NFL Prospect News: 2/18

With the NFL Combines in Indianapolis less than a week away, there is plenty of news on the prospect front. Who is the Chiefs highest rated outside linebacker? And do the Chargers like the same player? Who is really interested in entering July's supplemental draft? What are the Super Bowl Champion Patriots up to?

Former Central Florida defensive end Richard Jeanty is getting talked-up amongst league scouts and the Edmonton Eskimo will get to show off his stuff on March 3rd at the Miami Hurricane Pro-Day. A pass rushing specialist, Jeanty has size issues to be a true defensive end in the NFL (he weighs in around 250-pounds) but fast times in Coral Gables could push him into the draft's first day. The Cincinnati Bengals have already expressed interest and worked with Eskimo officials to get game tape on the prospect.

Speaking of fast times, sources have told us South Carolina junior receiver Troy Williamson recently turned in a pair of forties with electronic times of 4.28 and 4.23 seconds. A good combine next week (and we are told Williamson will run in the RCA Dome) could push him into the top 15 selections.

Another prospect looking solid as he prepares for the combine is California's Ryan Riddle. The collegiate pass rusher has been working his tail off on linebacker drills, getting accustomed to playing in space, something he'll have to do at the next level. One team who has their eye on Riddle is the New England Patriots, who feel he's be a perfect fit standing up over the tackle in their 3-4 alignment.

Maurice Clarret is hard at work on the west coast and unlike last year, the former Ohio State back will participate in next week's combine. Chided last year for being soft and overweight, the big ball carrier hopes to tip the scales at no more than 225-pounds and would like to run his forty in the low 4.5-second area. Clarret is also hoping to set up a pro-day workout at the same facility he used last April, right before he was denied entry into the 2004 draft.

Recent reports have USC quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart heavily considering July's supplemental draft. Sources have told us nothing could be further from the truth. And while that rumor has been floating around SC, Leinart has flatly denied any interest in the supplemental draft and most associated with the program are talking him at his word.

One prospect who may in fact make the jump is Mississippi State safety Darren Williams. A hard-hitting defender with solid cover skills, Williams was dismissed from the Bulldogs after violating team rules. After originally deciding against entering April's draft and with no place to go but to a D-IAA school, sources feel it is better then 50-50 that Williams will enter the supplemental draft.

As we reported from the Senior Bowl the Kansas City Chiefs will look hard along the back seven for a defensive player in the opening rounds of April's draft. The linebacker they are giving serious consideration to with the 15th pick of the draft is Virginia underclassman Daryl Blackstock. Sources have also confirmed that the San Diego Chargers are extremely interested in the Virginia linebacker, feeling he'd fit perfectly in Wade Phillip's defense.

Trying to continue the momentum off a solid senior season, Wisconsin cornerback Scott Starks has turned in some impressive numbers during recent workouts in Madison as he prepares for the combine. While the 4.3-forties and 39-inch vertical leap does not surprise many, Starks has reportedly put up 18-repititions on the bench press at 225-pounds. If that holds true in a week-and-a-half at the combine Starks will climb the charts, as his size and strength have been a major concern.

Miami junior running back Frank Gore is being trained by former NFL receiver James McKnight at Chris Carter's speed camp in Florida, as he prepares for Indianapolis. Sources have told us Gore looks buff and has dropped ten pounds of body weight.

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