Ryan Chartrand

This year’s NFL Draft seems as top-heavy as Anna Nicole Smith (R.I.P.). It appears the cream will definitely rise to the top this year, although look out for Mustangs Kyle Shotwell and Courtney Brown after the first round.

Rest assured, there will be no Matt Leinart or Jay Cutler in the top 15 this year. So we’ll focus on the top five this year, and we at the Mustang Daily are always looking for excuses to provide our readers with meaningless ranking lists. Without further delay, I give you the top five prospects in this year’s NFL Draft:

1. WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech

Without a doubt the best wideout prospect in NFL history. Picture Randy Moss with 30 pounds of extra muscle and Nelson Mandela’s attitude.

Can’t-miss doesn’t cut it. Barring a run-in with Jeff Kent’s truck or T.O.’s pharmacist, this guy will be a star. He has great hands, size (6-foot-5, 235 pounds), runs a 4.37 40-yard dash and by all accounts is a good guy. He may not be the first player drafted, but he is the best player in the draft. All of his Georgia Tech highlights look like they happened in “The Matrix.”

Not only does he run great routes, if the ball is under/over thrown he has the ability to go get it. Which means he can run precise routes in a West Coast Offense or go over the top for a vertical passing team.

The Raiders might even consider starting Andrew Walter, or resurrecting George Blanda. The guy is that good.

2. QB Brady Quinn, Notre Dame

JaMarcus Russell may have the arm strength and athleticism, but Quinn will be a better player. Any team needing a quarterback that skips on Quinn (read: Oakland Raiders) is making a big mistake.

Quinn has run a pro-style offense for the last two years and if it weren’t for Russell and his ridiculous arm, people would be raving about Quinn’s arm strength.

He will be no stranger to the rigors of a pro offense and will step in to provide an immediate impact. Quinn also has some mobility and can throw on the run.

He’s not Michael Vick by any means, but he’s not Drew Bledsoe either. Quinn has become a victim of the Notre Dame hype machine that helped him throughout college. He was easily the best player on an over-ranked team that played a pretty ruthless schedule. Besides, if he doesn’t pan out we will be forced to see him shirtless in countless Abercrombie ads – not nice!

3. RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma

Peterson could have come out after his freshman year. He is an absolute beast of a football player.

Peterson has a combination of size (6-2, 218) and speed (4.4) that hasn’t been seen since Eric Dickerson. The only reason Peterson is not higher on the list is because of consecutive injuries in otherwise stellar sophomore and junior seasons.

Peterson has great vision and the ability to either elude or run through defenders with ease. Despite running with such power, Peterson has an excellent burst to the outside and can run away from defenders.

His character and work ethic have been lauded by coaches and scouts alike. I wouldn’t call him fragile, he plays without fear and has ‘workhorse’ written all over him.

However, that reckless abandon has led to major injuries the past two years. Some teams may pass because of the injuries, but if he can stay healthy, Peterson will be the best back in the class of 2007.

4. QB JaMarcus Russell, LSU

He is a consensus No. 1 pick, and why not?

There’s a lot to like about him, particularly 6 feet, 6 inches and 265 pounds of him. Al Davis loves to throw the deep ball and this guy can do it.

I’m pretty sure he could kill a small child while playing catch. To me, there is arm strength, then there’s Russell, right below small arms fire. His workouts were impressive, he can make all the throws, no question. Not only that, but he can scramble and throw across his body with accuracy, which he will have to do on a consistent basis considering the Raiders’ O-line situation.

Russell’s accuracy has been called into question by scouts and he may not be as polished as Quinn as far as running an offense.

However, you can’t teach size, arm strength and athleticism, and Russell is loaded with all three.

I hate to curse him, but Russell looks like the second coming of Daunte Culpepper, which isn’t a bad thing. I’m sure Mr. Davis hopes Russell and Moss can look like the Culpepper-and-Moss duo of years past.

5. OT Joe Thomas, Wisconsin

Some may be reluctant to pick a left tackle from the Big 10 after the Robert Gallery debacle (I’m sorry Raiders fans, I do like you).

Thomas, like Gallery, projects as a can’t-miss, prototype NFL left tackle. Thomas has the requisite size (6-6, 311) and strength (28 reps at 225 pounds) of a franchise tackle.

The only knock on the Wisconsin senior is his lack of aggressiveness at times and the fact that he had knee surgery prior to the 2006 season. That said, Thomas is athletic, evidenced by his track and field background, and the size of a small bus.

For the most part, Thomas was absolutely dominant in an elite conference in college football, being tested against some of the best defensive linemen in the country.

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