Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Jan 2006

NFL Grants 48 Early Draft Eligibility

You know about Vince Young. You know about Reggie Bush (and four of his teammates from a USC team that suddenly doesn't look so loaded). But do you know about Middle Tennessee defensive end Bobby Payne? Check out the complete list of early entrants in the draft, and if there's a player you've watched on Saturdays, feel free to share your opinion in the comments.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 19 Jan 2006

27 comments, Last at 22 Jan 2006, 11:28am by Brad


by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 7:22pm

Boy, USC is getting hammered here. Everyone expected Bush to go, but to have Bing, White, and most of their line go in one swoop...yikes.

Haoli Ngata is going to make someone really happy. Huge guy who can passrush as well as do well at run defense.

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 7:33pm

I am really, really surprised Ashton Youboty and Donte Whitner declared, although I think the main reason is that this is a weak CB draft. Youboty especially - he didn't face a ton of passes all year, but that's not because teams avoided him - it's because the Buckeyes were constantly pressuring the passer, and so teams rarely had time to throw to wide receivers on moderate/deep patterns. In the one game where the Buckeyes were unable to consistently pressure the passer (the Minnesota game) Youboty really struggled.

I'm really, really amazed that several places have him as a first-round pick - that's just nuts. He's two or three years away from being able to start in the NFL.

by Al H (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 7:40pm

Hrm, not sure why Dee Webb is declaring. Looks like this is a bad year to be a decent RB with the depth in the draft already. Going to really miss Chad Jackson though, he'll really surprise some NFL team with his desire to go up there and snatch the ball down.

I'll barely recognize my Gators next year!

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 7:57pm

Chad Jackson had a very good year, but not really a spectacular year. For all of his receptions, if I recall correctly he barely broke 10 yards per. I'm curious to see how he transitions, because the NFL scouts apparently like (not love, but like) him... but he never really dominated at the college level.

Except, of course, against Wyoming and Eastern Louisiana.

by NF (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 8:04pm

Any Matt Millen Prospects declare?

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 8:07pm

Did Little Vick declare for the CFL draft, too?

by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 8:44pm

Heh. If Millen wants another WR, he could do worse than go with Santonio Holmes or Devin Hester.

Mel Kiper has Detroit picking Jay Cutler. Craziness.

by MRH (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 9:41pm

My guess is the college players have heard that this may be the last year uncapped for rookie contracts. Not sure htat's true or that it makes sense for a junior to come out and get drafted in the 3rd rd now vs. the 1st rd even in a structured environment, but that's my guess.

by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 10:26pm

#5, #6:

I wonder what'll happen if Millen decides to mix it up a bit, abandon the WR position, and draft New Mexico with his first round pick.

by Show (not verified) :: Thu, 01/19/2006 - 11:26pm

Rob Smith - G, Tennessee

Hard to say anyone on this offense was good. Like the entire offense, looked above average sometimes and putrid the rest. Not consistent at all. However, the Vols coaching staff is much malinged, and many thought he was overweight in college. Good potential, but I wouldn't take him on the first day.

Tony McDaniel - DT, Tennessee

Saw limited playing time beyond an outstanding DLine. Had decided to stay in college until a student filed an $800,000 lawsuit against him for a fight during a pickup game at the REC Center. Probably declaring pro for all the wrong reasons.

by Derek (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 12:11am

Brandon Kirsch is another bizarre one...it is hard to see him getting picked at all since he made little to no impact on his college team.

Purdue sending three early entrants is a bit funny considering their poor season. I remember how many people pointed to their easy schedule (No Michigan/OSU) and listed them in the top 15 before the season.

by Ruben (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 1:01am

Time for a "well, duh" comment, but it probably needs to be said:

Early entrants aren't always motivated by misperceptions of talent; I know of several who declared early only because they were ineligible to return to college for whatever reason, or had personal issues, such as providing for a family (TO isn't the only one with a family to feed). I just think that should be an understanding among the masses, and that it is often overlooked in assessments. Many players don't have dillusions of grandeur; they'd just settle for the Scout Team, or the rookie minimum (hell, I'd settle for the rookie minimum!).

by Tom (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 1:01am

I saw somewhere that the 3 Purdue underclassmen were basically shown the door by Joe Tiller -- if you aren't going to transfer what else can you do but declare for the NFL?

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 3:31am

From what I understand, Tiller has pretty much denied NFL scouts access to Purdue and the 2 defensive players decided to leave before their stocks dropped some more.

I mostly watch the SEC (Alabama) and no Alabama guys declared early. McClover will be interesting, he was limited by a hurt ankle I do believe throughout the season. He was seen as a potential top 15 pick in 2007, but right now is seen as a 2nd/3rd rounder. Whoever gets him is going to get a hell of a pass-rusher.

Ko Simpson will probably be the best safety drafted this year.

Dee Webb is not a great corner, definately below say Keiwann Ratliff. I like Chad Jackson, but I thought he would have been more explosive this season.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 5:04am

I'm no expert in college football, but that strikes me as a stupid thing for Tiller to do. How does it help recruit an athlete, with ambitions to play in the NFL, when it becomes known that Tiller denies access to NFL scouts. Is the next Ron Woodson going to say to himself, "Well, golly gee, I sure am glad that Coach Tiller won't let scouts have access until I'm a senior, no matter if I'm the most sought after defensive back in the country! That'll really serve my interests to the utmost!"

I would think that other coaches would use this against Tiller when talking to blue-chip high school players.

by Ruben (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 9:11am

From what I recall in watching many Purdue games on TV (ESPN Plus, baby!), Tiller is an old-school sort of coach; that is, he expects his best and brightest to play all four years (plus redshirt as applicable). As I understand it, he is also rarely able to recruit the best talent in the midwest, often having to work with diamonds-in-the-rough, such as Orton. As I recall, Brees was the only highly-touted pickup as of late, but he might've been from Indiana.

It's fairly simple: you grow up in the midwest rooting for M, OSU or Notre Dame; then there's everyone else. When you read about the top-flight prep prospects, I don't think you ever see Purdue mentioned as a possibility. The program lacks a story or a recent championship, and West Lafeyette is in the middle of nowhere.

by Zac (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 11:09am

Re #8. Yeah, that's what I've heard. So if that's the case, any person who expects to go 1st or 2nd round (lower rounds are stuck with minimum base salaries + signing bonus, so this shouldn't affect them) will declare this year.

by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 11:50am

"Brees was the only highly-touted pickup as of late, but he might’ve been from Indiana."

He's from Austin and none of the big Texas schools recruited him. He tore an ACL in high school, so that scared some colleges off. Obviously, a smart move by Tiller to go after him.

by Drew (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 11:56am

Brian Calhoun will be a nice pickup for someone.

Count me among those who are surprised to see Brandon Kirsch on there. Getting benched for a freshman is probably frustrating, but it's no reason to jump to the CFL. It must be, as someone said above, that he was no longer wanted at Purdue.

Any strong opinions about Omar Jacobs? I've heard his name off and on for a while, but you don't see a lot of Bowling Green on TV.

I'm a little surprised to see that there wasn't more discussion about Brady Quinn possibly going pro. His national profile blew up pretty nicely this year. And there's the whole CBA/rookie pay scale thing looming. Maybe I'm biased, but I figured he would have been a first-rounder if he had come out.

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 12:55pm

I don't think there's any way Quinn would have fallen out of the top ten had he declared, never mind the first round. He might well, however, have ended up in Arizona or Detroit, which seems like a pretty good reason not to come out if you ask me. This way, he gets taken first overall in 2007 by Jersey/B.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 2:07pm

Gosh, you really don't have to be much of a blue-chipper to be discouraged from going to Purdue, due to Tiller's policy. I look at Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney at Minnesota, neither of whom was highly sought after out of high school, and they both came out early.

Barber is off to a solid start with the Cowboy's, and it is likely the Maroney will have a solid NFL career, barring injury. Unless one is hell-bent on getting a degree first, and a NFL career is of secondary importance, why would you go to Purdue?

by Ben (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 3:13pm

Brian Calhoun is at best similar to Brian Westbrook, and more likely similar to Darren Sproles. Remember, he was in the same offense that made Ron Dayne the leading rusher in NCAA history. Calhoun will not be an every down NFL back. If he is drafted before the third round I would be suprised

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 5:10pm

I don't think the access is a general Tiller policy. I think it's related to the issues they had this season - the divisiveness on the team, off-field issues, poor performance, etc. Purdue has had more NFL-caliber players under Tiller than in previous years. If they get back on track next year, I think Tiller will open things up for scouts again.

Edwards is a decent DE; not sure if he's NFL-caliber yet. I'm not sure any Purdue DB should be declaring this season. Kirsch is leaving because he won't even be starting next season: he lost his job to Curtis Painter mid-season. I hope he's already signed with an agent.

Not being able to recruit top-flight talent is hardly a knock on Tiller, it's more a reflection of the proximity to South Bend, Ann Arbor, and Columbus. He's been able to get decent in-state talent and has had a fairly solid pipeline to Texas - Brandon Villarreal and Kyle Ingraham are both from TX.

Purdue may never get a I-A title, but they do have a recent Rose Bowl appearance, and had gone to bowls in eight straight seasons prior to this one. That's about as good as you can get in terms of history for a non-elite Big Ten program. Certainly their QB heritage would be good enough to draw prospects.

Personally, I'd rather have coaches focus their players on team efforts rather than individual success. Players are already too likely to celebrate after making a crushing tackle on a 12-yard gain on 3rd-and-10: no need to encourage them to pose for the scouts afterward. It'll be interesting to see what happens to Kirsch and others who declared early and don't get drafted ...

by Falco (not verified) :: Fri, 01/20/2006 - 7:25pm

Very good RB class, for 2nd year in a row, after several years with few high quality prospects at that position. Everyone knows Bush and White, to go with Sr DeAngelo Williams, Maroney is a burner that can be an every down back, I also like Maurice Drew out of UCLA, though he is not real tall, he has the bulk to play the position full-time and is a natural talent at RB. Tend to agree with #22 on Calhoun. The question on these guys and how high they go will be pass protection/receiving skills. Maroney wasn't asked to do much in the passing game, but that doesn't mean he can't, he could improve his stock to early-mid first if he shows he is not Tatum Bell in those areas.

Hester is listed as a WR, though he played alot more DB (plus punt returns). Does the NFL consider him a better WR prospect?

Omar Jacobs, the main thing on him is going to be height, hard to argue with his numbers, such as the 41/4 TD/INT ratio two years ago. In the limited number of games I saw him play, he impressed me with accuracy, but he played in a spread offense/shotgun most of time. Maybe he figured there is nothing else to prove in college. Will probably get a look 3rd round or early on 2nd day.

by boilerfan (not verified) :: Sun, 01/22/2006 - 3:00am

As a Purdue fan I can say that Kirsh was done at Purdue. If he does make it in the NFL it will not be as a QB. But Tiller does do a good job of turning mid-level high school talents into NFL caliber players. As I recall Purdue had the second most kids drafted last year.

by John (not verified) :: Sun, 01/22/2006 - 3:44am

I really like Laurence Maroney. I can see him doing well enough on Pro Days (and/or the Combine, if he goes) to shoot up to Top Ten pick status. He should have a superb NFL career.

Does anyone remember BYU quarterback John Walsh? He was supposed to be good and then left BYU early. Cincinnati drafted him in the 7th round in 1995.
What happened?

by Brad (not verified) :: Sun, 01/22/2006 - 11:28am

Brian Calhoun will be a steal in the draft. All he needs is a chance. He doesn't care when he gets drafted, and he'll prove himself once he gets his foot in the door. I've seen him in track, basketball, and football since he was in middle school and know what he's capable of. I know he'll prove himself by the end of his 2nd season no matter what team he is on.

Brian Calhoun will be a great success and has the potential to go down as one of the best backs as long as he's given the chance.