>\n\nTop 50 draft prospects... \n\n\n\n

Top 50 draft prospects...

Written by Curt Popejoy on 04/13/2009

Every draft I am asked to list the 100 players I believe that will be drafted in the first 100 picks. This is always a difficult task, mainly because rather than simply consider who the best 100 prospects are, you have to take into consideration which teams are picking when. Good players, and I mean really good players slip out of those first 3 rounds, because they aren't positions of need or they are just plain missed by the league. I have always felt pretty good that I can usually pull about 80 of the first 100 picks and I will continue to do it and hope to improve. But this year, I am going to add a little something. This is my list of the 50 best prospects from what I've seen regardless of where or by whom they will be drafted. To make it a little easier to follow, I have broken the players into groups, based on where I rate them compared to their peers.

Tier 1-The elite. It's normally not hard to get a group of ten guys you consider truly elite prospects and this year was no different. While I think that the next group of 20 or so, are a pretty considerable drop off, this ten are truly special players at their position and regardless of who drafts them will be great.

1.Jason Smith OT Baylor
2.Michael Crabtree WR Texas Tech
3.Aaron Curry LB Wake Forest
4.Matthew Stafford QB Georgia
5.Knowshon Moreno RB Georgia
6.B.J. Raji DT Boston College
7.Andre Smith OT Alabama
8.Alex Mack C Cal
9.Jeremy Maclin WR Missouri
10.Rey Maualuga LB USC

Tier 2-The really good. This group is a notch below the players I listed above, but nonetheless all have tons of NFL potential, and short of an unknown injury or meltdown should have great pro careers.

11.Michael Oher OT Ole Miss.
12.Eugene Monroe OT Virginia
13.Donald Brown RB UConn
14.Malcolm Jenkins CB Ohio State
15.Tyson Jackson DE LSU
16.Vontae Davis CB Illinois
17.Duke Robinson OG Oklahoma
18.Brian Orakpo DE Texas
19.Beanie Wells RB Ohio State
20.Brandon Pettigrew TE Oklahoma State
21.Mark Sanchez QB USC
22.Aaron Maybin DE/LB Penn State
23.Percy Harvin WR Florida
24.Alphonso Smith CB Wake Forest
25.Max Unger C Oregon
26.LeSean McCoy RB Pittsburgh
27.Robert Ayers DE Tennessee
28.Clay Matthews LB USC
29.Larry English DE/LB Northern Illinois
30.Jarron Gilbert DT/DE San Jose State

Tier 3-The good. This group is rock solid, but in many cases will be drafted earlier than their skills would indicate. Some have injury or character issues that their talent cannot account for and may not end up playing to a level fans would like based on where their teams will draft them.

31.Michael Johnson DE/LB Georgia Tech
32.Everette Brown DE/LB Florida State
33.Josh Freeman QB Kansas State
34.Eben Britton OT Arizona
35.D.J. Moore CB Vanderbilt
36.Clint Sintim LB Virginia
37.James Laurinaitis LB Ohio State
38.Brian Cushing LB USC
39.William Beatty OT UConn
40.Peria Jerry DT Ole' Miss
41.Darrius Heyward-Bey WR Maryland
42.Hakeem Nicks-WR North Carolina
43.Sean Smith CB Utah
44.Fili Moala DT USC
45.Ron Brace DT Boston College
46.William Moore S Missouri
47.Kenny Britt WR Rutgers
48.Shonn Greene RB Iowa
49.Macho Harris CB Virginia Tech
50.Connor Barwin DE/LB Cincinnati

Last Edited: 04/13/2009

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