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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Terp Prospects in the NFL Draft

Since this weekend is a huge holiday to football freaks and geeks everywhere, I thought it might be prudent to write some more about the NFL Draft. However, for the Maryland folks out there who don't even know how to spell Vernon "Golstin," here's a breakdown of how players from Maryland will do this Saturday and Sunday with their '07 stats, various other projections - and a little INRCP spin, of course. I also called resident draft expert Kyle Miller, who did our mock draft, to help me out.

Hint: many of these projections will say "undrafted."

Let's go:


Position: Linebacker
Key 2007 Stats: 133 tackles, 11 for a loss despite missing time with well-documented injuries
Biggest Plus: Has an instinct for the run and always seems to know where the play is going to be
Biggest Knock: Not terribly well-rounded in coverage or pass-rushing and has an injury history
ESPN Projection: Round 3 or 4 pick
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Round 3 pick, possibly round 2
INRCP Take: Henderson was everyone's darling this past year and the face of a team that lacked great leadership. Unfortunately injuries prevented him from having a Butkus-worthy season. His combine results did little to move him up boards, and most scouts consider his speed very average for playing outside linebacker. A detailed catalog of nicks and tears on his body causes many teams worry as well. Kyle Miller says, "He can fit in a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense, but he's not really special in either. He's not great in man-to-man coverage but decent in zone. He probably won't be asked to do much more than clog up the run in the NFL." It's also our opinion that Henderson would probably thrive in the middle linebacker position, where he would be asked to stop the run more than drop back into coverage. The guy can tackle like nobody's business, but today's linebacker prototype is asked to do more than what Henderson is good at.
INRCP Projection: Round 3 or 4 pick, and could slip further


Position: Defensive Tackle
Key 2007 Stats: 63 tackles and 6 sacks (led the team)
Biggest Plus: Ideal size, strength and speed
Biggest Knock: Questionable motor, plays when he wants to
ESPN Draft Projection: Round 2 or 3 pick
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Round 2 pick
INRCP Take: Moore is a guy that I just can't get excited about. Statistically, he had a good senior season, but on the field, he hardly dominated. Maryland had the 3rd-worst rushing defense in the ACC and consistently got run over by backs like James Davis and Yvenson Bernard during the season. You would expect a team with a top-five tackle and a top-five linebacker to squash the run game, but Moore never got it together like Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis did. He screams "Workout Warrior" to me. Kyle Miller says, "He'd probably be a good fit in a 3-4. We'll see how he adjusts to the NFL in terms of being more consistent, but he could dominate." I personally believe he should only go to a highly disciplined team that believes they can corral him and make him dedicated to becoming all that he can be.
INRCP Projection: Round 3 or 4 pick, but likely will go in round 2


Position: Guard
Key 2007 Stats: Missed 5 games with a broken fibula
Biggest Plus: Versatile, anchor of some great lines in '05 and '06, technically sound
Biggest Knock: Not big enough and not strong enough in any one area
ESPN Draft Projection: Round 6 or 7 pick
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Round 6 or 7 pick
INRCP Take: How the mighty have fallen - once a pre-season All American, Crummey slid doooooowwwn draft boards after breaking his leg. Although he played in the Emerald Bowl, his stock took another hit when he had to leave to NFL combine because his leg had not fully healed. However, Crummey is a sound blocker who was greatly respected before his injury, so he has upside, even if he is not as athletic as the ideal NFL guard. Kyle Miller says, "He was a first-day talent before he caught a bad break. He's a good run-blocker and has good size, and he would've intrigued teams." Crummey, if he heals, could be a steal on draft day.
INRCP Projection: Round 6 pick


Position: Tight End
Key 2007 Stats: 30 receptions (2nd on the team) for 318 yds (3rd on the team)
Biggest Plus: Absurdly tall (nearly 6'8), a hard worker who was a walk-on
Biggest Knock: Not athletic, fast or overly strong
ESPN Draft Projection: Round 6 or 7 pick
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Round 7 pick or undrafted
INRCP Take: Haynos took a step back this past season, mostly due to the unstable situation at quarterback. The guy was clutch in '06 with Sam Hollenbach at the helm, but mostly due to his size and modest receiving ability. He's worked hard to get where he is today, but in the NFL, I can't see him breaking beyond special teams. He doesn't fill a niche role and his frame needs to fill in as well.
INRCP Projection: Round 7 pick or undrafted


Position: Cornerback
Key 2007 Stats: 69 tackles, 10 passes broken up
Biggest Plus: Uh ....
Biggest Knock: Doesn't know how to play coverage even though he's a corner
ESPN Draft Projection: Undrafted
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Undrafted
INRCP Take: Gardner is the kind of player that every team has who only seems to be highlighted by his mistakes. I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to throw up after one of his blown coverages was exploited. Passers intentionally threw to his side of the field because they knew he would be out of position. He ran a decent 4.41 forty time and had a great 42.5-inch vertical, but what does that matter if you can't play your position? If your team drafts him, it's a good sign that you might be a Jets fan.
INRCP Projection: Undrafted, possible CFL candidate


Position: Running back
Key 2007 Stats: 900 all-pupose yards, 13 TDs
Biggest Plus: Elusive and instinctive runner
Biggest Knock: No elite speed, balance or strength
ESPN Draft Projection: Round 7 pick or undrafted
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Undrafted
INRCP Take: Lattimore has some decent NFL skills, and there is a small chance he could find a team that needs a back. However, the RB class is too deep and Lattimore's measurables and pro day workouts were hampered by injuries. Even though Kyle and I are fans of Lattimore and think he could make it in the league, he'll find it tough, especially since he split so much time in college.
INRCP Projection: Undrafted


Position: Running back
Key 2007 Stats: 856 total yds, 12 TDs
Biggest Plus: Tough, gritty runner who performs consistently
Biggest Knock: Small, slow for NFL game
ESPN Draft Projection: Undrafted
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Undrafted
INRCP Take: See Lattimore, Keon. Ball is another Maryland hero who potentially could find himself on an NFL roster if he really keeps working. However, things like his height and his lack of speed won't help him. There are just too many backs who have a better chance of getting on to an NFL roster.
INRCP Projection: Undrafted

J.J. Justice and Christian Varner are also players that have an outside chance of being drafted as safties, but I doubt it and no major site has them listed as draft prospects. They are both average college safeties, and the NFL is the best of the best. They may have an easier time finding a spot on a roster than Lattimore or Ball, but don't hold your breath waiting for them to be selected.

Cheer for your Terps on Saturday - there's a good chance we could see at least two go by the time the first day is over.

Photo Credit: Washington Post, UMTerps

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