Scouting the PAC 10: Oregon

Were it not for a single blemish on their record the Ducks may well have been playing for a national title in '01. The way it stood many felt Oregon was "ripped off" and should've been in the Rose Bowl regardless. OU may have to battle this season as they lose leadership, talent and record number of selections chosen in a seven round draft.

Oregon Ducks

Replacing Joey Harrington on the field is near impossible and they most likely will not have a first day draft choice next April, unless Onterio Smith declares himself eligible. The transfer from Tennessee lit it up last year in a reserve role, displaying the abilities to be a complete running back. Smith is fast, shifty and effective carrying the ball on the inside or outside of tackle. Running with great balance, Smith has a tremendous burst through the hole and makes defenders miss at the line or in the open field. He is also a solid receiver out of the backfield, which will have teams overlooking his lack of ideal size for a feature runner. This year Smith is the man and will be asked to carry the offense; if he succeeds it could mean a top 45 pick next April should he leave for the draft. Receiver Keenan Howry is a speedster that's produced for the Ducks since he was a sophomore. Howry has developed his game and is slowly becoming a complete wide out that does the little things well. He has a slight build and cannot make the difficult catch against bigger opponents, which translates to Howry being a slot receiver at the next level and reduces his chances of landing in the drafts first day. Junior Sammie Parker is similar to Howry and a solid prospect for the future if he takes his game tom the next level. Right tackle Corey Chambers, an athletic lineman with good footwork, has really improved his game and is a prospect that could project to the weak-side if you don't mind a "short" blind-side tackle. He is one of the few senior that could land in the first three rounds April of 2003.

The top prospects on defense are both underclassmen. Safety Keith Lewis is a top-athlete that displays excellent range from deep centerfield, has the size/speed numbers to play the position and is effective against either the pass or run. Likewise Kevin Mitchell is a total linebacker and constantly forcing the play, regardless of whether the ball is in the air or on the ground. A bit undersized, Mitchell is built more like a strong safety, which may be his best position at the next level. Middle linebacker David Morretti is a solid run-stuffer but undersized and will garner only late round consideration.

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