2005 Draft Overview
The 2005 Draft will bring a wealth of young talent to the NFL. From starters to role-players, there is quality available at every position. On offense, the QB class will be greatly improved if/when USC's Matt Leinart declares himself eligible for the draft. He's earned the top spot, and will be the first QB taken. He's likely to stay in California with the 49'ers having the first overall pick in the draft. After Leinart, there are several QB's vying to improve their draft position; Aaron Rogers (Cal), Charlie Frye (Akron), Dan Orlovsky (UConn) and Kyle Orton (Purdue) to name a few. Derek Anderson (Oregon State) is the dark horse in a relatively weak QB class. Mr. Leinart, it's time to cash your $15,000,000 lottery ticket - you've earned it!
By far, the class of the offensive draft is at the RB position. Cedric Benson (Texas) is at the top of our list. But there is little drop-off in talent. Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams (Auburn) will both be successful in the NFL. Power, speed, third-down backs and good hands out of the backfield are all available in a very deep class of RB's. Frankly, there are too many guys to mention in one paragraph. The only real question might be the two Juniors who've recently declared for the draft. Vernand Morency (Oklahoma State) and Eric Shelton (Louisville), both enter a talent rich draft a year before they would be the among the top RB's available. They must have their reasons - I hope they're making the right decision.
Teams looking for help at Wide Receiver will find solid players even after the top two selections. Mike Williams (USC) missed his opportunity to return to the Trojans for a National Championship Ring. The NCAA punished Williams for his decision to leave school early. He wasn't allowed in the 2004 NFL Draft and was left in limbo. We have the 6-5 220 pound Williams ranked at #1, as we did last year. No doubt, some scouts will be weary of a kid that hasn't played football for more than a year and they'll lean towards the multi-talented Braylon Edwards (Michigan). There is a drop-off after Williams and Edwards, but not as much as some might think. There is a herd of talent at WR. So many, in fact, that some may have to fight their way onto their respective rosters as Rookie Free Agents.
There are good quality offensive linemen in this draft. While other drafts may have had a Top 5 pick, this draft does not. However, there are some terrific football players to be picked up as a bargain. Our favorites include David Baas (Michigan), Jamal Brown (Oklahoma) and Ben Wilkerson (LSU). Baas is the most versatile lineman to come out in years. He is smart, can play center, guard or right tackle, has a mean-streak and is very strong, with excellent feet... what's not to like?
On the defensive side of the ball there is even more talent available in the 2005 Draft. There are 5-10 NFL caliber CB's in this draft. Antrell Rolle (Miami) is a universally solid player, as are Carlos Rogers (Auburn) and Marlin Jackson (Michigan). There is little drop-off to the next level corners. The dark horse in the mix is the 5-10 176 lbs., Scott Starks (Maryland). Most will shy away from Starks because of his size, but they'll regret it in the end. Several good players at Safety are available too. The massive, Ernest Shazor (Michigan) is listed at 6-4 225 lbs., he's a monster with a nose for the football.
There are plenty of solid LB's available as well. There is one player who hasn't received the attention he deserves here: Michael Boley (Southern Mississippi). Boley is a true 'football player' in every sense. He's tough, a student of the game, fast, hard-hitting, ball stripping, snot-bubble knocking, raw talent. Michael Boley was a man among boys on the field. He could have declared for the NFL last year. He stayed in school, played brilliantly and deserves to be the Top OLB chosen. Derrick Johnson (Texas) is all-world, and deserves a serious look. Boley is a star-in-waiting. Tackling Machine - Barrett Ruud (Nebraska), deserves to be mentioned in any article about LB's from now, until he's a candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year honors.
Lastly, but certainly not least, there is plenty of talent on the defensive line. These Defensive End prospects will give NFL QB's nightmares for years to come. There are no fewer than a dozen DE's that will earn roster spots in the NFL next season. Many of them are going to be starters, or speed rushers. Matt Roth (Iowa) is the most under-rated of the bunch. Erasmus James (Wisconsin), Dan Cody (Oklahoma), David Pollack (Georgia) and Marcus Spears (LSU) are all potential first rounders. There are several others that could surprise the scouts at the NFL Combine. At DT, there is a wealth of sturdy, studly, super-talented players. There are simply too many to mention here! There are a few sleepers that will be bargains - look for Jonathan Babineaux (Iowa) began his career at FB. He's flying under the radar now, but his stock will be on the rise.
Overall, there is a stunning mix of talent ready for the NFL. We're usually not in favor of players leaving college early, but when they're certain to be a first-round pick, the financial security to impossible to ignore. Matt Leinart is probably going to be the Top Pick... if he declares himself eligible.
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This article was released on 2005-01-08.
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