The NFL Draft is 3 days away and there are about 18 underclassmen

Published on April 21, 2009 by     

knowshonmorenoThe NFL Draft is a week away and there are about 18 underclassmen ready to be selected in the first round. I’ve been involved with selecting an underclassman in the first round and it didn’t work out for our club or the player. (Pat Kirwan was a former director of player administration for the Jets).

Maturity issues, NFL readiness and asking a kid to handle the pressures and expectations of the first round may be too much to ask. Although if the right situation presents itself, these hurdles are not impossible to overcome.

The position the underclassman plays is a critical factor, which we will take a close look at. The club that selects the player is also an important component to predicting success. The maturity and people that surround the candidate is absolutely an issue. There is a lot of risk involved in selecting underclassmen, and the question becomes does your team really want to take that chance?

Here’s a look at the positions that have junior (or redshirt sophomore) candidates with first-round grades and the 10-year history at the position.

Each position will be graded on a risk scale, with 1 representing extreme risk and 10 symbolizing the lowest risk.
Quarterback

This year, there are three candidates penciled in as first-round picks. There has only been one draft in the past 10 years with two junior quarterbacks taken in the first round. That was in 2005, when Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers went in Round 1. Here’s a look at the first-round signal-callers since 1999 who entered the draft as juniors: Smith, Rodgers, JaMarcus Russell, Vince Young, Ben Roethlisberger, Rex Grossman, Michael Vick and Tim Couch. Outside of Roethlisberger, and maybe Rodgers, the rest of the group shows there are plenty of reasons to avoid a junior quarterback in the first round.

This year, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman will most likely hear their names called early in the draft. The later they go in the first round, the better chance they have of going on to a successful NFL career. The later they have to go out on the field, the better chance they have of having a long career.

A general manager’s take: “If I had a two-year starter on my roster I would take one of these guys late in the first round, something like Green Bay had with the 24th pick and (Brett) Favre on the roster.”

Risk grade: 4
Running back

There have been 15 underclassmen running backs chosen in the first round since 1999. The list is impressive, and barring injury it is reasonable to expect production from a rookie runner. Those 15 juniors (or redshirt sophomores) selected since 1999 should give you some confidence that if your team selects Knowshon Moreno, Chris Wells or Donald Brown in the first round, your team will see results early. Edgerrin James, Jamal Lewis, Michael Bennett, William Green, Willis McGahee, Kevin Jones, Steven Jackson, Laurence Maroney, Reggie Bush, Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, Rashard Mendenhall, Felix Jones, Jonathan Stewart and Darren McFadden were all drafted as underclassmen.

A general manager’s take: “This is an easy pick to make if the player has the skills, and this year’s class makes the grade.”

Risk grade: 8

Wide receiver

The 2009 NFL Draft has upwards of six underclassmen ready to be selected in the first round, which exceeds any of the last 10 drafts. That number presents a yellow flag. In 2007, four non-senior wide receivers were drafted in Round 1, with Calvin Johnson, Ted Ginn, Robert Meachem and Anthony Gonzalez all being first-round picks. Most years, however, only one or two underclassmen receivers are selected in Round 1.

What category will Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Britt fall under? The disappointing, such as Meachem, Troy Williamson, Mike Williams, Reggie Williams, Michael Clayton, Charles Rogers, Ashley Lelie, David Terrell, Koren Robinson, Donte’ Stallworth and Freddie Mitchell? Or, the successful, such as Gonzalez, Calvin Johnson, Santonio Holmes, Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson? Getting with a very good quarterback is critical for most of this year’s wideouts.

A general manager’s take: “If six go in the first round, it will be split three and three.”

Risk grade: 5
Offensive linemen

This is a limited group in the past 10 years, with only nine underclassmen selected. However, the success rate has been pretty good, led by last year’s pick by the Broncos, Ryan Clady. This draft has two underclassmen destined for the first round, Andre Smith and Eben Britton. Here’s the list teams have to look at if they are wondering about a junior (or redshirt sophomore) offensive lineman: Ryan Clady, Brandon Albert, Shawn Andrews, Chris Spencer, Jeff Faine, John Tait, Damien Woody, Kwame Harris and Kenyatta Walker. Keep in mind that offensive linemen usually stay in school for four seasons, but we will start seeing more and more consider coming out early in the next few years.

A general manager’s take: “You can hide or help a lineman early in his career, and the two kids this year have the skills to play early.”

Risk grade: 7
Tight end

it is too bad that there are no underclassmen tight ends graded for the first round because this has been a more successful selection than most would believe. Here are the underclassmen tight ends taken over the past 10 years: Greg Olsen, Vernon Davis, Heath Miller, Kellen Winslow, Dallas Clark, Jeremy Shockey, Jerramy Stevens, Todd Heap and Bubba Franks. Four of these guys were from the University of Miami.
Defensive end

This has been a limited group over the past 10 years, and it has been hit-or-miss. This year, Everette Brown and Aaron Maybin are the candidates, and one or both might wind up as outside linebackers in a 3-4 defense. If they go to a 4-3 team, however, there’s some history in the first round. On a positive note, Mario Williams, Julius Peppers and Jevon Kearse. On a questionable note, Jarvis Moss, Derrick Harvey, Jamaal Anderson, Kenechi Udeze, Charles Grant and Justin Smith. The best of the group have size and speed, something Brown and Maybin don’t truly possess.

A general manager’s take: “One-dimensional speed-rusher types struggle in the NFL, and until these two young kids develop, they could be invisible on the field.”

Risk grade: 4 as DE, 6 as OLB
Defensive tackle

There are no junior tackles with a first-round grade and there hasn’t been a junior tackle selected in the first round since 2006, when the Ravens took Haloti Ngata.
Linebackers

The top-ranked backers are seniors and that’s a good thing if you think about Vernon Gholston last year, or even Andy Katzenmoyer back in 1999. But there have also been plenty of success stories, when you consider Jerod Mayo, Jon Beason, Lawrence Timmons, Ernie Sims, Shawne Merriman and Terrell Suggs.
Safety

This looks like a year that no junior (or redshirt sophomore) safeties will be selected in the first round, but the ones that have been selected have done well. Kenny Phillips, Reggie Nelson, Donte Whitner, Thomas Davis, Sean Taylor and Roy Williams were all underclassmen who were first-round picks.
Cornerback

This is a very popular position to find underclassmen selected. In fact, 16 underclassmen cornerbacks have been picked since 1999. This year, Vontae Davis and possibly D.J. Moore make it to the first round, but it is conceivable neither one hears his name called until the second round. History says this can be a fertile area to take a chance on an underclassman, but it can be a disaster as well. Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, Johnathan Joseph, Champ Bailey and Nate Clements were all taken in the first round. But, so were Pacman Jones, Willie Middlebrooks and Ahmad Carroll.

A general manager’s take: “If either one actually goes remains to be seen, but neither one is in the class of Bailey, Revis or Clements. They will struggle.”

Risk grade: 2

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fair Use Notice This website may at times present copyrighted material, the use of which might not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available in an effort to advance understandings of democratic, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. The author believes that this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the articles published on this website are distributed without profit for research and informational purposes. In most instances a link is placed to originator of Article and it is never expressly mentioned as written by, we use published by certain entities who write or publish for this said Blog..

Tell Us What's On Your Mind (0)




WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

REMEMBERING A LEGEND!

LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS

tempcst_K2V8670--nfl_mezz_1280_1024

Seahawks Receivers room is packed full

It’s getting crowded on the sidewalk. After fighting off the label of being a “pedestrian” group last season, the ...
HPv9A.AuSt.5

Youth not a burden for Pete Carroll

When the NFL draft lights go out, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll picks up the phone. Just thinking about ...
1cdoa9.AuSt.5

Seahawks draft for the 2 P’s: passion, perseverance

Last week, coach Pete Carroll came up with the term “gritty” to describe the kind of player the ...
AP167044948598-480x319

Seahawks take fullback Kiero Small with their final draft pick

The Seahawks used pick No. 229 to draft Arkansas fullback Kiero Small in the seventh round. Get this: Small ...
c3502f36-4f0b-4f27-9327-c4b03b0fdd9a_800

Richardson: ‘I figured it out when the general manager called me’

Here’s what Paul Richardson had to say: (On where is he at right now….) “I’m California right now with ...
7efb6d24-c022-4fd8-ae10-2f3bcaf8d8b7_800

Britt: ‘If nasty is the word you want to use, then I’m nasty’

Here’s what new Seahawks lineman Justin Britt, whom Tom Cable said will compete right away at right tackle ...
140508schneider600

Seahawks trade first-round draft choice to Vikings

The Seahawks traded out of the final pick in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday ...
140506udfa600

The Seahawks have been very good to rookie free agents

Despite having one of the best and deepest rosters in the NFL, the Seahawks have become a good ...

Shop for Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII Champs Merchandise at NFLShop.com

Shop for Conference Champs and Super Bowl XLVIII Match Up Merchandise at NFLShop.com

WELCOME TO THE SEAHAWKS 12TH MAN ARMY.

WE TAKE PRIDE IN GIVING SEAHAWKS FANS AROUND THE CLOCK UPDATES,  ALL SEAHAWKS ALL THE TIME. SO IF YOU WANT THE LATEST SEAHAWKS NEWS DELIVERED FOR FREE RIGHT TO YOUR EMAIL BOX ONCE A WEEK, SIGN UP AND ENJOY!

WE HAVE BEEN PROUDLY SERVING DIEHARD SEAHAWKS FANS SINCE 2004.

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz