NFL Draft: Favorites and busts

National Football Post
Yahoo! Sports

The NFL Draft is now only two short days away, so it's time to unveil our All-Favorites and All-Bust teams for 2009. The All-Favorites team is a list of players we're particularly fond of and hold in higher regard than most NFL teams and draft publications around the country. The All-Bust team is a group of prospects we think are clearly overrated and will struggle once they get to the NFL. This should ignite plenty of debate …

All-Favorite Team

QB Stephen McGee, Texas A&M (6-3, 225): It was an absolute crime that McGee didn't get more playing time last season at Texas A&M. With a couple of years of development, however, we expect him to be competing for a starting role in the NFL.

RB Shonn Greene, Iowa (5-11, 227): I know Greene isn't a burner, but I love his vision, power and body control at the line of scrimmage. He does a great job picking up yards after contact and is like trying to tackle a refrigerator in the open field.

FB Marcus Mailei, Weber State (6-0, 248): A nasty in-line blocker who has the size, power and aggressive nature to make an impact as a lead blocker in the rushing game.

WR Mike Wallace, Mississippi (6-1, 199): If I had to settle on a vertical threat in this year's draft, it would easily be Wallace. He caught fire toward the end of the year and has the ability to consistently make plays down the field. He's still developing as a route runner, but he was more productive and is more polished than the draft's "top" vertical threat, Darrius Heyward-Bey.

TE John Phillips, Virginia (6-6, 251): Phillips isn't going to wow you with any area of his game, but as a midround pick he will definitely help out in both the rushing and passing games. He's the type of prospect who will contribute from the start and play 10 years in the NFL.

OT Xavier Fulton, Illinois (6-4, 302): Fulton has only played on the offensive line for two years and still needs to work on his technique and upper body strength. But he's a gifted natural athlete whom we can see excelling in a zone-blocking scheme, either at the tackle or guard spot.

OG T.J. Lang, Eastern Michigan (6-4, 316): Lang caught our eye at the Texas vs. the Nation Bowl, and we've been moving him up the draft board ever since. The former left tackle possesses rare feet for the guard position but also displays the base strength to hold up against the bull rush inside.

C Alex Fletcher, Stanford (6-2, 297): Fletcher is not only a smart and instinctive lineman, but also has the versatility to be a center or guard at the next level. Someone with his work ethic, drive and determination will find a way to make it in the NFL.

DE Everette Pedescleaux, Northern Iowa (6-6, 305): I don't know what the love affair is with all these undersized defensive ends, but we like our defensive ends big. Pedescleaux is an angular, small-school guy with the ability to play DE in a 3-4 or kick inside as the three-technique in a 4-3. He has some developing to do, but the athletic and physical skill sets are there.

DT Mitch King, Iowa (6-2, 280): Sure, King is undersized, has short arms and lacks growth potential, but he consistently finds ways to make plays on game day. He possesses great instincts and technique and knows how to beat blocks inside. King is a bit scheme-limited, but he can really do some damage when asked to shoot gaps and penetrate.

LB Kaluka Maiava, Southern California (6-0, 299): Maiava, the unsung linebacker on the USC roster, played behind three potential first-round picks in 2008, but he's a very good prospect in his own right. He is tough as nails and plays with reckless abandon at the line of scrimmage. We not only expect him to develop into a starter at the next level, but also think he has a chance to have a more successful career than one of his more heralded linebacker teammates.

CB Coye Francies, San Jose State (6-1, 185): There wasn't a cornerback at the 2009 Senior Bowl who displayed Francies' ability to consistently close on the ball in man coverage. He's a bit raw with his footwork and didn't time as well as he wanted at the NFL combine (4.63). However, he has the length, flexibility and burst to get out of his breaks and consistently jump routes.

S Sherrod Martin, Troy (6-1, 198): Martin is one of the most fluid defensive backs in this year's draft class and has the ability to play both free safety and cornerback. We love his toughness and versatility and think he has the makings of a ball-hawking NFL safety.

All-Bust Team

QB Josh Freeman, Kansas State (6-6, 248): We love his arm, but he's a raw passer who lacks ideal accuracy and timing on all areas of the field. Plus, he completed only 58.6 percent of his passes in the Big 12 this past year, which doesn't bode well for his completion percentage at the next level.

RB LeSean McCoy, Pittsburgh (5-11, 204): We worry about his instincts, vision and toughness between the tackles; he doesn't seem to like contact and is consistently content to run out of bounds. Not our kind of back.

FB Marquez Branson, Central Arkansas (6-2, 260): Branson's a former small-school tight end who displays good coordination in the passing game, but we don't think he has the toughness to make it as a starting fullback in the NFL.

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland (6-2, 210): Sure, his physical attributes are impressive, but Heyward-Bey struggles while running routes and was never really productive at the collegiate level. We see a lot of Troy Williamson and Ashley Lelie in him.

TE Jared Cook, South Carolina (6-5, 246): Cook is an intriguing pass-catcher who possesses rare straight-line speed and explosion for the position. But we worry about his instincts in the passing game and think he could struggle reading defenses and getting open consistently in the NFL.

OT Troy Kropog, Tulane (6-6, 309): Kropog's struggles at this year's Senior Bowl only foreshadow potential struggles in the pros. He's a decent athlete but was consistently exposed when asked to make any kind of jump in competition this past year.

OG Kraig Urbik, Wisconsin (6-5, 328): Urbik is a big, long-armed kid with good power in his upper body, but he struggles moving his feet when he engages in contact. He had the upper body strength to hold off defensive tackles in the college game, but we don't think that will be the case in the pros.

C Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas (6-4, 301): This was a tough one because we think Luigs has the ability to be a solid player in a zone-blocking scheme. However, if he's asked to consistently handle big defensive tackles one on one inside, we think he'll struggle at the next level.

DE Brian Orakpo, Texas (6-3, 263): When was the last time a Texas product was taken in the top 10 and actually lived up to expectations? Orakpo isn't as fluid or physical as his numbers indicate, and we don't think he has the first step to consistently reach the corner in the pro game.

DT Ricky Jean-Francois, LSU (6-3, 295): We're not fans of defensive linemen who take plays off and disappear from games during critical stretches, which is what Jean-Francois did last season. He possesses big-time talent, which he displayed in the 2008 national championship, but we want our defensive linemen playing with a consistent motor – and Jean-Francois didn't.

LB Cody Brown, Connecticut (6-2, 244): Brown was very productive this past year, but we don't think he has the burst or strength to consistently fire off the snap and shed blocks. He isn't a natural bender, and we see him struggling at both DE and OLB in the NFL.

CB Vontae Davis, Illinois (5-11, 203): The skill set is there, although we worry about Davis' willingness to do the work once he finds out everyone is just as talented as he is at the next level. He's raw and lacks ideal footwork when asked to turn and run. Much like his older brother, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, Vontae may fail to live up to the hype.

SS Michael Hamlin, Clemson (6-2, 214): If there's one thing we dislike, it's leggy safeties who struggle transitioning out of their breaks. Hamlin has good size but isn't much of a hitter, doesn't run well and struggles changing directions in space. All that adds up to a prospect we wouldn't touch come draft day.

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