'07 NFL Draft: Weekend in Review

A terrific weekend in college football saw several hotly contested games and a lot of excitement in the Big Ten. As we move to the second half of the season prospects continue to move up and down the draft board.

Several top rated Longhorn prospects really stood out in the victory over Nebraska.  

Defensive end Tim Crowder was in the backfield on several occasions, disrupting the Cornhuskers offense while also displaying a lot of ability in pursuit chasing the action laterally.  Crowder, who has looked good this season, has moved into the initial 60 selections next April.

The performance of Justin Blalock on the other side of the ball was also stellar.  Blalock was forced to move into guard from his right tackle position against Nebraska due to injuries on the UT line.  Dominant all game, Blalock devastated the opposition, turning defenders off the ball and opening  holes for the running game.  At the same time the wide-bodied blocker was very effective in pass protection.  

Another Big 12 performer that's stood out has been Colorado kicker Mason Crosby.  Two Saturday's ago against Texas Tech, Crosby connected on a pair of field goals from beyond 50 yards, including a 56-yarder which ranks as the second longest in the nation this season.  Crosby has effortlessly put the ball through the end zone on kick-offs all season.

Safety John Wendling of Wyoming is starting to play at the level scouts have expected.  The leading force behind the nation's premiere pass defense, Wendling has also improved the physical nature of his game this season, becoming much more active defending the run.

Another defensive back that has really stood out is Laron Landry from LSU.  Landry has an impressive combination of size and speed.  Constantly making positive plays, he is rarely out of position and his disciplined play has caught the attention of NFL scouts. 

Looking for a fast riser from the ranks of the underclassmen??  Wisconsin's redshirt sophomore Jack Ikegwuonu has turned a lot of heads with his terrific play at cornerback.  Moving into a fulltime starting position this year, Ikegwuonu has displayed outstanding cover skills, constantly making plays on the ball in pass defense.

Kevin McLee of West Virginia has been very impressive during the first half of the season.  Much more active this season then in the past, expect McLee to get some post-season invites to scouting events such as the Senior Bowl.

Credit must be given to Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny, a prospect we've downgraded throughout the season.  Posluszny was very active against Illinois, recording a season high 13 tackles including a forced fumble, sack and tackle-for-loss.

After a strong start to his senior campaign the play of Matt Herian has significantly leveled off.  The pass-catching tight end from Nebraska totaled eight catches during the seasons first three games after sitting on the sidelines for more than a year rehabbing a broken leg.  Since then he's added just four more receptions and his blocking has been average at best.

Adam Carriker of the Cornhuskers continues to struggle.  Posting just one sack this season, Carriker did not get near the Texas quarterback in Saturday's loss.  Averaging a little more than three tackles per game, he's also been a liability against the run.

UTEP passer Jordan Palmer has not impressed NFL-scouts this season.  While he's completed almost 70% of his throws and has 14 touchdown passes, Palmer's 10 interceptions is not what  scouts wanted to see. 

Another passer overrated by many is Hurricane signal caller Kyle Wright.  For all his physical skills Wright's game lacks polish.  Sporadically accurate, he lacks top pass placement and makes poor decisions. 

A trio of offensive linemen are in the midst of disappointing campaigns.

Originally considered a first day pick, Northern Illinois offensive tackle Doug Free is watching his draft stock plummet.  Eaten alive by lesser competition, Free has looked like a novice at left tackle and as a result has dropped into the later rounds.

Several on the outside rank Fresno State's Kyle Young as one of the better centers in the nation yet nothing could be further from the truth.  Young is a heavy legged blocker who looks sluggish and lumbers about the field.  He lacks balance and is likely to get looks at right tackle because of his size and sometimes clumsy nature.

Kyle Tatum of Alabama was given a middle round grade by NFL scouts coming into the season but has played more like a free agent.  Tatum has just not looked dominant as a run blocker, which is his forte.

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