Running back Steven Jackson took the Pac Ten by surprise last season and now stands as one of the nation's top pro-prospects at his position. A one man show, Jackson dominates the interior and rarely, if ever, is brought down by a single opponent. He carries the pile yet displays good ball carrier instincts and the skill to run outside of tackle. Jackson's hands are also reliable, but his upright running style leads to a lot of punishing hits and he lacks the speed to turn the corner around the outside. Now that opponents will focus on him, it will be interesting to watch Jackson in 2004. Should he respond with a big campaign and leave OSU, he will be an early draft pick. Receiver James Newson has been the Beavers "go to" pass catcher the past three seasons and possesses solid size/speed numbers for the next level. He is almost clairvoyant on the field and comes away with the important reception during the game's big moments. Pre-draft forty times are critical for him. Tim Euhus could well be one of the most underrated tight ends in the nation. Proficient at catching the ball and effective as a blocker, Euhus has slowly grown into a complete player. Making receptions in the defensive secondary, Euhus' hands are very reliable. He gives effort blocking but could stand to increase his playing strength and add bulk, but he will be a solid mid-round selection next April. >From the standpoint of physical skills, Derek Anderson has all the tools scouts want at the next level for a pocket passer and flashed them early in the '02 season, but to this point his game needs a lot of work. Anderson's fundamentals are shaky as is his penchant to lock onto a single receiver or toss the ball into coverage. All of this is correctable and should he fix the problems, not only will Anderson move up the list of quarterback prospects but he also will give the Beavers a real shot at winning the Pac Ten in 2003. Finally, Brian Kilkenny is a lineman to chart, though the OSU left tackle is better suited for the strong side. Receiver Kenny Farley has outstanding size and could move into the middle rounds with a good senior campaign.
Even with the departure of Eric Manning, the OSU defensive line still has several top prospects. Tackle Dwan Edwards is a pocket pusher that gets a lot of drive going up the field, bull-rushing opponents off the line. More of a straight-line player, he's a solid run stuffer that could go in the middle rounds next April. Noah Happe is a nasty pass rusher with a relentless style, but he is tall and very thin. He needs to add bulk to have any shot at the next level. The same can be said for Bill Swancutt, though the junior is a little further along as compared to Happe. Displaying speed off the edge as well as a head for the ball, Swancutt is relentless in his pursuit of the quarterback yet plays with discipline and collapses laterally to defend the run. Only a junior, Swancutt's play, and draft stock, should rise as he physically matures. Inside linebacker Richard Seigler is someone we've charted since his freshman season. A terrific run stuffer, Seigler is quick to key and diagnose. He takes great angles to the action. Very efficient, he wastes no movement arriving on the scene and is constantly around the play. Also effective in pass coverage, Seigler displays both range and depth on drops. The problem he faces coming into the season, and one which teammate Nick Barnett also had at this point last year, is a lack of size. Seigler's job may be difficult because he may never be big enough for the inside and could be headed to the weak side or may even be best in a three-four alignment. Regardless, he is a quality prospect.