NFL Draft Rankings - 2009 NFL Draft Player Rankings
by Robert Ferringo - 02/20/2009
Next week I'll be releasing an updated version of Doc's Sports 2009 NFL Mock Draft. But before I got into breaking down draft positions based on specific needs I wanted to throw out some 2009 NFL Draft player rankings.
You have to remember, just because a guy gets picked No. 15 overall doesn't mean he's the 15th best player. And that's the reason that the second and third rounds are my favorite of the whole draft. If you see a team that's getting a player whose NFL Draft ranking was in my Top 40 in the middle of the third round than I can already tell that this team is having a good weekend. Remember: the first two picks are for needs and after that the next two picks should be the best player available.
But before you can know who the best player available is you have to have a solid NFL draft player ranking board. I have scoured the Internet and relied on my own handicapping of players and teams to come up with the following list. I broke down the guys that I feel are the 64 best players in the draft (that fills up the top two rounds.) Will all of these guys go in the top 64 picks this April? Of course not. Need dictates selections as much as talent does. But what I've done is tried to find a consensus on players and then place them in my own personal order. The result: pure magic. Without Mel Kiper's hair care products.
Here is my 2009 NFL draft rankings:
1. Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech - He's ready to step in and play, right now. There is a very checkered recent past of Top 20 wide receivers but I don't see how Crabtree is that far off from what Calvin Johnson was coming into the league.
2. Andre Smith, OT, Alabama - This guy is just a big ol' nasty bear. And you know that Nick Saban has already groomed Smith for The League.
3. Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest - A tackling machine. And as much as I dog the ACC, Curry has had his way with some pretty solid running backs out there over the last three years.
4. Eugene Monroe, OG, Virginia - The Steelers and Patriots win Super Bowls because their interior lines dominate opponents. Monroe has the potential to play on Super Sunday on such a line.
5. Rey Maualuga, LB, USC - This is higher than a lot of draft boards have him, but when I see this guy I just see a player. Remember, Lofa Tatupu was not in the Top 10 of anyone's draft boards and no one is doubting his ability now.
6. Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech - Johnson is another guy that I have rated above some of his contemporaries. Johnson's wingspan is about 27 feet long and he was the linchpin one of the most overachieving defenses in the country.
7. William Moore, S, Missouri - Moore is a stellar playmaker that was seasoned in the most pass-happy conference in the country. He didn't have a lot to work with up front, but just think about the battles that he and Chase Daniels had every day in practice.
8. Michael Oher, OT, Mississippi - Some people knock Oher for "inconsistency". Let's see you go toe-to-toe with the amazing defensive lines in the SEC every Saturday and not have a few bad series.
9. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Mizzou - He was a game breaker in college and I see no reason why he won't be a difference maker in the pros. The problem is that he's never going to be a No. 1, so I actually should be dropping him lower than this. But his potential as a kick returner right now keeps him rated this high.
10. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia - I think Moreno is going to be a quality back in the NFL. I don't see a problem with his hands and the guy didn't exactly have top-tier lines in his last two seasons at UGA.
11. Jason Smith, OT, Baylor - You know how good you have to be to dominate on the offensive line for Baylor?
12. B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College - Much like Johnson, Raji was the anchor on another overachieving defense.
13. Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas - Even I think this is a little bit low for Orakpo, but I had a run on skill guys there.
14. Aaron Maybin, OLB, Penn State - Just another gem from Linebacker U. He played DE but I think he's going to be thrown into the obligatory "end-linebacker hybrid" category. He's not as good as recent PSU studs, but he's still very good.
15. Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State - I'm sure Jenkins will go in the Top 10 and I have nothing against him. But the issue I have is that he was not tested against the top wideouts and the top receivers in the country playing at Ohio State. He's got some bust potential.
16. Everette Brown, DE, FSU - Athletic specimen. But like all FSU guys you have to question their technique and discipline. He has to go to the right team to reach his max potential.
17. Brian Cushing, LB, USC - Maualuga's running mate is every bit his equal.
18. James Laurinaitis, LB, Ohio State - Forget about the BCS title game meltdowns; This guy has been one of the best players on one of the best defenses, in one of the hardest hitting conferences in the country for three years now. Intangibles are off the charts.
19. Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois - Davis has all the tools and the athleticism that you look for in an NFL corner. His height is somewhat of an issue, but he's actually six-feet if he doesn't cut his hair.
20. Percy Harvin, WR, Florida - How many times do you think the word "ankle" comes up when people discuss Harvin's position in the draft? Well, add one more to it.
21. Chris Wells, RB, Ohio State - Beanie started off slow last year because of his injured ankle. But he proved in his last eight games that he is a force once he gets to the second level.
22. Duke Robinson, OT, Oklahoma - This is significantly higher than a lot of people have Robinson. But I don't get that. Have you ever seen this monster? The Sooners line just dominated people, and Robinson more than held his own against Florida.
23. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland - Has the potential to be a prototypical No. 1 wideout and he comes from a part of the country where he faced a lot of good corners.
24. LeSean McCoy, RB, Pitt - Really works to his advantage that he didn't have to carry the full load for Pitt. Kid can stop on a dime, make change, and then hit you for 50. Got a great spin move as well.
25. Alphonso Smith, CB, Wake Forest - This kid just makes plays. I know I have Davis and Jenkins rated higher than Smith, but I think I would rather take this cat and his oodles of INTs over either of those two. He is three inches away from being a Top 10 pick.
26. Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU - The entire LSU defense fell apart in the last two months of last season. But I'm not going to let that taint what Jackson has done in his career for the Tigers.
27. Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina - His performance in this year's bowl game was no fluke at all. He really stepped up this year when the Tar Heels lost Brandon Tate. Bonus points for that.
28. Javon Ringer, RB, Michigan State - I actually think that Ringer is a bit underrated headed into the draft. One service has him rated as the No. 8 back available.
29. Matt Stafford, QB, Georgia - When it comes to potential, Stafford is a Top 10 player. But there are tremendous questions for me about his ability to take over games in the NFL. And isn't that what a QB taken in the Top 5 or Top 10 should be able to do? He has a ridiculous arm and a good head on his shoulders, but he was not a prolific passer in college.
30. Max Unger, C, Oregon - Unger is just a scrapper. Centers are probably the most underrated players on the football field and - Cal fans might disagree - there were none better over the last few years than Unger.
31. D.J. Moore, S, Vanderbilt - Could be easy to get this Moore confused with the Missouri Moore. All they do is make plays.
32. Larry English, DE, Northern Illinois - If you no speaky English yet, you will soon. This guy was a man among boys in the MAC and is the obligatory "hot prospect" that is "surging up the draft boards" right now.
33. Peria Jerry, DT, Mississippi - I really should have Jerry a bit higher than this.
34. Alex Mack, C, Cal - Flip a coin between Mack and Unger; both are going to contribute at either guard or center on very good offensive lines.
35. Eben Britton, OT, Arizona - Britton's size (6-6, 310) and his performance last season really boosted his stock. But I'm not sold on him enough to place him in the first round.
36. Sean Smith, CB, Utah - He's got speed and size and played really well anytime he faced off with BCS competition.
37. Mark Sanchez, QB, USC - I'm not a fan of one-hit wonders. I know he's got some tools, but regardless of their bowl performances I thought this was the weakest Pac-10 in at least six years. Sanchez isn't better than Matt Leinart was, and Leinart can't get off the pine.
38. Jairus Byrd, CB, Oregon - I have to admit that I am not that familiar with Byrd's work. But all across the Internet people rave about him so I'm going to bite.
39. Sen'Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn - Marks is as inconsistent as they come. And there have been whispers about his attitude. But I'm willing to overlook all that and say that this guy is a Top 40 talent.
40. Victor Harris, CB, Virginia Tech - How can you not love the Macho Man? He is not textbook in coverage but just makes plays and has a nose for the ball.
41. James Davis, RB, Clemson - Let's see you try to run behind that abortion of an offensive line that Clemson had this year. This guy has speed to burn and could be a poor man's Chris Johnson.
42. Derrick Williams, WR, Penn State - There are a lot of really good wideouts in this year's draft but not a ton of elite wideouts. I think Williams is a perfect example.
43. Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee - This guy just kills people when he can get them teed up. But he's got to work on being more consistent.
44. Clint Sintim, OLB, Virginia - He was overshadowed by Chris Long two years ago. But last season Sintim proved that he was not piggy backing on anyone else.
45. Mike Mickens, CB, Cincinnati - Again, Mickens gets no love but he was sensational for one of the most underrated defenses of the past two seasons.
46. Nate Davis, QB, Ball State - This kid is by far the most accurate passer of any of the generally regarded "Top 4" quarterbacks. He throws a beautiful deep ball and has a lot of moxie. He's going to be a player.
47. Coye Francies, CB, Oregon State - Might have considered him more if he spelled his name right. C'mon guy.
48. Shonn Greene, RB, Iowa - You really could flip a coin between Ringer, McCoy, Greene and Don Brown in my opinion.
49. Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers - Britt got off to a really slow start this year but he has the physical tools to be a legit No. 1 wideout. He has solid sleeper potential.
50. Fili Moala, DT, USC - He made their linebackers' jobs a lot easier.
51. Clay Matthews, OLB, USC - Everyone is in love with Mathews right now. I have even seen some people rating him above Cushing. I don't get it. He was made to look a lot better because he played on a team surrounded by NFL talent. I get that he's a Hall of Famer's son. I get it. But I still don't see first round talent.
52. William Beatty, OT, Connecticut - Shares a name with some famous Irish surgeon. In five years when you Google this kid's name I think you'll read about his blocking skills before Sir William's relationship with Horatio Nelson.
53. Ricky Jean-Francois, DT, LSU - Frenchy falls in the same boat as Jackson. I have a long memory when it comes to this Tigers D-line.
54. Chase Coffman, TE, Missouri - Don't sleep on Coffman. If he gets into the right system he could be the next Dallas Clark.
55. Patrick Chung, S, Oregon - There are questions about Chung playing in a system because he was a "rover" for the Ducks. All I know is that I like secondary players that can tackle.
56. Paul Kruger, OLB, Utah - Got another hybrid for you. Green is in these days, didn't you know? Kruger is a jack-of-all-trades and is just a straight defender.
57. Derek Pegues, S, Mississippi State - Two years ago I listed Eric Weddle in my Top 60 when not too many other people had him rated that high. He has a great career ahead of him. I see a lot of the same skills in Pegues.
58. Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut - Brown is a thumper and runs as hard as any back in the country. This is one of my sleeper picks.
59. Phil Loadholt, OT, Oklahoma - It's just too obvious: Phil is definitely a load on the offensive line.
60. Andrew Levitre, OG, Oregon State - Somebody was opening all those holes for Jacquizz Rodgers.
61. Brandon Pettigrew, TE, OSU - I am stunned that I see Pettigrew's name consistently in the first round of most mock drafts. I don't get it? He has an NFL body, I will give him that. But he doesn't have great hands and only caught 70 passes over the last two years for a team that threw the ball 40 times a game.
62. Ron Brace, DT, Boston College - This is one of those situations where Brace would have been good on his own, but he was made to look a whole lot better because he played next to Raji. Ryan Sims, anyone?
63. Travis Beckum, TE, Wisconsin - Going into last year Beckum was considered one of, if not THE, best tight end in the country. Injuries slowed him but there is still talent there.
64. Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State - I hear all this talk about Freeman and all I can think of is this: he's a slower, more inconsistent, lazier, more turnover-prone Dante Culpepper. And I'm not talking about the Culpepper that had three All-Pro wideouts, a great offensive line, and an All-Pro running back to work with. I mean the Culpepper from the last five years. Mark it down: Freeman will never, ever be a good NFL quarterback. In fact, he will be terrible.
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