NFL Draft Team Spotlight: Boston College

Second-ranked Boston College will be offering up some very talented players for the 2008 NFL Draft. NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber tells you about them and shares his projections of when they'll be selected.

Boston College is known for producing some of the most intelligent, athletic, and hard working prospects for the National Football League. But through the years they've only produced one first-round quarterback, Don Allard. In 1959, the Washington Redskins made Allard their first round selection.  And in 2008, current Eagles quarterback Matt Ryan will become the second BC quarterback selected in the first round.

Not only will Ryan be selected in the first round, but Boston College also has two more highly-touted players that will be considered first-round selections:  Gosder Cherilus and DeJuan Tribble. Since 2000, Boston College has only produced four first-round picks: defensive tackle Chris Hovan (25th overall in 2000), running back William Green (16th overall in 2002), offensive tackle Marc Columbo (29th overall in 2002), and defensive end/outside linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka (32nd overall in 2006). Ryan and Cherilus have a chance to be selected in the top 15.

The second-ranked Eagles are 7-0 and have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. Most of their talent consists of seniors, which means Boston College will go through a transition next season when a lot of their leadership enters the NFL. The seniors who are destined to play at the next level make up Boston College's best draft class ever.

Here's a look at the Eagles draft class and where I project them to land next April:

QB, Matt Ryan (Sr.)

Draft Projection: 1st Round
Height: 6-5 | Weight: 220

Ryan is a smart, savvy field general who brings a lot of intangibles to the football field. He's an excellent leader who makes smart decisions and puts his teammates in the right position to make plays. He has great poise in the pocket and plays well under pressure. He has a strong arm and has the ability to thread the needle with most of his throws. He's not an elusive runner, but he's able to get outside and make throws on the move. He shows great touch on his throws and is accurate with his passes. Ryan will be in the mix with Brian Brohm and Andre Woodson to determine which quarterback will be the first off the board. Next April's draft will be interesting, because a lot of the teams who're destined to pick in the first half don't really have a need for a quarterback. Ryan is a lock to be a first-round selection, but how high will he go? That will be decided during the offseason.

OT, Gosder Cherilus (Sr.)

Draft Projection: 1st Round
Height: 6-7 | Weight: 319

Cherilus is an athletic, durable blocker who's one of the top offensive tackles in the country. He's a versatile tackle who can play on either side of the line and dominate. He possesses great technique, gets leverage against the opposition, and moves well laterally to knock a speedy or physical end off his rush. He has a great wingspan that he uses to jolt defenders initially. He controls the opposition when he's engaged and is able to shut them down. Cherilus is a definite first-round selection and will contend with Jake Long and Sam Baker to determine his status next April.

CB, DeJuan Tribble (Sr.)

Draft Projection: 1st - 2nd Round
Height: 5-9 | Weight: 190

DeJuan Tribble breaks up a pass
George Frey/Getty Images

Tribble is a playmaking cover corner with outstanding instincts. He has quick feet, backpedals nicely and is smooth in coverage. He reads plays well and anticipates a throw before it occurs. He has great closing speed and ball skills that cause opposing quarterbacks to purposely throw away from him. He lacks ideal height for a defensive back and has trouble against taller receivers, but his awareness, quickness, and toughness make him an elite defender. He's a versatile player who excels on special teams as a punt returner. He'll take some chances as a return specialist, but he'll reward you with excellent field position. Overall, Tribble is an excellent cornerback who can turn defense into offense in a flash. The 2008 draft, if most of the draft-eligible players declare, is deep at the cornerback position. Tribble is a borderline first-round selection with all the talent that may be available, but he'll be one of the first five corners off the board.

FS, Jamie Silva (Sr.)

Draft Projection: 3rd Round
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 210

Silva is one of the most underrated defensive backs in the country. He's an outstanding player with great instincts and awareness. He has great size and good speed. He's a very productive player who excels as being a centerfielder type defender, who can read and react and make plays on the ball. He has a great burst to the ball and displays excellent hands. He takes good angles in coverage and provides insurance on deep routes. He's an aggressive player who defends the run very well. Silva, who collected four interceptions last season and is the all-time leading tackler in Boston College history, has produced five interceptions this season and is leading the team in tackles with 55. He's a player that will emerge as a first day selection with an excellent showing during his offseason workouts.

LB, Jo-Lonn Dunbar (Sr.)

Draft Projection: 3rd - 4th Round
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 226

Dunbar is a quick, athletic linebacker who flies around the football. He has an explosive first step and moves towards the action really well. He's a great defender against the run and drops into coverage fluidly. He's a hard worker and an excellent leader. He has great lateral movement and has the speed to play sideline-to-sideline. He's a versatile player that can line up at all three linebacker positions. Dunbar is currently playing at middle linebacker for the Eagles, but at his size, he's better suited to play outside. He's a tremendous athlete who will be a borderline Day-One selection, but most likely will be drafted on day two.

DT, B.J. Raji (Sr.)
Draft Projection: 4th Round
Height: 6-1 | Weight: 325

Raji is a big, physical interior lineman who commands a lot of attention. He's a good athlete who has a solid burst off the line, plays with leverage, and bull rushes opponents up the field. He has a quick first step and immediately penetrates upfield and makes plays in the backfield. He displays great strength and brings down the opposition with his initial push. He gets off blocks very well and can handle double teams. Raji was ruled academically ineligible this season and was redshirted. Boston College is trying to convince Raji to come back for his senior season, but the risk of suffering an injury next season will only hurt his draft status even more. A big defensive tackle like Raji will certainly get a lot of attention from NFL teams and is likely to be a high second-day selection.

LB, Brian Toal (Sr.)

Draft Projection: 4th - 5th Round
Height: 6-0 | Weight: 252

Toal is a hard-nosed linebacker who plays with a lot of passion. He's a strong, athletic, and active player who diagnoses the action and gets to the ball. He positions himself well and is a sure tackler. He has good lateral movement and makes plays sideline-to-sideline. He lacks ideal height and gets caught in between the trees. He has to shed blocks better and not allow big plays. It's highly unlikely that Toal, who decided to redshirt this season due to injury, will enter next April's draft. He's had multiple neck and shoulder injuries during his career at Boston College and underwent surgery in March to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. There's always a chance he could declare for the draft, and if he does, he's no better than a mid-round selection. If he plays out his senior season with the Eagles next season and has a great year, he could go as high as being a 2nd round selection.

RB, Andre Callender (Sr.)

Draft Projection: 6th Round - UFA
Height: 5-11 | Weight: 204

Callender is a versatile running back who can beat you on the ground or out of the backfield as a receiver. He's a good runner who has a nice blend of size and speed and can pick up tough yards between the tackles. He has good vision, follows his blockers, and shows elusiveness in the open field. He's a solid pass catcher who allows his blockers to set up in front of him and gains positive yards. Callender will be a late-round selection in a draft that has a lot of talent at running back unless he impresses scouts at the NFL Scouting Combine.

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.

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