Figuring out a strong NFL draft

Reggie Bush has dominated every single college football highlight reel since last October. He has electrifying moves that not only take defenders out of their shoes but take him out his own shoes as well. He has the ability to line up as a receiver, running back or special teams returner and take it to the end zone every time. He draws comparisons to Hall of Famer Gail Sayers and soon to be Hall of Famer Marshal Faulk. Bush ran his 40-yard dash in an outstanding 4.3 seconds. He will go number one to the Houston Texans on Saturday, April 29, 2006.

However I have very mixed feelings about the former outstanding Trojan. He has amazing amounts of speed and the cuts he makes are so brilliant they make my eyes hurt. But he has never truly had the carries of a prime time running back and he is severely undersized for a running back.

Another big factor is that the Texans as a team don’t need another running back. Third-year back Dominic Davis has been a building block for the Texans and does not deserve to be a backup. He has tallied two 1000-yard seasons and is always a threat out of the backfield having almost 600 yards two years ago and 337 last year. Bush will be drafted by the Texans because, he is believed to be the prodigious playmaker that will draw fans to the stadiums for the next five to seven years.

In my opinion, the Texans should pick D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the huge left tackle from Virginia. This is a guy that you plug into a system and forget about for the next 10 years. He has tremendous size, strength, technique and even speed at the tackle position. Ferguson has a seven-foot wingspan that keeps defenders away from getting anywhere near their target. He dominated early in his college career even though he only weighed 260 pounds.

Ferguson’s large 6’5 frame and low weight helped him develop speed for run blocking. At the combine he weighed an NFL left tackle perfect: 300 pounds. Ferguson truly will be the brick wall for one of the top three teams that drafts him. His biggest drawback going first overall is the very opposite of Bush’s. The Brick will not bring fans to the stadium. In fact, I would not be surprised to see Texans fans boo if the brass does take him number one on draft day.

As for the quarterback debate, last year’s crop was a joke compared to this year. Alex Smith might as well put on grab some pom-poms and stop playing football all together. He may end up as another Ryan Leaf or Akili Smith. I’m willing to give him one more year before making those comparisons but compared to Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler, the 49ers would have been better off with this year’s pick.

The best pick at quarterback is USC’s Matt Leinart. He has a solid arm, good size, great at reading defenses and great under pressure. He doesn’t have elite throwing strength and lacks decent speed. But he is a proven winner and a great leader. He will go first unless Vince Young’s fan popularity moves him up.

Texas scrambler Vince Young put on the game of the year during the National championship game. He might as well have been a one-man show; running, throwing and doing the Longhorn shuffle all over the Trojan’s confused defense. Young’s game at the college level was dominating, but the NFL’s linebackers are much to fast to give the running lanes that the quarterback used to rely on so heavily.

Young has an extremely strong arm, he is very mobile and his exciting playmaking ability draws fans. However, Young has terrible footwork, he bombed the Wonderlic test and he doesn’t do well at looking off defenses. The problem with running quarterbacks is that they have terrible technique and don’t end up developing well into pocket passers. I would not be surprised at all to see Vince Young fall deep into the first round.

Defensively at the top of the draft board are the N.C. State defensive end Mario Williams and Ohio State’s outside linebacker AJ Hawk. Both of these players are going to have good NFL careers. Williams has a big upside, he has great explosiveness and an amazing nose for the ball. He has problems with consistency and is still a little unpolished but should be a powerhouse in a few years.

The Buckeyes Hawk should have a spectacular career wherever he goes in the draft. He is a guy that an entire defense can be built around, a sideline-to-sideline tackler that reads defenses to perfection. He combines speed with toughness is going to be very hard to pass on. Hawk is the safest pick to make in the first round of this years draft because he has lots of upside and lacks very little to be a top defender. He will be great at the next level and will have a lot of success.

Tuck’s Top Five

  • Reggie Bush to the Houston Texans
  • D’Brickashaw Ferguson to the New Orleans Saints
  • Matt Leinart to the Tennessee Titans
  • Mario Williams to the New York Jets
  • AJ Hawk to the Green Bay Packers