NFL Draft '07: Hot Prospects Rising up Boards

As the college football season moves into the final few weekends several players have made big moves up draft boards based on their play this year. Here's a half-dozen of the biggest risers and some names you may not be aware of.

No quarterback has helped himself more than JaMarcus Russell of LSU this season.  The junior has improved his game in every aspect.  Russell has taken less sacks, thrown less interceptions and is on pace to throw for more yards this season than ever before.  There are some who feel if Russell enters the draft he could challenge Brady Quinn for the top quarterback spot.

Several teams continue to be very impressed with the return to form of Joe Newton.  The Oregon State tight end has come up big in several games for the Beavers.  And though not a deep passing threat, Newton's blocking skills have many teams upgrading him on boards.

Three offensive linemen have improved their draft grade.

Several source have told us Auburn's Ben Grubbs grades favorably as a first rounder.  And while the guard is unlikely to be selected during the initial 32 choices his play this year has secured him a spot early in round two.

Andy Alleman is not a household name but NFL scouts are very keen on the Akron blocker.  Another highly rated guard, Alleman came into the season with a fifth round grade but has moved into the draft's first day.

Like his teammate Joe Newton, Oregon State tackle Adam Koets has really impressed NFL scouts this year.  A smooth footed pass protector, Koets was considered a free agent at season's start but has moved into the middle rounds.

Quite possibly no defensive lineman has improved his draft stock more than Utah's Paul Soliai.  Outplaying his heralded teammate Kelly Talavou this year, Soliai has been dominant.  Possessing terrific size at 6-feet-4-inches and 325-pounds, Soliai is an outstanding athlete expected to test well at the combine.  

Rated as a marginal free agent prospect at the start of the season, Soliai is expected to get a Senior Bowl invitation and should end up as a first day pick next April.


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