'06 NFL Draft Watch: Texas

A storied program with a good track record recently headed by a coach who seemingly never gets his team over the hump; once again Texas hopes to make a run at a national title this season. The school consistently puts plenty of talent into the early reaches of the NFL draft and 2006 will be no different.  

Scouting the Big 12: Texas 

The strength of the senior NFL-talent lay on the offensive line.  Tackle Jonathan Scott is a big, athletic blocker who opens holes for the running game or gets to the second level and annihilates linebackers.  A solid position blocker, he adjusts in pass protection and plays with solid fundamentals.  Anchoring at the point, Scott easily turns opponents from the play and is effective in motion.  Offering terrific upside, Scott could land in the first round with a dominant as well as consistent senior season and more importantly, solid interviews prior to April's draft.  Teammate Will Allen is another effective position blocker who rarely gives up in inch of room.  Easily riding rushers from their angle of attack, Allen engulfs defenders then removes them from the action.  Lacking adjustment and not overly comfortable in space, he is best in confined quarters yet is a solid second-day pick in 2006.  Two juniors on the line have NFL-potential starting with right tackle Justin Blalock.  Powerful, Blalock drives opponents off the line run blocking or anchors in pass protection.  Explosive, he makes excellent use of body positioning and is a solid athlete. Kasey Studdard is a nasty blocker at guard who looks to hit as many opponents as possible during a single snap.  Strong at the point, Studdard has difficulty in space and is a small area blocker.  Keep an eye on senior backup Mike Garcia, a dominant run blocking guard. Productive the past two seasons, tight end David Thomas now becomes the full-time starter and is a prospect NFL-scouts like.  A solid pass catcher, Thomas is intelligent and works hard in all aspects.  Displaying good recognition, he consistently comes away with the important grab.  Possessing just marginal blocking strength, Thomas looks like a second tight end in the NFL.  Junior quarterback Vince Young is a tremendous athlete with great upside for the next level.  Possessing a live arm, Young easily gets the ball downfield or zips passes into targets.  Fleet footed, he has the ability to improvise when plays break down and is a creative ball carrier that picks up a lot of yardage.  Needing to significantly improve his pass placement, Young is usually high of the mark and must learn to put touch on throws.  More importantly, Young must significantly improve his defensive reads and learn to become a passer rather than just a thrower. 

As is the case almost every year Texas offers several solid defensive lineman starting with Rodrique Wright.  A top athlete that makes plays in every direction, Wright is quick off the snap, wedges between double team blocks and gets a lot of momentum going up the field.  Playing with leverage, he offers solid size and is tough to handle yet must become faster shedding blocks.  Wright is also not the most instinctive defender yet the combination of athleticism, size and the position he plays could move him into the first round next year.  Teammate Larry Dribbles is significantly smaller yet a resilient lineman who plays with outstanding leverage, firing up the field in run defense.  Easily handled at the point of attack, Dribbles is swallowed-up by blocks and may only be effective in certain NFL schemes.  Junior end Tim Crowder is an athletic pass rusher who displays excellent range and ability in pursuit.  Handled at the point of attack, Crowder must improve his playing strength yet offers good upside for the next level.  Linebacker Aaron Harris is an explosive and fast defender.  Flashing on the scene, Harris can run with tight ends in coverage but does not take proper angles to the action and at times completely overruns plays.  Also undersized, he is slowed moving through the trash.  A middle linebacker at Texas, Harris has potential as a weak side defender in the NFL.  In the defensive backfield Michael Huff has been a productive secondary player since his freshman year.  Instinctive and quickly diagnosing the action, Huff displays good skills in man coverage, consistently positioning himself to make a play on the ball.  Huff has been used at strong safety yet his cover skills are good enough to get serious consideration at cornerback in the NFL.  A solid senior campaign coupled with good showings in the post season will push him into the initial 45 selections.  Cedric Griffin possesses good size at cornerback and is a solid athlete with a great burst of closing speed.  Griffin likes to get involved in the action yet does not display top awareness and or ball skills.  He offers a good degree of upside and his draft ranking would significantly improve after a good senior campaign.   

Texas Prospect List

Name Pos Yr #
Will Allen G 5Sr 72
Justin Blalock T 4Jr 63
Tim Crowder DE 3Jr 80
Larry Dibbles DT 4Sr 92
Mike Garcia G 5Sr 51
Cedric Griffin CB 5Sr 8
Aaron Harris OLB 4Sr 2
Michael Huff CB 5Sr 7
Jonathan Scott T 5Sr 73
Kasey Studdard G 4Jr 64
David Thomas TE 4Sr 16
Rodrique Wright DT 4Sr 90
Vince Young QB 4Jr 1

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