ago and may return to practice this week.  Cannon's status for this weekends conference opener against TCU is still questionable.

August 27

  • Memphis quarterback Danny Wimprine, a sleeper NFL prospect, recently went 20-of-34 for 325 yards and threw four touchdowns with no interceptions during the Tigers scrimmage.
  • Carey Davis will miss the Tigers season-opener against Missouri after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee and could miss up to two additional weeks. Davis, was Illinois' leading rusher last season and is a top ten fullback going into next April's draft.
  • Jonathan Vilma, suffering from a hamstring strain, will not start Thursday nights game against Louisiana Tech.  In fact Vilma may not play at all if the Hurricanes take control of the game from the get-go.  Vilma is presently ranked as a potential first round choice in next April's draft by NFL scouts .
  • Washington Husky center Todd Bachert may not start the season as he is still rehabbing a shoulder which required surgery in the spring.  Bachert is rated as a potential late round pick in next April's draft as either a center or guard.
  • Texas running back Cedric Benson told a group of reporters yesterday that he felt disrespected from within the organization as a result of last season.  Benson was visibly upset about sharing the workload in the UT backfield and being pulled from games.  He went on to say should he have a good campaign in '03 leaving for the NFL Draft was a distinct possibility.  Benson is also an accomplished minor league baseball player.
  • Damien Jones, a potential future NFL prospect, has been ruled academically ineligible and for the upcoming season.

August 28

  • Florida is planning on using senior cornerback Kiewan Ratliff extensively at receiver this season.  Graduation and early entries into the NFL draft have considerably thinned the Gator pass catching crop.  Ratliff practiced extensively at receiver during the spring and the amount of time he spends on the offensive side of the ball  depends on the ability of other Gator receivers to step up their play and/or the defense to hold its' own.  Ratliff is considered a potential first round pick at cornerback in next years draft.
  • After losing two parents in a years' time and struggling through a difficult sophomore campaign, Vince Wilforlk is ready to breakout in 2003.  He recently told the TFY Draft Preview his mind is totally on football and he's focused for the upcoming season.
  • NFL scouts have been in Orlando, Florida almost daily watching the UCF Knights practice.  One of the major attractions?  Quarterback Ryan Schneider.  Coming off a tremendous spring session, Schneider is up to 230-pounds, greatly improving his arm strength and ability to withstand the rush.  He is a sleeper candidate for next April's NFL Draft.
  • Dane Oldham has aggressively rehabilitated his  surgically repaired right knee and is 100% going into the season.  Oldham is considered a late round pick in next April's NFL Draft.
  • University of Brandon Kennedy, a potential top-45 pick in next April's NFL Draft, has been voted as a preseason All-American candidate and is up for the Lombardi Award, given to the nation's top interior lineman.  UNT opens the season this weekend against Oklahoma.

August 29

  • Texas A&M senior wide out Jamaar Taylor was listed behind walk-on Tim Van Zant earlier this week.  Though Taylor is on pace to set several A&M receiving records and is considered a solid late round pick in next April's NFL Draft, Van Zant has been the most impressive in practice.
  • Michael Gaines, considered by most NFL scouts as one of the top five tight end prospects in the nation, was ruled ineligible to play this season. Academically ineligible to play as a true freshman, Gaines had been practicing with the team and in fact took part in a graduation ceremony earlier this summer. Questions eventually arose about two classes Gaines passed which led to his predicament. 
  • Oklahoma sophomore Brodney Pool will start Saturday in place of the suspended safety Brandon Everage for Saturday's game. 
  • Hampton defensive end Isaac Hilton, a Division I-AA sleeper for next April's NFL Draft, was very disappointing in Thursday's opening game at Villanova. Hilton, a tremendous athlete known for his pass rushing prowess, got almost no pressure up the field and was neutralized all night by the Wildcat's offensive line.
  • Tim Brown suffered a torn Achilles' tendon which required surgery to repair.  A fifth year senior, Brown is likely gone for the season and would have to apply for a medical sixth year of eligibility if he wants to play for the Mountaineers in 2004.  A potential late round pick in next April's NFL Draft, Brown is unlikely to be selected should he be denied another season in college.

August 30

  • Virginia senior quarterback Matt Schaub left the game with an injured right shoulder in the first quarter last night against Duke.  Schaub watched the rest of the game in a sling and is doubtful for this weekends contest against South Carolina.  Schaub is considered by most scouts as a mid-round pick in next April's draft.
  • Bernard Berrian looked strong in his first games in almost a year.  Berrian, who suffered a knee injury in last years opener against Wisconsin, led the Bulldogs with three receptions for 28 yards against Tennessee.  The low numbers were more indicative of Fresno State's poor offensive performance as Berrian displayed his characteristic quickness and explosion when the ball was in his hands.  NFL scouts rate Berrian as a top 60 pick in next April's draft.
  • Greg Jones looked back to form in his first game since last November.  Jones, who tore a knee ligament in a conference game against Wake Forest last year, displayed his patented power and tenacity running roughshod over the North Carolina defense for 59-yard on eight carries.  NFL teams will pay close attention to Jones this season, then exam his knee at next February's combine to determine whether or not he is a first round pick medically.
  • Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen struggled despite his teams overwhelming victory against Fresno State. The physically gifted passer is still have trouble with defensive reads and decision making. Clausen's mental intangibles are being closely watched by NFL scouts as he moves through his senior campaign.

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