As part of "NFL Network's" the "Path to the Draft," the network's draft expert, Mike Mayock, releases his top prospects by position and his overall top 20 draft prospects heading into next week's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
"NFL Network's" exclusive coverage of the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine presented by Reebok begins Thur., Feb. 21. In all, "NFL Network" will televise 26 hours of live, high-definition combine coverage.
Mayock's pre-combine thoughts and player rankings are as follows:
Mayock on Illinois' Rashard Mendenhall vs. Arkansas' Darren McFadden:
• "Mendenhall translates better to the NFL game. He's 225 pounds and has great feet and tremendous burst and acceleration for a player of his size. My biggest concern with McFadden is that although he also has great burst and acceleration, I don't think he has the lower body strength that you're looking for in a first-round NFL back."
Mayock on USC's Sedrick Ellis vs. LSU's Glenn Dorsey:
• "They are both great football players and it's a very difficult evaluation between the two as to who is better because they are both top-10 picks. What I like about Ellis is that he played nose tackle in a 3-4 defense at USC and that will appeal to 3-4 NFL teams. In addition, he will also appeal to the 4-3 teams because he has the quickness to play the "three technique." Dorsey is a great football player and I give him credit for playing through injuries the past few years, however, his durability is a concern."
Mayock's Top 20
* Matt Ryan - QB, Boston College * Chris Long - DE, Virginia * Glenn Dorsey – DT, LSU * Vernon Gholston – DE, Ohio State * Jake Long – OL, Michigan * Ryan Clady – OL, Boise State * Keith Rivers – LB, USC * Phillip Merling – DE, Clemson * Leodis McKelvin – CB, Troy * Brandon Flowers – CB, Virginia Tech * Rashard Mendenhall – RB, Illinois * Jeff Otah – OL, Pitt * Derrick Harvey – DE, Florida * Kentwan Balmer – DT, North Carolina * Aqib Talib – CB, Kansas * Chris Williams – OL, Vanderbilt * Mario Manningham – WR, Michigan * Limas Sweed – WR, Texas * Branden Albert – OL, Virginia *
- Matt Ryan - Boston College 2. Chad Henne – Michigan 3. Brian Brohm – Louisville 4. Joe Flacco – Delaware 5. Andre Woodson – Kentucky
Rashard Mendenhall – Illinois 2. Darren McFadden – Arkansas 3. Jonathan Stewart – Oregon 4. Felix Jones – Arkansas 5. Chris Johnson - East Carolina 6.
Mario Manningham - Michigan 2. Limas Sweed - Texas 3. DeSean Jackson - California 4. Malcolm Kelly - Oklahoma 5. Early Doucet – LSU 6.
Jake Long – Michigan 2. Ryan Clady - Boise State 3. Jeff Otah – Pitt 4. Chris Williams – Vanderbilt 5. Gosder Cherilus - Boston College 6.
Chris Long – Virginia 2. Vernon Gholston - Ohio State 3. Phillip Merling – Clemson 4. Derrick Harvey – Florida 5. Lawrence Jackson – USC 6.
Dan Connor - Penn State 2. Curtis Lofton – Oklahoma 3. Spencer Larsen – Arizona 4. Beau Bell – UNLV 5. Jo-Lonn Dunbar - Boston College 6.
- Keith Rivers – USC
- Erin Henderson – Maryland
- Xavier Adibi - Virginia Tech
- Tavares Gooden – Miami (FL)
- Ali Highsmith – LSU
Leodis McKelvin – Troy 2. Brandon Flowers - Virginia Tech 3. Aqib Talib – Kansas 4. Mike Jenkins - South Florida 5. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - Tennessee State 6.