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Old 08-28-2003, 10:34 AM   #1
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Default ESPN Preseason Top 100 players


good to see 7 Hurricanes on the list

Wednesday, August 20

Winslow tops the preseason Top 100

By Bruce Feldman
ESPN The Magazine

The Top 100 doesn't reflect how guys figure to get drafted. It is directly off their impact on the field this season and does not include any injured players. It also would have included Maurice Clarett -- somewhere in the top 15 -- but since he's still in limbo we'll wait to add him at midseason.

1. Kellen Winslow II, Miami, TE: One hundred catches might not be possible, but nobody creates more mismatches or makes more spectacular catches.

2. Reggie Williams, Washington, WR: Faster than Mike. More physical than Roy, this is the most complete Williams. Also has the best QB throwing to him.

3. Rod Davis, Southern Miss, LB: He may not run 4.38, but he plays fast. College football's Ray Lewis, he could get 200 tackles and 25 TFLs.

4. Rashaun Woods, Oklahoma St., WR: Twelve catches for 226 yards and 3 TDs against an OU secondary that probably has three first-rounders. May not be track fast, but scouts love his great burst coming out of his breaks.

5. David Pollack, Georgia, DE: Not very tall (barely 6-feet), he's got Urlacher-like explosive. Great motor guy. He'll miss Jonathan Sullivan, but will still find a way.

6. Larry Fitzgerald, Pitt, WR: Best ball skills of any receiver in the nation. Almost a sure thing on the fade, he's the Panthers most unstoppable offensive weapon since Tony Dorsett.

7. Teddy Lehman, Oklahoma, LB: Runs 4.38. Plays like it too. Has tremendous closing speed.

8. Sean Taylor, Miami, S: Track fast (legit sub-4.4 speed) and now as big as some DEs at 233. Taylor could be a top-five pick whenever he comes out.

9. Roy Williams, Texas, WR: The fastest of the Williams boys. Had 4 for 142 against good LSU defense in the Cotton Bowl and is finally 100 percent we're told.

10. Shawn Andrews, Arkansas, OT: Roadgrader with surprisingly quick feet, he paved the way for the SEC's top ground attack in '02.

11. Madieu Williams, Maryland, DB: Mr. Smooth. Has great range, instincts and the feet to even play corner.

12. Mike Williams, USC, WR: A mauler (81 rec., 1,265 yards and 14 TDs), he's now 15 pounds bigger (up to 228) and a more polished route runner.

13. Marlin Jackson, Michigan, DB: The Big Ten's best. He's super competitive and very physical. WRs call him the toughest cover guy in the conference.

14. Derrick Johnson, Texas, LB: Led UT with 119 tackles and nine stops and three tackles behind the line against LSU.

15. Chris Gamble, Ohio State, CB/WR: Playmaker. Made game-saving picks all season. Then, with some help, did solid job on Andre Johnson in the Fiesta Bowl, but realized he needed to get stronger -- and thanks to 15 pounds of muscle -- he did.

16. Darnell Docket, FSU, DT: Even though he was never 100 percent last season, he still had 17 TFLs.

17. Robert Gallery, Iowa, OT: Big, smart (3.2 GPA), nimble and has long arms. The 6-7, 320-pounder might've been the best of the great Hawkeye O-line last season.

18. Philip Rivers, NC State, QB: Quirky mechanics aside, he is the sharpest QB around. Blistered a good ND defense going 23 of 37 for 228 yards and 2 TDs in Gator Bowl.

19. Darren Sproles, Kansas State, RB: "Tank" added 15 pounds (up to 187) to add some power to his dazzling video game-like quickness.

20. Brad Smith, Missouri, QB: Should again rush for over 1,000 yards and might pass for 3,000 this time around.

21. Greg Jones, FSU, RB: Nine games, 938 yards before tearing his ACL, a healthy Jones evokes visions of Eddie George at his best.

22. Booger Kennedy, North Texas, NG: The 5-9, 315-pounder former standout point guard is virtually unblockable. Despite doubles and triples, he still had 25 TFLs.

23. Ben Roethlisberger, Miami (Ohio), QB: The prototype can make all the throws, even run a little option and now has a deep threat in Martin Nance.

24. Tommie Harris, Oklahoma, DT: A groin injury kept him to about 70 percent, but he was still a guy teams had to double all year.

25. Cedric Benson, Texas, TB: Only had 1,300 yards despite battling through injuries.

26. Kevin Jones, Virginia Tech, TB: Great talent has worked overtime to curtail the fumbling and develop as a receiver.

27. Cody Pickett, Washington, QB: Tough kid, threw for almost 4,500 yards and should continue to evolve into a future first-rounder thanks to the big arm and good feet.

28. Vince Wilfork, Miami, DT: After a nightmarish year losing both his parents, "Big Daddy" is ready to become the next great Cane DT.

29. Brandon Everage, Oklahoma, S: A gambler who is great in run support and pretty good against the pass (6 INTs), although struggled a bit against Oklahoma State.

30. Ell Roberson, K-State, QB: Best running QB around, but needs to complete more than 52 percent.

31. Lance Mitchell, Oklahoma, MLB: Few JCs make a smoother transition than he did. Learned on the fly and led OU with 124 tackles.

32. Stu Schweigert, Purdue, S: Has 13 career INTs and almost 300 tackles.

33. Richard Seigler, Oregon State, LB: Smart, swift and aggressive, he's better than any of the other LBs the Beavers have sent to the NFL recently.

34. Eli Manning, Ole Miss, QB: TD-INT (21-15) ratio wasn't great, but expect that to change dramatically in '03.

35. Steven Jackson, Oregon State, RB: Has all the tools to be a top 15 pick. Coming off a bad bowl game (34 yards), he should be good for close to 2,000 yards rushing and receiving.

36. Derrick Strait, Oklahoma, CB: A pure cover corner with better instincts than any other CB in the country.

37. Jon Vilma, Miami, LB: Smart and agile, he helped UM bottle up Clarett.

38. Rodney Leisle, UCLA, DT: A powerhouse in the interior. He's the guy most Pac-10 O-linemen said was the best they've faced.

39. Rashad Baker, Tennessee, S: Tremendous open-field tackler, he was the best Vol in '02.

40. Frank Gore, Miami, TB: Doesn't have as much pure speed as McGahee but has a better burst and great vision.

41. DeAngelo Hall, Virginia Tech, CB/WR: A shutdown corner and a pure playmaker. He also figures to be a factor as a wideout too. Stamina's the only question.

42. Michael Turner, Northern Illinois, RB: Turner the Burner rolled for 1,915 rushing yards, including 632 in NIU's final three games.

43. Darryl Blackstock, Virginia, OLB: Superb pass rusher. Could get 20 sacks this fall.

44. Anthony Davis, Wisconsin, RB: The little speedster has rushed for more yards than any other runner in the nation during the last two seasons (3,021).

45. Karlos Dansby, Auburn, LB: The big-play man of a superb linebacking crew, Dansby had 11 TFLs, 3 INTs and forced two fumbles.

46. Claude Harriott, Pitt, DE: Rapidly developing big-play force for the Panthers. Had 20 TFLs and 9.5 sacks.

47. Shaun Cody, USC, DL: Appears 100 percent after injury. The book on him: Great motor, very quick, always slanting to make plays. Part of the best front four in the country.

48. Courtney Watson, Notre Dame. ILB: More quick than fast, he is very well schooled and plays the pass (4 INTs) as well as any inside guy in the nation.

49. Andrew Walter, Arizona State, QB: Throws the prettiest deep ball around; says he'll focus on taking the easy stuff this year too.

50. Mewelde Moore, Tulane, RB: Ideal West Coast back. Already has over 5,000 total yards.

51. Matt Ware, UCLA, DB: Bulked up to 225, he might be the only guy in the country who could play WR, QB, RB, OLB and any secondary spot and be good at all of 'em.

52. Lee Evans, Wisconsin, WR: Can he get back after knee injury to the form that set a Big Ten record with 1,545 yards in 2001?

53. Justin Miller, Clemson, CB: Slick coverman (7 picks) was best freshman DB in the country.

54. Dontarrious Thomas, Auburn, LB: A downhill guy, he is seldom out of position.

55. Michael Clayton, LSU, WR/DB: Might be the best athlete in the SEC. If the Tigers get decent QB play, he should be a 1,000-yard receiver.

56. Michael Boulware, FSU, LB: Always has been a good coverage linebacker. Should be better against the run with his added bulk.

57. Nathan Vasher, Texas, CB/PR: Despite injuries, still broke up 15 passes, picked off four and was one of the nation's most dangerous punt returner (14.2 ypr).

58. Cadillac Williams, Auburn, RB: Now healthy after a fractured leg, the only thing that should keep his numbers down is the Tigers' ridiculous tailback depth.

59. Braylon Edwards, Michigan, WR: Terrific size and speed, just needs more consistency to rank up there with the Williams boys.

60. Matt Schaub, Virginia, QB: Developed as a top pocket passer (28 TDs, 7 INTs), he may not have a powerful arm, but he's very accurate with good touch and has decent mobility.

61. Randy Starks, Maryland DT: A powerhouse with great explosiveness (17 hurries), he is a future first-rounder, and, at 19, is younger than many freshmen.

62. D.J. Williams, Miami, LB: Incredibly strong, he's tough against the run and great against the pass. The prototype NFL linebacker just needs to stay off the ground a little better.

63. Matt Grootegoed, USC, LB: Great instincts, he also will run wild playing behind that awesome D-line.

64. Fred Gibson, Georgia, WR: Spectacular athlete who answered some questions about his dedication by training alongside NFL guys this summer, packing on 12 more pounds.

65. John Leake, Clemson, LB: Much bigger (up from 220 to 240), still 4.41-fast and now also more sound as a tackler.

66. J.P. Losman, Tulane, QB: Strong arm, 4.65 speed could translate into being a top-10 pick. Also glad to get his go-to WR (Roydell Williams) back.

67. Rodrique Wright, Texas, DT: The Big 12's top rookie had 13 TFLs and 10 QB hurries. A future top-10 pick.

68. Will Smith, Ohio State, DE: The flashy half of a great DE combo (with Darrion Scott), Smith had 12.5 TFLs.

69. Richie Incognito, Nebraska, OT: Tough, ornery and blessed with quick feet, he's probably play 10 years in the NFL as a center, but right now NU needs him more at tackle. He could be NU's next Outland winner.

70. Jared Lorenzen, Kentucky, QB: This J-Lo has a powerful arm and startling mobility and his 24-5 TD-INT ratio speaks for itself. Pound-for-pound rating, um, not as good.

71. Antrel Rolle, Miami, CB: Rangy, fast and polished, he'll be another Cane first-rounder when he comes out.

72. Louis Gachelin, Syracuse, DT: The strongest man in college football (600 pound bench) muscled his way to 17 TFLs in 2002.

73. Vontez Duff, Notre Dame, CB: Sticky little coverman also excels as a return artist too.

74. Michael Jenkins, Ohio State, WR: Smooth 6-5 target with the toughness to work the middle. He's the kind of talent who probably will be even more productive in the pros.

75. Guss Scott, Florida, SS: A great hitter (102 tackles) who is underrated against the pass.

76. T.A. McLendon, NC State, RB: Great nose for the goalline, he may be the best short-yardage back in the country. Also has soft hands.

77. Jason Babin, Western Michigan, DE: Bones (he occasionally eats chicken bones before games) had more sacks (15) than three MAC teams.

78. Jammal Brimmer, UNLV, S: Great vision makes up for so-so 4.6-speed. John Robinson says he could be another Sammy Knight.

79. Kevin Mitchell, Oregon, LB: Undersized guy who compensates with great instincts and heart.

80. John Navarre, Michigan, QB: Big, heady QB with a much stronger arm than he's given credit for. No, he's not mobile, but you have to love his 3-1 TD-INT ratio (21-7).

81. Kirk Morrison, San Diego State, LB: The West's most complete linebacker spent the offseason working to play more downhill.

82. Dexter Reid, North Carolina, S: The nation's top returning tackler (166) almost never gets caught out of position.

83. Ryan Dinwiddie, Boise State, QB: Barely 6-feet, he is very accurate and has put together an amazing 49-13 TD-INT ratio the past two seasons.

84. Quincy Wilson, West Virginia, RB: Says he's ready to make a run at Avon Cobourne's rushing mark (1,700+ yds). We agree.

85. Bo Schobel, TCU, DE: High-energy guy, who made great recovery from knee surgery last year to emerge as the best player (19 TFLs) on the country's top-rated D.

86. Craig Krenzel, Ohio State, QB: Numbers may not dazzle but his GPA and team's record do. He's tough, smart and deceptively fast. And he can make a big throw at crunch time.

87. Dave Ball, UCLA, DE: A natural pass rusher (11 sacks) with good hands and great balance.

88. Derrick Knight, Boston College, RB: Ran for 1,400 yards and was good for almost 40 receptions.

89. Bradlee Van Pelt, Colorado State, QB: The guts of the Rams, he does have an erratic arm (52 percent), but has the speed and grit to always find a way to win.

90. Bob Sanders, Iowa, S: Short, but not small, the 5-8 tackling machine is a little like former Virginia Tech standout Cory Bird.

91. Derek Anderson, Oregon State, QB: Strong arm and very athletic, but isn't the most accurate guy (47 percent).

92. Nathaniel Adibi, Virginia Tech, DE: Great natural pass rusher with top closing speed who has also improved against the run.

93. Igor Olshansky, Oregon, DL: Rival O-line coaches rave about his freakish strength, surprisingly agility and the way he plays to the echo of the whistle.

94. Grant Wiley, West Virginia, LB: Rugged sideline-to-sideline guy is odds-on favorite to lead the Big East in tackles.

95. Justin Smiley, Alabama, OG: Not as big as towering Bama OT Wesley Britt, Smiley is weight-room strong and has the tenacity the NFL scouts like. Only Incognito is nastier.

96. Batman Carroll, Arkansas CB: Cocky, aggressive guy with blazing speed who rival coaches say has made big improvement in his technique in the last year.

97. Taurean Henderson, Texas Tech, RB: Has the skills and system to get 1,000 receiving and 1,000 rushing.

98. Jim Leonhard, Wisconsin, S: The 5-8 former walk-on was a revelation, picking off 11 passes and leading the Big Ten with 25 passes broken up.

99. Chance Harridge, Air Force, QB: Scrappy tough guy who ran for over 1,200 yards and 22 TDs, he should improve his accuracy to near 50 percent this fall.

100. Reggie Bush, USC, TB: The most dynamic runner college football has had since Marshall Faulk
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Old 08-28-2003, 12:40 PM   #2
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I count 8 Miami players in the top 71....whoa is all I can say. At least the Florida Traitor and not Gator, Brock Berlin, was not on this list for Miami. The Gators only had 1 guy on the list, and I can't remember the last time that has happened. They should have 2 or 3 on that list by next year though.

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Old 08-29-2003, 09:33 PM   #3
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Kentucky has one (J-Lo), but where's Derek Abney? He is the best special teams returner in the country and broke several NCAA records last year. He is quick as lightning with the ball.
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Old 08-29-2003, 10:44 PM   #4
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Brad Smith at Missouri is the second QB in the rankings, behind Rivers from NC St. I like that pick there. Would have ranked him higher. He can run much better then Rivers and plays in a real conference.
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