2005 prospects: Week in review

A look at the stories and events from last week that will directly impact the 2005 NFL draft.

Monday, Oct. 18

-- Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson, a potential top 12 pick in next April's draft, missed the final seven minutes of Saturday's Big 12 victory over Missouri with a bruised shoulder. He will be re-evaluated later this week.

-- One underclassman prospect who has really caught the eye of NFL scouts is Virginia Tech defensive back Jimmy Williams. After a brilliant sophomore campaign at free safety, Williams has taken well after moving to cornerback this season. There is still some debate as to which position he is best situated for in the NFL, but most say off the record Williams is first-round material should he enter this April's draft.

-- As we stated after scouting him in Gainesville, quarterback Matt Jones of Arkansas is a prospect who will draw much speculation as we move closer to the draft. While most project the collegiate signal-caller to wide receiver or even tight end, there are a few NFL scouts who feel his size, speed and football intelligence make him a sure bet at safety.

-- Quarterback Jason Campbell of Auburn is having a tremendous senior season. Completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 1,363 yards, Campbell has thrown 13 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Campbell's touchdown-to-interception ratio is vastly improved from last year and his 2004 campaign has not gone unnoticed by NFL scouts. The belief right now is Campbell will get an invite to the Senior Bowl next January in Mobile, Ala., and has significantly improved his draft stock.

-- Tailback Anthony Davis left Wisconsin's 20-17 win over Purdue in the second quarter after hurting his quadriceps on a 33-yard run. Davis initially missed four plays and returned in time to open the game's scoring with a 6-yard touchdown run. He ran twice more in the second quarter and three times in the third but did not play in the fourth quarter.

-- Erasmus James will sit out Wisconsin's upcoming game versus Northwestern after injuring his ankle in the Badgers' win at Purdue. Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez told ESPN.com Sunday that James "blew his ankle out" when a Purdue tight end "rolled up on him." James was injured in the third quarter Saturday when he was chop-blocked in the back of the legs and knocked to the ground. James is expected to return to action following the homecoming game with Northwestern. Wisconsin has a bye the week after the Northwestern game, then hosts Minnesota Nov. 6. James leads the Big Ten in sacks (7) and is second in tackles for loss (10.5).

Tuesday, Oct. 19

-- Fully recovered from his ankle sprain, Florida State quarterback Chris Rix will remain on the bench as sophomore Wyatt Sexton will continue to be the team's starter, according to head coach Bobby Bowden. This is another major blow for the draft ranking of Rix.

-- Colorado running back Bobby Purify, whose college career has been riddled with injury, aggravated a left shoulder sprain attempting to catch a pass in the second quarter of the game against Iowa State. He is presently listed as day-to-day.

-- Cal senior running back J.J. Arrington is starting to catch the attention of NFL scouts. Already surpassing his junior rushing totals, Arrington has posted 783 yards on the ground with nine touchdowns. Small at 5 feet 8 inches, Arrington is accomplished catching the ball and is now seen as a late-round pick who'll be molded into a third-down back in the NFL.

Wednesday, Oct. 20

-- Texas senior tailback Cedric Benson, a potential first-round pick in next April's draft, continues to put up big rushing numbers this year. Yet despite that, a lack of ball-security has some NFL scouts concerned. After fumbling three times against Baylor, Benson fumbled again during the Longhorns' 12-0 loss to Oklahoma.

-- Junior linebacker Nick Reid of Kansas is garnering the attention of NFL scouts. Battling highly rated Barrett Ruud of Nebraska as the Big 12 Conference's leading tackler, Reid has also posted two sacks, nine tackles for loss and an interception in a breakout season.

-- Terrence Murphy, Texas A&M's senior wide receiver, totaled five catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in the Aggies' victory over Oklahoma State. Not included in the stats was the tip of a Reggie McNeal Hail Mary pass by Murphy which was caught by teammate DeQawn Mobley for a touchdown at the end of the first half. Murphy has a school-record eight 100-yard receiving games and is the Aggies' career leader with 138 catches and 2,276 yards. Highly rated by NFL scouts coming into the season, Murphy just keeps improving his draft stock.

-- Stanford safety Oshiomogho Atogwe is starting to become known as a big-play defender. Cardinal coach Buddy Teevens characterized the potential first-day pick this way: "The number of big hits he had, the way he rallies the troops, that big turnover. He's a special guy."

-- The news is good today for standout Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson, a potential top 10 pick in next April's draft. After being named a Lombardi Award semifinalist, it seems the shoulder injury he suffered last Saturday was deemed a mild sprain. Though forced to sit out the final seven minutes of the fourth-quarter victory over Missouri, Johnson is expected to play this weekend.

Thursday, Oct. 21

-- UCLA senior wide receiver Craig Bragg, one of the best return specialists in the nation, is expected to play Saturday at Arizona State. Bragg sat out the last three games because of a dislocated left shoulder suffered against Washington on Sept. 18. He needs just 11 receptions to pass Kevin Jordan for the all-time record at UCLA and 442 receiving yards to pass Danny Farmer's school mark. Bragg is a potential middle-round pick.

-- Illinois senior linebacker Matt Sinclair, a potential late-round pick in next April's draft, will serve an eight-day jail sentence with a teammate when the season ends after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery charges. The charges stem from a barroom brawl in which the two players were accused of tackling and punching another person.

-- Loren Howard, the highly ranked junior defensive end from Northwestern, who suffered an ankle injury five days before the start of the season, is practicing and hopes to return to the lineup this Saturday against Wisconsin.

-- One prospect who has impressed NFL scouts since returning from injury has been Notre Dame senior linebacker Mike Goolsby. A collarbone Goolsby broke during the Gator Bowl in January of '03 did not properly heal and forced him to take a red shirt last season. Presently, Goolsby leads the defense with 63 tackles, 18 more than his nearest teammate. Projected as a middle-round choice, Goolsby projects as either a middle or strongside linebacker at the next level.

-- Talented but oft-injured North Carolina State tailback T.A. McLendon aggravated a pulled hamstring and his status for Saturday's big contest against the Miami Hurricanes is still uncertain.

Friday, Oct. 22

-- Florida State senior receiver Chauncey Stovall is making NFL scouts take notice. After redshirting in 2002 when he arrived from Hinds Community College, the 215-pound wide out is having a breakthrough season and leads the Seminoles in both receiving yards and touchdown catches.

-- Even though he's been doubled-teamed all season by opponents, Purdue senior receiver Taylor Stubblefield leads the Boilermakers with 38 catchers, 608 yards and 11 touchdowns. Also an accomplished punt returner, Stubblefield could make a big jump into the early part of next April's NFL draft if he runs well at the combine.

-- Oklahoma senior Dan Cody is drawing rave reviews not only from NFL scouts but his head coach, Bob Stoops. "He's very athletic, not just with his size and strength, but he's just got great mobility," Stoops recently said. Stoops, the former defensive coordinator at Florida, is using Cody the way he did another former defender who terrorized opposing offenses, Jevon Kearse. The implementation of zone blitzes in the OU defense has allowed Cody to show the NFL an entirely different facet of his game.

-- A New York federal appeals court has turned down the request to rehear Maurice Clarett's suit against the NFL. The former Ohio State running back's only legal option now is to appeal his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Clarett and his and legal advisers were told yesterday that the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City denied his petition. The appeals court in May had also ruled against Clarett, stopping him from entering the NFL draft.


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