Pro-Prospects of the Big 12: Texas

The question is can Mack Brown get his team to the next level and into the upper echelon of college football? He was unable to do so at North Carolina and has followed a similar pattern Texas The last two seasons a talented team was torn by a "quarterback controversy" but that will not be the case this season as the man with the headlines is in total control at the helm. And as usual there are several talented pro-prospects on the Longhorn roster. Here's a look at some of them.

Texas Longhorns

Obviously the man everyone will be watching is quarterback Chris Simms, wondering if he can live up to the expectations and flashes he's shown the past three seasons. Simms has the physical skills and technically is very sound but has lacked overall consistency and the ability to make plays when things break down. He'll "wow" you on one play then will leave you scratching your head the next snap. A solid pocket passer at the next level, Simms really needs to take a big step up this season if he's to make a move towards the front of the draft.

Simms favorite target, Roy Williams, is also one who suffers from a lack of consistency. A game controlling wide out, Williams dominates opponents with size, strength and reliable hands. Breaking him down on film one thing that really stands out is how effective a route runner he is for a big receiver but does disappear for stretches at a time and is not always around during crunch time.  Then again, he was only a true sophomore last season. BJ Johnson has the speed and home-run hitting skills Williams does not. Johnson stretches the defense and makes a lot of plays down the field but has difficulty in battles with opponents and does not always come away with the difficult grab. Both Williams and Johnson are potential first round picks when they enter the draft, though at different ends of the initial frame.

Possibly the most underrated area of the Longhorn offense, and a position where they have two solid prospects, is tight end. Bo Scaife is a "move" tight end; that is, he excels catching the ball and does it on "the move" down field. For the most part Scaife is athletic and makes a lot of big catches, though he's prone to dropping a few on occasion. Brock Edwards does not make that many plays far off the line of scrimmage but is a top notch blocker and a complete tight end who may be used at fullback this year.   Both underclassmen, Scaife and Edwards look to be solid middle round picks as of now.

If tight end is the underrated area of the offense then lineman Derrick Dockery is far and away the most unheralded player in the line-up. A guard that spelled Mike Williams at tackle in the Big 12 title game, Dockery is big, dominant and plays a powerful brand of football like his most recent Longhorn predecessors. He may not be selected as high as Williams or Leonard Davis but is one of the better line prospects in the nation going into next season.

On the other side of the trench Cory Redding will be a top ranked player going into the draft next April and deservedly so. Redding is a speedy edge rusher with deceptive strength and tremendous versatility. Scouting him in Dallas last year during the Red River Rivalry, Redding's ability to play off the line of scrimmage and string plays out to the sidelines or drop into pass coverage was outstanding and something that could move him into the early part of round one.

Marcus Tubbs is a powerful run stuffer in the middle of the line that commands double teams but needs to step up and make more plays.

Corner Roderick Babers is a solid cover man that does not get beat and keeps the action in front of him, displaying good ball awareness throughout the play. Nathan Vasher is much the same at safety and also offers impact returning punts. Lee Jackson is someone to keep in mind as he returns from the turf-toe that caused him to red-shirt last season. He is an athletic weak-side linebacker that may get a lot of looks at strong safety coming into the draft.

They may have a star in Cedric Benson, the true sophomore feature back that is effective on the interior and looks to have all the makings of an every down runner.




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