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NFL Draft

Offensive Prospects

April 26, 2006|SAM FARMER

A look at top prospects for Saturday's (rounds 1-3) and Sunday's (rounds 4-7) draft:

Matt Leinart...USC

*--* QUARTERBACKS

*--*

Vince Young...Texas

Jay Cutler...Vanderbilt

Charlie Whitehurst...Clemson

Brodie Croyle...Alabama

* Potential steal: Erik Meyer, Eastern Washington

* Comments: Even though he doesn't have Carson Palmer's prototypical quarterback build, Leinart has a better grasp of offensive systems than some coaches. A lot of scouts see him as the next Tom Brady, a guy who simply knows how to win. Young is a spectacular athlete, as he showed in the Longhorns' Rose Bowl victory, but it's unclear how quickly he'll be able to convert to a pro-style offense. Cutler's stock has been climbing since the season ended. He's big, a little brash, and shined at Vanderbilt despite a pedestrian supporting cast.

*--* TAILBACKS

*--*

Reggie Bush...USC

DeAngelo Williams...Memphis

LenDale White...USC

Laurence Maroney...Minnesota

Maurice Drew...UCLA

* Potential steal: Derrick Ross, Tarleton State

* Comments: Bush has the potential to change the fortunes of a franchise -- probably Houston's. The only knock on him is he might not be an every-down back. Like Bush, Williams has a compact body and the brute strength to move piles. He finished among the top five college rushers in each of the last three seasons. White was a scoring machine for the Trojans and could be an outstanding pro. His inability to run this off-season -- apparently because of a recently discovered hamstring injury -- could cause him to slip in the draft. Chances are, he won't drop out of the first round.

*--* FULLBACKS

*--*

Lawrence Vickers...Colorado

Matt Bernstein...Wisconsin

Quadtrine Hill...Miami

Garrett Mills...Tulsa

Naufahu Tahi...Brigham Young

* Potential steal: David Kirtman, USC

* Comments: Vickers, the inspiration for Colorado's "V-back" position, is an outstanding blocker who has better-than-average hands. He was the 10th player in Colorado history to surpass the 500-yard mark in career rushing and receiving, though most of his time was spent opening holes for other players. Bernstein sat out the second half of his senior season because of a sports hernia. He filled in at tailback in 2004, and has good speed for a 260-pound player. Hill is the son of former NFL running back Eddie Hill, who played for the Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins.

*--* TIGHT ENDS

*--*

Vernon Davis...Maryland

Marcedes Lewis...UCLA

Leonard Pope...Georgia

Dominique Byrd...USC

Joe Klopfenstein...Colorado

* Potential steal: Tony Scheffler, Western Michigan

* Comments: There are great combine performances ... and then there's that of Davis, who blew away NFL teams with a 4.38-second 40-yard dash -- freakish for a 254-pound man -- a broad jump of 10 feet 8 inches (nearly a foot better than the next-best tight end), and 33 bench-press repetitions. He also has excellent hands and led Maryland with 51 receptions last season. Lewis is nearly 6-7, and he caught just about everything thrown his way during his Bruin years. At 6-8, Pope is a giant, but it's unclear whether a guy with the body of an NBA swingman can excel in the NFL.

*--* RECEIVERS

*--*

Chad Jackson...Florida

Sinorice Moss...Miami

Santonio Holmes...Ohio State

Demetrius Williams...Oregon

Travis Wilson...Oklahoma

* Potential steal: Jeremy Bloom, Colorado

* Comments: Moss might be the most intriguing prospect in this class of receivers. He's the younger brother of Washington Redskin receiver Santana Moss, and, like his older brother, he's undersized but dangerous. At 5-8 and 185 pounds, he is very quick and runs precise routes. Scouts are concerned, though, about his ability to beat press coverage and escape jams at the line of scrimmage. Jackson is bigger and shouldn't have a problem in that department. He also ran a scorching 4.32-second 40. But Moss runs better routes.

*--* CENTERS

*--*

Nick Mangold...Ohio State

Chris Chester...Oklahoma

Greg Eslinger...Minnesota

Pat Ross...Boston College

Marvin Philip...California

* Potential steal: Todd Londot, Miami (Ohio)

* Comments: Scouts like Mangold's strength and toughness, and they think he can add even more bulk to his 6-3 1/2 , 300-pound frame without significantly hurting his quickness.

*--* GUARDS

*--*

Max Jean-Gilles...Georgia

Taitusi Lutui...USC

Davin Joseph...Oklahoma

Charles Spencer...Pittsburgh

Fred Matua...USC

* Potential steal: Rob Sims, Ohio State

* Comments: Former teammates Lutui and Matua probably will be first-day selections, with Lutui possibly going in the second round and Matua in the third.

*--* TACKLES

*--*

D'Brickashaw Ferguson...Virginia

Winston Justice...USC

Marcus McNeill...Auburn

Eric Winston...Miami

Daryn Colledge...Boise State

* Potential steal: Guy Whimper, East Carolina

* Comments: Justice improved his stock a lot with his performance at USC's pro day. He's now a possible top-10 pick and could wind up with Buffalo, which has the eighth selection.

*--* KICKERS

*--*

Jon Scifres...Missouri State

Stephen Gostkowski...Memphis

* Comments: Scifres, the younger brother of San Diego Charger punter Mike Scifres, was a kicker and punter in college.

* THURSDAY: DEFENSIVE PROSPECTS

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