'06 NFL Draft Watch: Virginia

A program which annually ranks among the tops in recruiting, Virginia seemingly underachieves on the field and has difficulty winning the big game. The '05 roster is loaded with talent and several potential early selection's in next April's NFL draft.  

Scouting the ACC: Virginia 

Offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson is the top prospect on this side of the ball.  An outstanding athlete, Ferguson possesses great skill in pass protection, blocking with solid fundamentals and displaying the ability to slide his feet off the edge.  Quick to the second level, he redirects to linebackers and effectively pulls across the line of scrimmage, blocking in motion.  A big imposing athlete, he jolts defenders at the point of attack and easily adjusts anywhere on the field.  Not overly instinctive, Ferguson overextends and at times presents himself as a marginal run blocker who cannot finish.  He offers terrific size as well as upside for the next level and will be a top 12 selection next year.  Right tackle Brad Butler does not get the same mention of his teammate yet is still a solid late round prospect.  A solid position blocker, Butler rides opponents from their angle of attack and stays after assignments.  Setting with a wide base, he is also an alert lineman who works well with teammates.  Needing to improve his overall playing strength, Butler lacks the dominant base and is more of a backup at the next level.  Guard Brian Barthelmes is a nasty lineman best in a small area.  Explosive into blocks, Barthelmes is quick to the second level and works to take opponents out.  Getting straight legged, he lacks the dominant base, footwork in space and does not play with great balance.  Running back Wali Lundy is a patient ball carrier on the inside who breaks the first tackle to pick up yardage off initial contact.  Displaying both patience and vision, Lundy waits for blocks to develop then finds the running lanes.  Not a creative or elusive back, Lundy is best between tackle and underachieves as a blocker.  The team welcomes the return of Ottawa Anderson and a consistent pass catcher who sat on the sidelines last year due to academic in eligibility.  Anderson presents himself as a potential number five receiver in the NFL. Jason Snelling is a hard hitting fullback who works to get a pad on defenders.  Strong in his lower body, Snelling picks up yardage off contact and breaks tackles between carrying the ball. 

The Cavaliers have a tremendous amount of talent at linebacker starting with junior Ahmad Brooks.  An explosive defender with outstanding instincts, Brooks quickly diagnoses the action and immediately fills gaps up the field, displaying the ability to run ball carriers down in pursuit.  Stacking well against the run, he remains disciplined, plays under control and effectively defends the pass in zone.  Brooks must now overcome a serious knee problem as he underwent surgery in January to regenerate bone growth.  He will miss the season opener and his status is uncertain.  Brooks physical skills and play on the field warrant a top 15 pick in the draft yet recent medical procedures on his knee could send up red flags.  Teammate Kai Parham is another explosive athlete who displays top sideline to sideline range.  Hard-hitting, Parham quickly fills gaps in run defense yet also gets depth in coverage.  Not efficient, Parham does not always take correct angles to the action and gets caught up in the trash laterally.  Offering plenty of physical skill and good size, the junior must smooth out the rough edges of his game.  Marcus Hamilton is a junior corner we like a lot and a fluid cover man with good instincts.  Displaying footwork in reverse, Hamilton quickly plants then breaks on the throw.  Active backed off the line of scrimmage, he does a nice job reading the quarterback and has a decisive move to the play.  Senior defensive linemen Brennan Schmidt and Kwakou Robinson are players to keep on the radar screen.

Virginia Prospect List

Name Pos Yr #
Brian Barthelmes G 5Sr 62
Ahmad Brooks ILB 3Jr 34
Brad Butler T 4Sr 69
D'Brickashaw Ferguson T 4Sr 66
Marques Hagans QB 5Sr 18
Marcus Hamilton CB 4Jr 3
Wali Lundy RB 4Sr 33
Kai Parham OLB 4Jr 44
Kwakou Robinson DE 4Sr 98
Brennan Schmidt DE 5Sr 96
Jason Snelling FB 4Jr 38


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