It’s never too early, is it? I spoke with NFLDraftScout.com‘s Rob Rang for a story I’m writing for Tuesday and, because I’m a draft nut, I had to pick his brain about some other stuff.
- The top offensive prospect in the Big 12 is Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree with Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin close behind. Rang called Crabtree “a freak, like Detroit’s Calvin Johnson. His hands are amazing.”
- The top defensive prospect is either Missouri’s William Moore or Texas’ Brian Orakpo, although he has gripes with both. Moore has been injured and while he has potential, Rang said he’s almost too aggressive and doesn’t break down well in space. As for Orakpo, he says the hype has elevated the defensive end’s stock. “He’s not Jevon Kearse, and he’s not a top 5 guy,” Rang said. “But he’s a legit top 15. But there are some warts.”
And finally, because this is the reason you’ve read this far – Josh Freeman.
He can’t recall seeing a worse senior class for quarterbacks, so he fully expects to see a large number of junior quarterbacks throw their names into the draft – and he doesn’t think that’s a good idea, either.
“I think a lot of agents will get to talking,” Rang said. “There is a lot of talk of one more year of the salary cap, and how they might implement a stronger cap. It would be chaos because the senior class is so bad, and it could be all of the elite guys in the Big 12.
“I’m always for a kid returning to school. I’m hesitant to tout all of them – (OU’s Sam) Bradford, (UT’s Colt) McCoy and Freeman – but they all have obvious tools. They’re just not Matt Ryan.”
In other words, he doesn’t believe any of those three are ready, but it doesn’t believe it would stop any of those three from a) entering the draft and b) being selected in the first round.
NFLDraftScout.com’s official ranking of the junior class is, in order, Georgia’s Matt Stafford, Florida’s Tim Tebow, USC’s Mark Sanchez, McCoy and Freeman. They’d all be first-round picks, Rang said. Bradford wasn’t included because he’s a redshirt sophomore, although he’d be eligible for the draft is so inclined. And in Rang’s personal estimation, within the Big 12, it’s McCoy, Bradford and Freeman, although he believes Freeman has the biggest upside – as well as the biggest floor.
“I want to see more,” Rang said. “I want to see better poise in the pocket, and I want to see him continue to make progress with his accuracy. But he can make throws right now some quarterbacks in the NFL can’t make.”
And for one final thought on the senior quarterback class – and why I’d be shocked if Josh Freeman spent another year in Manhattan – Rang said, “I’d be surprised if a senior quarterback is taken in the first day of the draft (which is now two rounds). It’s a very weak class.”
Thoughts? Let’s hear them.