'07 NFL Draft: Weekend in Review

Week two of the college football season is now in the books. Injuries continue to haunt some of the nations top NFL-prospects at priority positions. There are also several players improving their draft stock with excellent play.

The worst news came out of Knoxville where defensive tackle Justin Harrell saw his season come to a quick end after rupturing a tendon in his left bicep.  In what looks like a weak crop at the position next April, Harrell ranked as one of the top three prospects and a potential first round choice.

Purdue's big receiver Kyle Ingraham was deemed academically ineligible for the '06 season.    Measuring near 6-feet-5-inches, Ingraham is considered first day material by NFL scouts. He has already stated he hopes to return and play for the Boilermakers in 2007.

USC safety Josh Pinkard, considered by many as the next big-time defensive back from the Trojan program, saw his season cut short as well.  Pinkard, who injured his knee during the team's first game against Arkansas, will have surgery next week to repair major ligament damage.

Trojan receiver Dwayne Jarrett, a potential first round pick in next April's draft as a declared underclassman, was heavily criticized by offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.  Commenting on the several drops Jarrett suffered against Arkansas and a measly five receptions for 35 receiving yards, Kiffin claims his big-play receiver is living in the past.

Another wide out off to a slow start is Sidney Rice of South Carolina.  Much was expected of Rice, a red-shirt sophomore who presently holds a first round grade, yet in two games he has caught just five passes.  Much of his poor start can be attributed to the fact that SEC opponents are now familiar with Rice and his game.  Last year as a freshman Rice caught opponents off guard and was able to haul in 70 receptions for more than 1100-receiving yards.

Things have been tough for Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny thus far in '06.  Slow in returning from the knee injury he suffered during the Lions overtime victory in the Orange Bowl, Posluszny has looked sluggish this year.  Registering just 18 tackles in the teams first two games, red-flags have been raised by NFL scouts.

There has been several pleasant surprises drawing rave reviews in the scouting community.

One linebacker moving up draft boards is Buster Davis of  Florida State.  Earning ACC Defensive Honors in consecutive weeks, Davis has impacted the Seminole defense in a variety of ways.  Last Saturday Davis came up with a crucial fourth quarter interception which eventually led to the game winning score for FSU.  Measuring just 5-feet-9-inches and 244-pounds, Davis came into the season with a fifth round grade from NFL scouting services.  Yet many now liken his size and style to that of London Fletcher, the former Pro-Bowl linebacker now with the Buffalo Bills.

Already ranking highly of the list of senior guards available in next April's draft, Josh Beekman of Boston College added another dimension to his game.  During Saturday's thrilling double overtime victory against Clemson, Beekman shifted inside to center during the second quarter, successfully handling the position.  The versatility to effectively play several blocking positions will enhance Beekman's draft grade.

People have been pleased with the successful return of Notre Dame receiver Rhema McKnight.  Presently sitting as Notre Dame's most productive pass catcher this year, McKnight has made a complete return from the knee injury which sidelined him most of last season.  Now a fifth-year senior, McKnight originally carried a second round grade coming into the '05 campaign prior to the injury.

Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio State has answered the call since moving into the Buckeyes starting line-up.  A back-up to Santonio Holmes last year, Gonzalez has totaled 12 receptions, 195 receiving yards and and a pair of scores during the initial two games of the season.  A fourth-year junior, Gonzalez is considered a sure-handed wide-out and number two receiver in the NFL by league scouts, who presently grade him as a first day selection.

In two games against quality opponents Fresno State running back Dwayne Wright has posted 312-rushing yards and four scores.  What makes this story enticing is the 6-foot/215 pound power runner has not played football since September of 2004, when he tore  his left patellar tendon.  Only a junior, Wright must decide if he will jump to the NFL at the end of the year.

Since grabbing control of the starting job at quarterback junior Dennis Dixon has done a masterful job for the Oregon Ducks.  Dixon has completed 67% of his passes for a combined 476-passing yards during the teams first two games.  An athletic pocket passer with a live arm, NFL scouts feel Dixon is rounding into a complete quarterback.

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