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Who's Hot & Not - The NFL Draft
USC QB Mark Sanchez
USC QB Mark Sanchez
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 22, 2009


From Mark Sanchez to Malcolm Jenkins, positive drug tests to Aaron Curry, there are a lot of interesting storylines surrounding the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Who are the big movers and shakers and what's the big buzz going on among the scouts? Check it all out in the latest edition of Who's Hot & Not.

Who's Hot & Not - 2009 Draft

Past Hot and Not: 2007 Hot & Not | 2008 Not & Not
- Play-by-Play Game Notes for the 2009 Senior Bowl

By Pete Fiutak

Who’s Hot …

Mark Sanchez, QB USC
Up for consideration at seemingly every spot in the first round over the last month, even rumored to be thought of as a possible No. 1 overall spot by some for a brief moment, Sanchez has now settled in to an almost-certain top five spot. He doesn't have a big-time arm and he's not going to run well, but he showed good zip on the ball at the USC Pro Day and he appears to have the I-will-eat-sleep-drink-live football attitude that everyone has been looking for. There's still a question mark about his lack of experience, but not enough to keep teams from considering to move up to get him. At this point, he likely won't last past the four to Seattle, to sit behind Matt Hasselbeck for a year or so and learn, and could go at the No. 3 with some teams thinking about trading up to move ahead of the Seahawks.

Tyson Jackson, DE LSU
Apparently, Jackson has become a pass rusher over the last month. Everyone has been intrigued by Jackson's size and the idea of him being the prototype five-technique end in a 3-4, but if he didn't set the world on fire in college when playing on the best defensive line in the country for the last few years, why is he going to be a star in the NFL? He's not going to get into the backfield, he's average against the run, and his biggest strength is that he can occupy a few blockers and not get put on his back, but that hasn't stopped several mock drafts from putting Jackson easily into the top ten, and in the top five according to some scouts. He'll likely end up dropping to around the 12-to-17 range, but by sheer blather he's moving up the charts in the virtual world.

Kenny Britt, WR Rutgers
Everyone seems to want him from Seattle, who isn't going to take him at the four, to Jacksonville at the 8 to Minnesota at the 22 to Baltimore at the 26. One thing is for certain; Britt isn't getting out of the first round. He has the combination of size, attitude, and big-time speed, but will his fiery personality make him  yet another NFL prima donna receiver and is he worth the potential headaches? With the stock of some of the top receiver prospects like Percy Harvin and Michael Crabtree quickly dropping, Britt is being seen as more of a safe pick with huge upside.

Malcolm Jenkins, CB Ohio State
The negative buzz has settled down after Jenkins ran a painfully slow 4.54 at the Combine. He was slipping as an elite, No. 1 corner prospect who deserved the big payday a top 20 pick would command, but the slide has stopped. From all indications, teams are looking at Jenkins for what he is and what he can be and aren't as focused on the lack of raw speed. New Orleans might be thinking about a running back, but it's unlikely that Jenkins will slip any further than the 14 with the Saints trying him out at corner and possibly grooming him as a safety.

Clay Matthews, LB USC
(Cough) Bobby Carpenter (cough). There has to be a little bit of a red flag waved about anyone who was fine at the collegiate level, but nothing too special, yet rockets up the charts to potential top 15 draft status. The former walk-on has grown into a workout terror looking as smooth as silk at the Combine while putting up tremendous all-around numbers. Now, considering Rey Maualuga has shown less than impressive athleticism in his workouts and Brian Cushing has durability issues, there's an outside chance that Matthews, the least productive of the big three Trojans linebackers, will be the first one taken. One scout even called him the safest of the trio.

Who’s Not …

The Doobie Brothers  
There were unsubstantiated rumors floating around that Boston College DT B.J. Raji and Illinois CB Vonte Davis tested positive for marijuana, with Raji's agent vehemently denying the charge. The draft status of each player isn't likely to be affected either way. The same can't be said for Florida WR Percy Harvin and North Carolina WR Brandon Tate. Harvin, who was considered a possible top 15 pick once the season ended, has seen his stock slide over the last several weeks, and now he could fall out of the first round entirely. For Tate, who has a huge check mark next to his name because of a knee injury, and measuring far smaller than expected hadn't helped the cause. To get caught with pot in the system around test time doesn't just show a lack of judgment, it shows a lack of accountability that'll scare some teams away from the risky prospect.

The Wake Forest Stars
Stock dropping is all relative. If Baylor OT Jason Smith isn't considered the safest, surest thing star in the draft, then it's Wake Forest LB Aaron Curry. He wasn't a pass rusher in college, but that's the only knock on a near-perfect prospect who has the size, the speed, the quickness, the smarts, and the character to become a superstar who'll only be derailed by injury. Considered a near-lock for the No. 3 pick overall to Kansas City, at worst, now there's talk that he could slip to the Green Bay Packer at the nine if the Chiefs don't take him and if Seattle doesn't run its card up to the podium at the four. It's another story for Alphonso Smith, the ball-hawking corner who was ultra-productive for the Demon Deacons, but has become a question mark over the last few weeks. He didn't show off much in the way of speed at the Combine, running a slowish 4.51, to go along with mediocre numbers in the other drills, and then he chose not to run at his pro day. He's still likely to go in the second round, but it's hardly a lock.

Michael Crabtree, WR Texas Tech
Either the teams are blowing off the foot problem and his inability to prove that he can actually run in the 4.5 range, or they're getting scared. Seattle had a man-crush over the ultra-productive Red Raider star and then it signed T.J. Houshmanzadeh. Jacksonville, still scorched by the R. Jay Soward, Reggie Williams and Matt Jones fiascos, was a likely spot for Crabtree until Torry Holt was picked up. Oakland needs a receiver, but Al Davis is infatuated with speed and he's not going to take a chance on Crabtree without knowing whether or not he's a blazer. Crabtree is still considered the most talented wide receiver in the draft by many and isn't likely to fall too far, but with the money required to invest in him and the huge unknown attached, don't be stunned if he pulls a Brady Quinn or a Randy Moss and is still around after the first few hours on Saturday.

Michael Johnson, DE Georgia Tech
On sheer talent and athleticism, Johnson was thought of as a possible top five overall draft pick before last season started. Even though his freakish skills didn't always translate to the field, most mock drafts assumed he'd still be a top 20 pick after the season ended. And then the NFL scouts started to chime in and Johnson has fallen and fallen and fallen. There's no question he'll be a first day selection, but there's a big different in pay from a No. 19 pick and the No. 60ish, which is where the former Georgia Tech star is projected to go. Considering his pass rushing talent and his skill set, he could be a major steal if someone can get his motor running full-tilt.

D.J. Moore, CB Vanderbilt
Moore was a do-it-all star for the Commodores making big plays on offense and special teams as well as on defense. If he could star in the SEC he could star in the NFL, right? While he was great on the field and looks fantastic on tape, his measurables seem to get worse with each workout. First he measured in as way too small, coming in at under 5-9, and then he ran a 4.59. He jumped out of the stadium, but his lack of blazing speed has been an issue that wasn't helped by a mediocre pro day. A fringe first rounder had he come up with an even 4.5, he was hovering around 4.6 throughout the off-season and can now be had at the end of the second round.