Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

2009 NFL Draft - Top 50 Players, No. 26 to 50
California C Alex Mack
California C Alex Mack
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 24, 2009


From the college football perspective, who are the top 50 players in the draft? Here are prospects 26 through 50.

2009 NFL Draft Position Rankings

Top 50 - No. 26 through 50


- 2009 NFL Rankings
Quarterbacks
| Running Backs | Fullbacks | Receivers | Tight Ends
Centers | Guards | Off. Tackles | Def. Ends | Def. Tackles
Inside LBs | Outside LBs | Cornerbacks | Safeties
| Kickers

- Top 50 Prospects - No. 1 to 25

26. Darius Butler, CB Connecticut  5-10, 178
A nice prospect going into the off-season, Butler ripped it up at the Combine and his stock shot through the roof. His 4.41 was a breath of fresh air among a slow corner class, and he came up with an NBA guard-like 43” vertical leap and 11’ 2” broad jump. He also stood out in practices at the Senior Bowl. He’s like a gnat when he tries to tackle, he can be brushed aside, and he’s not going to provide much help against the power runners, but that won’t be his job. He’ll handle the smaller, quicker receivers, but he has to get stronger to be able to deal with the bigger more physical ones. He’d get killed by a Calvin Johnson or a Larry Fitzgerald, but he could lock on to a Steve Smith.
CFN Projection: Second Round
 

27. Andre Smith, OT Alabama 6-5, 332 (Jr.)
Smith has been a textbook example of how not to handle yourself before being drafted. The character questions started after he was suspended from the Sugar Bowl against Utah, and then came the public relations disaster of leaving the Combine without telling anyone. And then there was the shirtless private workout, showing off a chest normally seen in Russ Meyer movie, which only threw gasoline on the fire for some teams. On the field, there weren’t many better over the last few seasons. It could’ve been argued that he deserved Heisman consideration in a Most Valuable Player sort of way for what he did for the Alabama line last year. Watch the Sugar Bowl again and it’ll show in dramatic fashion just how important he was. But his character questions are too great to ignore, and he could end up making most of his money as a guard and not a tackle. The bust potential is too great to invest heavily, but on talent he’s worth the risk further down the first round.
CFN Projection: First Round

28. Marcus Freeman, LB Ohio State  6-1, 235
A workout warrior, he did it all at the Combine from running a 4.65 40 to benching 30 reps to leaping 37”  to destroying the shuttle drill, he showed tremendous athleticism. However, he has had major problems staying healthy, dinged up with a variety of injuries, and he doesn’t always play up to his strength. He can be erased by a decent blocker and he needs to be in space to make plays; he’s simply not big enough. But if and when he’s healthy, like he was in his off-season workouts, he can be a different player and a star.
CFN Projection: Third Round

29. Robert Ayers, DE Tennessee  6-3, 275
The upside is enormous. Big, with the size to get a lot bigger, he could be just scratching the surface on what he can become. At least that’s the hope. He was fine in his one year as a major producer, but it took him a while to mature and he still has a long way to go. He made a name for himself with a strong Senior Bowl when he was great against the top offensive tackles in practices, but he struggled at the Combine with a bad bench and failing to show enough athleticism to become a consistent outside linebacker. A mediocre pass rusher, he needs a lot of work on his technique. Even so, with his size, he could be one of the boom players of the draft.
CFN Projection: First Round

30. Ziggy Hood, DT Missouri  6-3, 300
A great character player and a team-leader, Hood has the make-up of a steady producer who’ll be an excellent No. 2 lineman if he plays next to a superstar. Ultra-productive for the Tigers, he showed he has the raw tools to become a tremendous pro with 34 reps on the bench at the Combine to go along with surprising quickness, speed, and agility. However, with all his skills and athleticism, he’s not going to get into the backfield on a regular basis and he doesn’t always play up to his size and strength. There might be a concern that he’s a Combine/workout warrior who won’t be able to play up to the numbers once he hits the field, but he should be a solid performer and a steady starter for a decade.
CFN Projection: Second Round

31. Clay Matthews, LB USC 6-3, 245
One of the hot rising prospects coming through the off-season draft cycle, Matthews was smooth as silk at the Combine with decent numbers and great agility for his size. Very fast off the snap and smart enough to not have much wasted motion, he’s an instinctive playmaker who’s always working, always moving, and always doing whatever is needed. Very versatile, he can be used at any linebacker spot and could even see time as a pass rushing end in a 4-3. But is he a workout warrior type? He only really produced for one year and has been more of a try-hard type who went from a walk-on to a very strong, very athletic NFL prospect in a big hurry.
CFN Projection: Second Round

32. Alphonso Smith, CB Wake Forest  5-9, 195
The ACC’s all-time leader in interceptions, he has a knack for being around the ball and he doesn’t miss when he gets his chance to make a big play. He’s not strong and he’s not all that physical, but he tends to hold his own against the bigger receivers and he has no problems keeping with the quicker ones. Very smart, he’ll have to overcome his lack of elite athleticism by outworking everyone in the film room and taking a few educated gambles here and there. He’ll start out in nickel and dime packages and could be a team-leader in interceptions.
CFN Projection:
Second Round

33. Paul Kruger, DE Utah  6-3, 265 (3rd year Soph.)
One of the more interesting prospects with a wild story, he was beaten up and stabbed in a fight, was lucky to live, spent two years on an LDS Church mission, and blew up into one of the stars on last year’s unbeaten Ute team. A mature, athletic pass rusher who always goes full-tilt, he’s ready to go right now. However, this is it. While he can still get a bit bigger, this is basically it. There’s a ceiling on how good he can become, and he’s not the type of player who’ll blossom in three years. While he’s not elite in any one area, he doesn’t have a major, glaring weakness. There are going to be health issues considering all the crazy things that have happened to his insides from various surgeries, but he could be a poor man’s Chris Long.
CFN Projection: Second Round

34. Michael Johnson, DE Georgia Tech   6-7, 270
There’s first round, maybe top five overall talent, but he hasn’t always played like it. Extremely quick with freakishly long arms and great strength, he has all the tools to become a superstar if the light goes on. He has a passing interest in stopping the run and disappeared for long stretches. If he’s asked to just rush the passer, he could be the type of player who comes up with one sack a game and does nothing else, becoming overrated because of a gaudy sack number at the end of the year. He could be a major heartbreaker with great production in just enough games to show what he’s capable of … and then he’ll have everyone scratching their heads wondering why he can’t do that all the time.
CFN Projection: Second Round

35. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR Maryland 6-2, 210 (Jr.)
Speed, speed and more speed. There’s no questioning his athleticism, his wheels, or his raw skills that everyone knew about throughout his career, and were then shown off at the Combine and in workouts. However, he might be a one-trick pony as a speed receiver. Not a consistent playmaker for the Terps and not a do-it-all sort of performer, he’s a deep threat who’ll stretch the field and create major problems for any secondary and any top corner. However, he has work to do to become more of a short-to-midrange target to go along with the elite wheels. He’ll do what he has to. He’ll work his tail off to become more than just a track guy playing football and isn’t a prima donna.
CFN Projection: First Round

36. Brandon Pettigrew, TE Oklahoma State 6-5, 260
While he looks like a prototype NFL tight end, there are big red flags. He’s huge, a big, willing blocker, and he’s a strong receiver with soft hands and good enough skills to dominate for a passing game. However, he’s slow. Really, really slow. Totally underwhelming at the Combine, he didn’t look anything like a potential Pro Bowl tight end who deserves to be taken in the first round. His route running needs work and while he’ll work hard to be better, he could need a lot of NFL coaching before he’s close to being polished.
CFN Projection: First Round

37. Tyson Jackson, DE LSU  6-4, 295
More of a tackle playing end, Jackson is a dream of a 3-4 end and he could end up seeing time at tackle in the right situations. He’s not a pass rusher and if he gets to the quarterback it’ll be a fluke. His worth is as a strong run-stopper who won’t let anything get by him on the outside while getting just enough push into the backfield to warrant a second blocker. Despite playing on a great line for the last few years, he didn’t stand out as much as he should’ve despite being the second or third best player on the front four and not getting as much attention. There’s nothing special about him outside of his size, and he doesn’t have a full-tilt motor, but he’ll be around for a long time and be a great cog in the system because of his versatility.
CFN Projection: First Round

38. Alex Mack, C California  6-4, 315  
Very tough and very strong, the ultra-productive college star should translate into a long-time starter at the next level at either center or guard. He’s great in the weight room, a hard worker, and has a nasty streak able to punish defenders when he gets his hands on them. While not an elite athlete among centers, he’s good enough. He makes up for any deficiencies with his toughness and intensity. Think Olin Krutz of the Chicago Bears with the same sort of leadership and chip on his shoulder.
CFN Projection: Second Round

39. James Laurinaitis, LB Ohio State  6-2, 245
Stunningly mediocre at the Combine, when he was expected to blow the quickness, speed, and agility drills off the charts, his stock has dropped to a low point considering he likely would’ve been taken in the top ten had he left a year early. After a breakthrough sophomore season when he seemingly made every play possible against the run and the pass, he got by more on reputation, at least when it came to the award-types, than big-time production. While he filled the stat sheet, he wasn’t quite the difference maker the numbers indicated. Strong when he was in space and able to roam to the ball, he had problems when attacked and blocked. Even so, he was the leader of a fantastic defense, especially against the run, and has absolutely no bust potential, unless he gets hurt. He’ll make a ton of tackles and will be a fan favorite, but he’s not going to be a special all-around star.
CFN Projection: First Round

40. George “Duke” Robinson, OG Oklahoma 6-5, 330
A very big, very productive college player who beat people up simply by being larger, he’ll have to show right away that he wants to work to be the best possible guard. He opened some eyes at the Combine by being in far better shape than anyone expected, and if he takes to coaching and if he continues to drive himself, he’ll be a tremendous run blocker. With just enough agility to get by, he’s good enough to handle the quicker linemen, but his money will be made by flattening defenders.
CFN Projection: Second Round

41. Cornelius Ingram, TE Florida 6-4, 245
As far as receiving skills, he could be far and away the best tight end prospect in the draft if he can stay healthy. While he timed slow at the Combine, he plays fast and is like a big wide receiver. The torn ACL suffered last year doesn’t appear to be a problem now and he should be a ready-made target who can create some major mismatches. He’s not the best blocker around and he’s a bit lanky, but he could be a fantastic fit for anyone who wants to stretch the field.
CFN Projection: Second Round

42. Max Unger, C Oregon 6-4, 310
Versatility alone will make Unger a pro for the next decade. He’ll always find a spot somewhere on the line. Extremely quick and terrific in pass protection, the former Duck is great at getting on the move and he’s strong in pass protection. While he could be a whale of a guard in the right system, he’s not a dominant pounder and will occasionally have problems with the bigger, beefier linemen. However, against the quicker ones, forget about it. Unger won’t allow much in the way of an interior pass rush.
CFN Projection: Second Round

43. Patrick Chung, Oregon (SS)  5-11, 212
He’s not going to be a highlight reel playmaker, but he’ll be a rock-solid, ultra-reliable rock in the secondary for a long, long time. Smart, tough, and instinctive, he’s able to read plays a half second before they happen and he’s always around the ball. While he’s built for stopping the run and being used as a strong safety, he has just enough range to play free safety. Known for being a good, sound football player, he showed he could be a workout warrior, too, by running a 4.49 and lifting 225 pounds a lineman-like 25 times at the Combine. There’s no down side outside of his lack of pizzazz.
CFN Projection: Second Round

44. D.J. Moore, CB Vanderbilt  5-9, 190 (Jr.)
He was a star of stars in the SEC doing a little bit of everything for the Commodores seeing time as a return man and a receiver along with his corner duties. While he plays fast, and he certainly didn’t have any problems in the best conference in America, he had a disappointing Combine with a painfully slow 4.59 in the 40 and showing average quickness. However, he did come up with a 39.5” vertical leap, which helps make up for his lack of height. He’s a decent tackler, but not a great one and doesn’t have No. 1 NFL corner skills. He’s smart, a playmaker, and will do whatever is needed to succeed. He’ll be used in a variety of ways in a secondary and will be around the league for a decade.
CFN Projection: Third Round
 

45. Eric Wood, C Louisville 6-3, 310
Any and all problems are with his technique, and they can all be easily fixed with a little bit of work and the right coaching. He has the size, the bulk, and strength, and as he showed at the Combine, the agility. With the great set of tools, to go along with a good work ethic and a toughness to be an anchor of the Cardinal line for four years, there’s no down side. He’ll be a rock in the middle of a line for a long time.
CFN Projection: Second Round

46. Vontae Davis, CB  Illinois  5-11, 205 (Jr.)
Without question, in terms of pure physical skills, Davis is the best corner in the draft with 4.4 speed (in a class that has problems finding sub-4.4 prospects), a linebacker-like 25 reps on the bench, a 36” vertical, and fluid quickness. His older brother, Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers, was also a workout marvel. However, they both seem to have the same dog streak. He played last year like he was counting the minutes before he could turn pro and wasn’t nearly the playmaker he should’ve been. Had he not been a pain in the butt for the coaches (try to get a strong word out of the Illini coaching staff about him) and had he focused on having a great year, realizing the mega-payday he would’ve received as a top ten pick, he would’ve been everyone’s No. 1 corner off the board. He’ll go relatively early based on pure physical talent, but he’ll bounce around the league teasing teams with his raw skills.
CFN Projection: Second Round 

47. Rashad Johnson, Alabama (FS) 5-11, 195
A pure football player with uncanny instincts and tremendous smarts. He’s always around the ball seemingly knowing where it’s going before the offense does, and he always comes up with the big play when he has the shot. With good range and excellent ball skills, he’s great at picking off passes and coming up clutch when he has to. Size will be an issue. He’s skinny and is built more like a corner than an intimidating safety, and he’s not going to intimidate anyone with his tackling skills. If nothing else, he’ll be an elite special teamer and should put up great numbers in nickel and dime packages.
CFN Projection: Second Round

48. LeSean McCoy, RB Pitt 5-11, 200 (Soph.)
“Shady” will be the ideal back for anyone with another back on the roster with some power. McCoy is a quick back who can seamlessly slide in and out of the hole, can cut on a dime, and proved he can be used as a workhorse, a receiver, and do everything needed to help out an offense. While he can cut in a Houston Texan-like, zone-blocking offense like Steve Slaton, he doesn’t have the same blazing burst that Slaton and other smaller backs have at the next level. While he won’t block anyone and he’s too small to not get help from a second runner in a rotation, he’s a natural producer who’ll make a big splash and be a very, very good pro for a long time.
CFN Projection: First Round

49. Andrew Levitre, OG Oregon State 6-3, 305
Where will he play? A college left tackle, he’s not quick enough start on the outside and he’s not powerful enough to be a star on the inside. Even so, he’s an athletic, versatile blocker who’s very smart, doesn’t make mistakes, and is ultra-reliable. He can move to tackle if absolutely needed, but he’ll end up spending his career likely at left guard. More of a technician than a road grater, he’ll have to get a bit stronger.
CFN Projection: Second Round

50. Jared Cook, TE South Carolina 6-5, 245 (Jr.)
On pure athleticism, he’s the best all-around tight end in the draft and it’s not even close. He was the eye-opening tight end star at the Combine jumping out of the stadium and blazing off a 4.49 in the 40. However, he hasn’t been able to translate his size, athleticism, and length into a consistent receiver. There were stretches when he dominated, but he disappeared. Put it this way; he was a superior gifted tight end for Steve Spurrier and he was just marginally productive.
CFN Projection: Second Round

 - Top 50 Prospects - No. 1 to 25