Scouting the NFL Draft Top 10

Heading into the final few weeks before the draft, as the Pro-Days close out, here's an updated ranking of the top 10 players available for this years NFL Draft. <b>Pictured left is Oregon State RB and Cowboys RB target Steven Jackson</b>

Name: Larry Fitzgerald School Pittsburgh Year 2So
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 225 40: 4.53 Pos: WR

Bio: 2003 Big East Offensive Player of the Year, All American and awarded the Walter Camp Player of the Year and Biletnikoff Trophy last season after catching 92/1,672/22. Started eleven games the prior year and finishing with 69/1,005/12. Set a pair of NCAA receiving records last season including consecutive games with a touchdown catch (18) and total touchdown receptions as a freshman and sophomore (34). Also added single season conference records for receiving yards, receptions and touchdown catches. Only player in Big East history to have two 1,000 yard receiving seasons while also setting a record with ten 100 yard receiving games. Given special exception by the NFL to enter the draft after being just two years removed from getting his high school diploma.

Positives: Naturally gifted receiver with a tremendous feel for the position and outstanding skill in every area. Fluid releasing off the line, reads the defense and finds the open spot on the field. Sells pass routes, shields opponents from the action or physically beats defenders to make the reception. Comes back to the ball, consistently gets open and extends to catch the pass away from his frame. Displays tremendous concentration in all areas. Makes the acrobatic or difficult reception with regularity. Runs well laterally, adjusts for the errant pass and quick transitioning from catching the ball to running after the reception. Strong enough to beat jams at the line of scrimmage or help out as a blocker. Exposes himself to make the reception and takes a pounding yet holds on to the ball. Tracks the deep or intermediate pass and displays a tremendous sense of timing. Always on the same page as his quarterback. High character prospect well liked by coaches and teammates.

Negatives: Does not get deep separation or a receiver that wins out in foot races. Lacks the quick explosive route running skills.

Analysis: Considered the most "NFL-ready" of just about any player in this draft, Fitzgerald is poised to be an early selection and a productive rookie from the start of his NFL career. Should quickly make the transition to the pro game and become a number one receiver for whichever franchise selects him.

Name: Robert Gallery School Iowa Year 5Sr
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 323 40: 4.99 Pos: T

Bio: Four year starter that's played forty-nine games with the first-team at Iowa. Named All American as a senior, a first team All Big Ten 10 pick the past two seasons and an Academic All-Conference choice every year since his sophomore campaign. Began his career at Iowa as a tight end.

Positives: Big, athletic lineman with the frame to add bulk and power. Outstanding pass protector who blocks a wide base, terrific lean and easily rides rushers from their angle of attack. Bends his knees, slides laterally and a patient lineman that plays with great balance. Uses both angles and body positioning to wall defenders from the action yet blocks with a nasty attitude and wants to destroy opponents. Stuns defenders at the point with great hand jolt. Fundamentally sound and translates his classroom intelligence onto the football field.

Negatives: Not quick or explosive off the snap nor is he effective on the second level. A bit thin in his lower body and though strong, not a dominant run blocking tackle.

Analysis: One of the more versatile offensive tackles to enter the draft in a long while, Gallery is a terrific prospect that will offer immediate returns as well as long term potential. Should quickly come in and start as a left tackle for a franchise, yet could also grow into a dominant strong-side blocker. Will only get better as he physically matures and improves his skills as a run blocker.

Name: Eli Manning School: Mississippi Year: 5Sr
Ht: 6-4.5 Wt: 221 40: 4.92 Pos: QB

Bio: Three year starter awarded numerous honors since his sophomore campaign. All American, All Conference and SEC Offensive Player of the Year as a senior when he also won the Maxwell Award as the nation's top collegiate player and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, handed to the top senior quarterback in the country. Finished 2003 with passing numbers of 62.4%/3,600/29/10. Second team All-SEC as a junior when he became the school's career leader in touchdown passes and finished the season throwing 58%/3,401/21/15. Earned honorable mention All America honors from several media outlets as a sophomore in 2001 after numbers of 63.5%/2,948/31/9. All Academic selection in the past and carries a 3.44 GPA. Brother of Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts and son to former Saints passer Archie Manning.

Positives: Smart, instinctive passer with a great feel for the game. Sets up with solid footwork, senses pressure then steps up to avoid the rush. Patient, buys as much time as possible and remains calm as the pocket collapses around him. Sells the ball fake, sees the field and finds the open wide out. Quick releasing the pass, puts zip on his throws over the middle and nicely times the outs. Goes through receiver progressions, knows where his pass catchers are on the field and puts touch on throws when needed. Gets outside the pocket if pressured and accurate throwing on the move. Lets receivers run to the corner routes putting air under his throws. Always in total command of the offense.

Negatives: Deep throws lack speed and must improve his accuracy down the field. Lacks the quick set up or ability to immediately get the ball off on a three step drop. Does not display the same pinpoint pass placement his brother did coming out of college.

Analysis: By himself, Eli is a top prospect worthy of the first pick in April's and a quarterback that can lead a team at the next level. Yet with that he'll constantly be compared to brother Peyton and does not possess the same detailed nature or overall quarterback intangibles. Should be graded on what he is; a terrific prospect that can quickly start at the next level and deliver early returns.

Name: Kellen Winslow Jr School Miami-Fl Year 3Jr
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 251 40: 4.51 Pos: TE

Bio: All American and All Conference selection as a junior and handed the John Mackey Award, given annually to college football's top tight end. Finished last season as the team's top pass catcher with 60/605/1. Gained All American notice as a sophomore posting 57/726/8. Father was a Hall of Fame tight end for the San Diego Chargers.

Positives: Tremendous athlete that could revolutionize the tight end position in the NFL. Quick releasing off the line of scrimmage, sharp route runner and gets separation from defenders. Plays with leverage, strength and creates mismatches for the defense. Outruns most linebackers and too strong for defensive backs. Shields defenders from the action with his frame, adjusts to the errant throw and makes the difficult reception in traffic. Contorts to the errant pass and consistently catches the ball away from his frame. Finds the soft spot in the defense or physically beats defenders to come free. Makes both the ordinary and acrobatic catch with regularity. Displays a sense of timing, tracks the deep throw and quick transitioning from catching the pass to running after the reception. Keeps the play in bounds and works to pick up yardage. Easily makes the reception at top speed. Gives effort blocking and works to finish off defenders.

Negatives: To this point lacks functional football strength and gets average results blocking. Does a bit of standing around at times rather than coming back to the ball. Takes his eyes off the ball and looks to run before he's actually caught the ball. Getting the rap as a "high maintenance" prospect.

Analysis: Very much a chip off the old block, Winslow will change the way the tight end position is played just as his dad did. A skill player coordinators can game plan around he has All Pro type talent for years to come but must learn to control his temper and remain focused.

Name: Sean Taylor School Miami-Fl Year 3Jr
Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 230 40: 4.51 Pos: S

Bio: Big East Defensive Player of the Year in '03 after totaling 77/10/13. All Conference selection as a sophomore after 53/4/15.

Positives: Big, game impacting safety that could be used at a variety of positions. Intelligent, immediately recognizes the action and quick to key the ball carrier. Efficient, plays under control and takes correct angles to the action. Remains focused and though fierce in run defense does not get caught out of position on pass plays. Fires up the field, displays a burst of speed but also plays sideline-to-sideline and covers a good amount of area. Hard hitting and forces the action. Outstanding special teams player that impacts the game on coverage units.

Negatives: Better facing the quarterback and slow to locate in man-to-man coverage. Lacks top hands for the interception and as a result defends more throws than he actually picks off.

Analysis: A freak of nature with rare athletic abilities, Taylor can be a force at either safety positions in the NFL. He has the physical skills, tenacity and mental attitude to immediately produce as a rookie and should quickly move into a starting lineup next season.

Name: Ben Roethlisberger School: Miami-Oh Year: 4Jr
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 247 40: 4.94 Pos: QB

Bio: First team All Conference choice garnering All American notice as a junior after passing numbers of 69.1%/4,486/37/10 with an efficiency rating of 165.84. Established Miami single season records for pass completions and passing yards, breaking his own totals from 2002. Sophomore numbers were 63.3%/3,238/22/11. Named MAC Freshman of the Year in 2001 after completing 66.3%/3,105/25/13. Joined Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich as the only MAC quarterbacks to pass for 3,000 or more yards in three separate seasons and accumulated 10,829 yards passing during that time.

Positives: Big armed pocket passer with the ability to grow into a franchise quarterback. Sets up to deliver the ball with solid footwork, stands strong in the pocket and smart. Sells the ball fakes, scans the field and consistently finds the open pass catcher. Senses the rush yet buys as much time as possible, waiting for the last second before releasing the ball. Rarely panics, in complete control of the offense and a true leader behind center. Natural looking off the safety, throws with a fluid over delivery and possesses a big arm. Drives deep passes downfield, puts zip on the intermediate routes as well as velocity on all his throws. Throws tight spirals and beautifully arches deep throws. Leads receivers over the middle and very accurate. Gets outside tackle and accurate passing on the move. Does not make poor decisions and always working to make positive plays.

Negatives: A pocket passer with marginal mobility and ca not escape the rush. Must improve his downfield accuracy as well as the placement of the outs. Majority of snaps are taken out of the shotgun.

Analysis: A high character prospect well liked and respected, Roethlisberger is gifted both physically and intellectually. Possesses the skills a franchise can build their team around for a winning future. May not offer early returns but has more upside potential than any other signal caller in this draft.

Name: Roy Williams School Texas Year 4Sr
Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 212 40: 4.42 Pos: WR

Bio: Made a major impact on the Texas program as a freshman and has won varying degrees of All Conference honors since the 2000 season. Led Texas in receiving the past three seasons most recently totaling 70/1,079/9 in '03 after 64/1,142/12 as a junior when he set a school record for touchdown receptions. Sophomore totals included 67/836/7 after 40/809/8 in 2000 when he was tabbed Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year.

Positives: Big, playmaking receiver that is a scoring threat every time he handles the ball. Quickly gets off the line defeating jams by opponents, has a burst of speed and runs solid routes. Sharp into patterns, stays low on exit and immediately positions himself to make the reception. Shields defenders from the action with his large frame and protects the pass, quickly transitioning up the field after the reception. Extends his hands, offers the quarterback a nice target and comes down with the ball in a crowd. Tough to cover and easily separates from opponents. Picks up positive yardage running with the ball and is both elusive and strong. Makes the reception in stride running laterally, has excellent deep speed yet controls the game as a possession receiver in the underneath coverage. Also intelligent and knows where the chains are on third down. Effective blocker when focused on the task at hand.

Negatives: Does not always play with a sense of urgency and comes across as a prospect that will take it or leave it. Does not always attack blocking assignments. Bothered by hamstring injuries throughout his junior campaign. Does not always show up for the big game.

Analysis: A receiver that dominates, Williams possesses the physical skills that warrant a very early selection at the top of the draft but does not come across as someone that always plays like the game is on the line. Possessing more upside than any player in this draft, Williams will be a value pick anywhere after the third choice if he plays to his level.

Name: Kenechi Udeze School USC Year 4Jr
Ht: 6-2.5 Wt: 275 40: 4.75 Pos: DE

Bio: Totaled 56/26/16.5 last season as a junior after posting 44/16/7.5, intercepting one pass and blocking a field goal as a sophomore. Moved into the starting lineup as a freshman and registered 35/9/4.

Positives: One of the nation's top pass rushing terrors the past two seasons. Plays with balance, explosion and tough to knock off his feet. Easily stays in his angle of attack, rushes the edge with speed and discards blockers on his way to the ball carrier. Makes plays in every direction with the ability to drop off the line and play in space. Plays hard even if the outcome of a game has already been determined.

Negatives: Not always quick locating the ball and lacks the top instincts off the line. Engulfed by big, mammoth offensive tackles.

Analysis: A rare specimen with a tremendous combination of speed, explosion and natural strength, Udeze is poised to be a very early selection in April's draft. His production and propensity to make plays in the opponents backfield will make a sought after commodity early in the draft's first round

Name: Will Smith School Ohio State Year 4Sr
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 268 40: 4.68 Pos: DE

Bio: Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last season, chosen as both an All Conference and All American pick. Totaled 49/20/10.5 in '03, also breaking up 4 passes. Junior numbers included 59/12.5/5.5 which came off the heels of a sophomore campaign when he registered 47/9/4. Recently ran 4.55 during private workouts.

Positives: Explosive defender and versatile lineman productive in a variety of areas. Plays low with good pad level, explodes off the snap and displays speed off the corner or pursuing from the backside. Agile, fluid changing direction and sensational making plays out to the flanks. Rarely off his feet and creates a lot of havoc in the opponents backfield. Effective in space covering tight ends. Deceptively strong, holds his ground against blocks and defends the run. Also smart and quick to diagnose the action or locate the ball.

Negatives: Lacks natural bulk and size. Has difficulty with big offensive lineman and pushed from his angle of attack. Gave consideration to entering the '03 draft but was injured and would not have been physically prepared to perform for scouts.

Analysis: Possessing a rare combination of speed, explosion and athleticism, Smith is a complete defensive lineman that impacts the game. An outstanding prospect and excellent value after the eight slot in April's draft.

Name: Steven Jackson School Oregon State Year 3Jr
Ht: 6-1.5 Wt: 241 40: 4.55 Pos: RB

Bio: Two year starter awarded multiple All American and All Conference honors during both campaigns. Finished his junior season with 350/1,545/19 rushing, also catching 44/470/3. Sophomore totals were 319/1,690/15 on the ground and 17/165/1 as a pass catcher. Has averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 743 rushing attempts the past three seasons.

Positives: Big, powerful ball handler with a variety of skills and abilities. Displays excellent vision and running instincts; patient, waits for blocks to develop then follows them at the line or down the field. Will pick and choose his spots, displays good footwork in a small area and weaves his way through the traffic finding the open spots on the field. Sets up defenders, makes them miss and displays a good burst of speed. Runs with balance, adjusts off the initial hit and effective between tackle or cutting the corner on the outside. Punishing runner that moves the pile and wastes defenders as he plows over them. Looks like a runaway locomotive in the open field and does not go down without a fight. A legitimate receiving threat that runs well after the reception. Effective blocking for the passing game.

Negatives: Cannot run to daylight and lacks the great acceleration in the open field. Would not be considered an elusive or explosive back.

Analysis: An all around running back that can be a work horse carrying the ball, Jackson has all the skills to be a top ball handler at the next level. Has proven durability as well as productivity the past two seasons and combines power, speed and football intelligence. Terrific prospect for the next level.

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