2009 NFL Draft: Second Day Prospects
Total Pro Sports – Who would you rather have on your team Tom Brady or Alex Smith? Marques Colston or Charles Rogers? Cortland Finnegan or Kelly Jennings? I guess the argument is like shooting fish in a barrel, but the difference between the bust and success story in the eyes of talent scouts was 198, 250 and 184 players respectively. The list of players who have proved second day selections are more than just cut-fodder is endless, and here are four names who will want to repeat that success this year despite being outside of day one contention.
Aaron Kelly, WR Clemson
Many rated this guy a second round prospect a year ago, but his involvement in an inept offense sees him fall back into the fourth or fifth. He’s a very lean guy and uses his 6ft5 200lb frame to his advantage; bullying corners by getting his body between the ball and them and shows unexpected slight of feet around the sideline. He isn’t just a jump and catch Matt Jones player; at the combine he proved he’s a big play threat by running a 4.49 and jumping 38inches – phenomenal for his size considering Jeremy ‘the fastest man alive’ Maclin could only manage a 4.45 on the slow Lucas Oil Stadium track. As far as technical abilities this guy has strong hands; not crazy Larry Fitzgerald catch-behind-the-head-one-handed hands but naturally good hands that make drops a non issue. He looks a little awkward when running routes and didn’t have the efficiency with his feet you want to see when making cuts, which contributes to his tendency to ‘freestyle’ in college games. Kelly had meetings with the Bears and Patriots at the combine and is a very interesting prospect from a physical standpoint, time will see if he can adapt to the professional game. Could be the next… Marques Colston.
Nate Davis, QB Ball State
Teams are scrambling a little for QBs in free agency (Sage Rosenfels and Matt Cassell getting trades), so the last thing they wanted to see was a weak draft class. Past Stafford, Sanchez and Freeman who will all go inside the top 20, pickings are a slim. Pat White will be drafted next but not purely on his QB skills, and after a weak showing from the seniors at the Senior Bowl Nate Davis will likely be the next guy off the board. A lot is made of his athleticism but he’s very much a passer first, and shows nice decision making skills when it comes down to extending the play, running for the first or getting rid of the football. Then there’s his arm which has people salivating the most; not only can he throw it deep, but he’s accurate when going deep as well. His short-mid range accuracy is a little susceptible however, a big problem when the deep option is locked down by NFL calibre safeties. Teams are also going to love his intangibles; a leader of his team and shows great poise which make throws look effortless – having said that he faced weak competition. Davis needs to be refined, but makes a great project QB for a team looking 3 seasons down the line as supposed to 2009. Look for a team like Carolina or Seattle to jump on him in the fourth. Could be the next… Byron Leftwich done right.
Chris Clemons, SS Clemson
Don’t want to make it a Clemson love in, but I really liked this guy at the combine. Maybe lacks outstanding size at 6ft and is physically inferior to top prospect Sean Smith, but looked very smooth in drills and showed nice hands when catching. He also ran the fastest 40 of any defensive back at the draft so you can pencil him in for the Raiders already; Oakland need a safety after Gibril Wilson was cut and Al Davis is a sucker for a fast 40. Could be the next… Nick Collins.
Jonathan Luigs, C Arkansas
The best centre class in a long time with two of the best college prospects at the position in Alex Mack and Max Unger for a decade means Luigs slips back – but don’t forget that this guy can play. Luigs possesses quick feet, plays aggressively but stays smart and leads the line well. He lacks the versatility of an Unger or Mack, and also has big question marks over his strength and power meaning he could be bullied at the top level. I also don’t like the fact he has an arm span well under 33inches at 31 ¼, which he hides behind his rapid footwork. Arizona wants a centre after multiple snap problems in the playoffs, and Luigs could be their guy. Miami and New England will also consider him. Could be the next… Tom Nalen.