April 26, 2011

How the Class of 2006 should have been ranked

The NFL Draft is two days away and as is usually the case, the state of Texas will have fingerprints all over the proceedings, with a number of first, second and third round picks (among others) coming not only from the Lone Star State, but from the Class of 2006.

Overall, the class was much stronger across the board than the 2007 Class, which we profiled a few days ago, but the bust rate was still high at the top of the board, although there were a number of big-time stars that emerged over time.

Here's a look at how the Class of 2006 probably should have been rated with a little history to lean on.


1. Matt Stafford

QB - Highland Park - Signed with Georgia
LSR ranking: No.3 in Texas (6.1 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.2 in Texas (6.1 ranking)
Matt Stafford's High School Video

What happened?: Stafford might not have been a superstar at the collegiate level, but he emerged as the first No.1 overall pick in the NFL Draft and when he's been healthy he's shown flashes of being an NFL star.

Final thought: He was an obvious five-star prospect and lived up to his extremely high expectations as a talent.

2. Michael Crabtree

WR - Dallas Carter - Signed with Texas Tech
LSR ranking: No.38 in Texas (5.8 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.22 in Texas (5.8 ranking)
Michael Crabtree's High School Video

What happened?: After redshirting in 2006 because of academics, Crabtree emerged as one of the most dominant wide receivers in college football history and eventual first round pick in the NFL.

Final thought: Crabtree was an obvious top 25 talent, but I had serious questions about his ability to make the transition to college because of his academics, but he proved that sometimes a guy can be too talented to keep down. We all underrated him.

3. Trent Williams

OL - Longview - Signed with Oklahoma
LSR ranking: NR in Texas (5.6 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.63 in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Trent Williams' High School Video

What happened?: Williams emerged as the best offensive lineman in this class, as he was a multi-year starter for a dominant Oklahoma line and he eventually became a top five pick in the NFL Draft.

Final thought: I blame this one on Terrance Young, a huge Longview lineman that signed with Texas in 2001 and was a big ol' bust. I thought Williams was a carbon copy of Young and I thought he was a three-star guy. I was way wrong. A complete dummy if you will.

4. Jerry Hughes

DE - Sugar Land Austin - Signed with TCU
LSR ranking: NR in Texas (5.6 ranking)
Rivals ranking: NR in Texas (5.3 ranking)

What happened?: Hughes went from a high school running back to big-time pass rusher under the tutelage of Gary Patterson, twice earning All-America honors before landing in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Final thought: Don't ask me how everyone went to sleep on this kid. I knew who he was, he was on the radar, but nobody thought much of him for some reason. The kid had offers from TCU, Iowa State and North Texas. Wow.

5. Sergio Kindle

LB - Dallas Woodrow Wilson - Signed with Texas
LSR ranking: No.2 in Texas (6.1 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.1 in Texas (6.1 ranking)
Sergio Kindle's High School Video

What happened?: Kindle was a two-time all-Big 12 player, who emerged as an All-American and an impact player on two national championship contending teams. He was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft because of injury questions and he has not played in an game because of an off-field accident.

Final thought: In a lot of ways Kindle has left a lot on the table, but he was still one of the more dynamic players in the class.

6. Sean Weatherspoon

LB - Jasper - Signed with Missouri
LSR ranking: NR in Texas (5.6 ranking)
Rivals ranking: NR in Texas (5.2 ranking)

What happened?: Weatherspoon was one of the Big 12's best linebackers throughout the duration of his entire career and emerged as a first round draft pick in the NFL.

Final thought: This one really makes me mad because a former employee of mine was high on Weatherspoon after seeing him as a senior and I should have had him somewhere on the list. Totally a blown call on my part and it kept me from looking smart five years later. Only TCU and Houston offered among in-state schools.

7. Andy Dalton

QB - Katy - Signed with TCU
LSR ranking: NR in Texas (5.6 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.98 in Texas (5.6 ranking)
Andy Dalton's High School Video

What happened?: Over the course of four seasons, Dalton went from pretty good to outstanding, emerging as one of the best quarterbacks in the country as a senior in 2010. He's expected to be drafted in the first two rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft.

Final thought: It's bad enough that I omitted him from the final top 100 after having him previously on the list, but the national guys snuck him in the final few slots of their top 100. Khan!!!!!

8. Jeremy Beal

DE - Carrollton Creekview - Signed with Oklahoma
LSR ranking: No.22 in Texas (5.9 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.26 in Texas (5.8 ranking)
Jeremy Beal's High School Video

What happened?: Beal emerged as an impact player with the Sooners, twice earning All-Big 12 honors and as a senior he earned All-America honors. Beal is expected to be taken in this week's NFL Draft.

Final thought: Beal was a late-bloomer that really took off during an incredible senior season for Creekview. It's not a surprise to anyone that watched him in the fall of 2005 that he became one of the better players in this class.

9. J'Marcus Webb

OL - North Mesquite - Signed with Texas
LSR ranking: No.10 in Texas (6.0 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.9 in Texas (6.0 ranking)
J'Marcus Webb's High School Video

What happened?: It's rare that a guy can be both a bust and a star in a recruiting class, but that's exactly what happened with Webb, who flunked out of Texas, ended up at Texas A&M and is now one of the best young tackles in the NFL after starting 16 games as a rookie for the Bears.

Final thought: If we're re-ranking talent, then a guy that just started in the NFC Championship game as a rookie and might be a starting left tackle in 2011 has to be in the equation. If he had stayed at Texas, he's likely in the top five.

10. Perrish Cox

CB - Waco University - Signed with Oklahoma State
LSR ranking: No.13 in Texas (5.9 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.15 in Texas (5.9 ranking)
Perrish Cox's High School Video

What happened?: Cox was an All-American as a sophomore and was one of the nation's top defensive backs during his time in Stillwater before declaring for the NFL after his junior season. He was drafted in the 5th round and has proven that he can play in the league when he stays out of trouble.

Final thought: Cox lived up to his pedigree and probably would have been higher if he could stay focused and dedicated to his craft. Still, he was a hit.

11. Christian Ponder

QB - Colleyville Heritage - Signed with Florida State
LSR ranking: No.67 in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.50 in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Christian Ponder's High School Video

What happened?: Ponder was always one of the nation's more talked about quarterbacks, but he never developed into an elite player. That being said, Ponder is likely going to be drafted in the first three rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft at the most important position in the sport.

Final thought: Ponder has always been a little bit of a poor man's Rhett Bomar for me and there's always a little fool's gold mixed into his play, but his talent level will take him to the NFL. I never thought he'd survive as the guy at Florida State and he proved me wrong.

12. Denario Alexander

WR - Marlin - Signed with Missouri
LSR ranking: NR in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Rivals ranking: NR in Texas (5.0 ranking)

What happened?: Alexander was a late-bloomer in recruiting and he turned into a late bloomer as a college player, but 1,781 yards and 14 touchdowns make for a hell of a senior year. Although he went drafted last year, he stuck with the St. Louis Rams and carved a niche for himself as a player for the future for them.

Final thought:Alexander wasn't a complete unknown at Marlin and he received plenty of LSR Top 100 consideration, but I didn't pull the trigger on this particular sleeper. Therefore, he made us all look bad.

13. Chykie Brown

CB - Houston North Shore - Signed with Texas
LSR ranking: No.4 in Texas (6.1 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.6 in Texas (6.0 ranking)
Chykie Brown's High School Video

What happened?: Brown was a three-year starter for the Longhorns at cornerback and was a key player in the secondary on two teams that competed for national championships. Although he was never a great college player, he projects as a pro player and is expected to be taken in this week's draft.

Final thought: I've always wondered if Brown's profile might have looked like if he wasn't sharing a position with two possible top 45 players in the upcoming draft, but we're going to find out. Something tells me that he might be a better pro player than he was a college player.


14. Michael Goodson

RB - Klein Collins - Signed with Texas A&M
LSR ranking: No.7 in Texas (6.0 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.4 in Texas (6.0 ranking)

What happened?: Goodson had moments in College Station where he flashed star potential, but things never really worked out with him there and he left after his junior season. After landing in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, he's developed in a quality NFL running back in Carolina.

Final thought:There were three top prospects at the running back position in 2006 (Vondrell McGee and Emmanuel Moody were the others) and only one is a pro running back. I guess that settles that.


15. Jason Fox

OL - North Crowley - Signed with Miami
LSR ranking: No. 31 in Texas (5.8 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.19 in Texas (5.8 ranking)

What happened?: Fox never developed into an elite player at Miami, but he was a four-year starter and eventually he developed into a fourth round pick in the NFL.

Final thought:Fox appeared to be one of the safer prospects in the 2006 class and that's exactly the way it played out as he was a pretty good player the moment he arrived on campus, but he never had the talent to take it to the next level. In my mind, he hit his projection, but didn't quite surpass it.

16. Brandon Williams

DE - Fort Worth South Hills - Signed with Texas Tech
LSR ranking: NR in Texas
Rivals ranking: NR in Texas (5.4 ranking)
Brandon Williams' High School Video

What happened?: Williams quickly emerged as an impact player for Texas tech, twice earning All-Big 12 honors before declaring for the NFL Draft after his junior season. He was then selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, but he's yet to make any contributions for the Cowboys in two seasons because of injuries.

Final thought: Williams was another guy that was way under the radar and shouldn't have been because he had some decent offers. Blame this on the fact he came from a school that never produces players, or hadn't until Williams busted onto the scene.

17. Todd Reesing

QB - Lake Travis - Signed with Kansas
LSR ranking: No.68 in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Rivals ranking: NR in Texas (5.5 ranking)
Todd Reesing's High School Video

What happened?: Reesing is undersized and was never going to be a pro prospect, but he was one of the Big 12's best quarterbacks for several seasons and led the Jayhawks to a BCS win in 2007.

Final thought: Reesing has always been tiny, but he's always been really good and I felt like he had a chance to be the exception to the rule at KU and I was right this time.

18. Case Keenum

QB - Abilene Wylie - Signed with Houston
LSR ranking: NR in Texas
Rivals ranking: NR in Texas (5.0 ranking)

What happened?: Keenum has battled injuries the last couple of seasons, but when he's been healthy, he's been the best quarterbacks in Conference USA and in college football.

Final thought: As he returns for a sixth season this year, it'll be interesting to see if he can develop into a pro prospect.

19. Wayne Daniels

DE - Kilgore - Signed with TCU
LSR ranking: No.59 in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.49 in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Wayne Daniels' High School Video

What happened?: Daniels was a two-time All-MWC player for the Horned Frogs and developed into an All-American as a senior. He is expected to be selected in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Final thought: Daniels was ranked behind teammate Eddie Jones in the national and state rankings, but he turned out to be the best player off of a very talented Kilgore team. My gut tells me that he sticks in the NFL for a while.

20. Keith Toston

RB - Angleton - Signed with Oklahoma State
LSR ranking: No.52 in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.76 in Texas (5.6 ranking)
Keith Toston's High School Video

What happened?: Toston shared carries with Oklahoma State for much of his career, but when he was given the ball exclusively as a senior, he earned first-team All-Big 12 honors. Although he went undrafted in 2010, Toston made the Rams as an undrafted free agent and appears to have a promising NFL future.

Final thought: Toston was always a guy that I liked, but he ended up being even better than I thought he'd become.

21. Greg McElroy

QB - South Lake Carroll - Signed with Alabama
LSR ranking: No.45 in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.43 in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Greg McElroy's High School Video

What happened?: McElroy might not have out up incredible numbers at Alabama, but there were better game managers in college football than this two-year starter, who just happened to quarterback the Crimson Tide to a national title.

Final thought: There's no pro upside with McElroy, but he had to be on the list somewhere, just like Reesing.

22. Jordan Pugh

CB - Plano West - Signed with Texas A&M
LSR ranking: No.17 in Texas (5.9 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.27 in Texas (5.8 ranking)
Jordan Pugh's High School Video

What happened?: Pugh was a three-year starter for the Aggies, but didn't really develop into a plus-player until his senior season when he became an honorable mention All-Big 12 player. Pugh was drafted in the sixth round of the NFL Draft in 2010 and saw action as a rookie.

Final thought: Rodgers was completely overlooked as a recruit and had he stayed healthy, a top 10 spot on the list wouldn't be out of the realm of possibilities.

23. Ugo Chinasa

DE - Richardson Berkner - Signed with Oklahoma State
LSR ranking: No.19 in Texas (5.9 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.28 in Texas (5.8 ranking)
Ugo Chinasa''s High School Video

What happened?: A three-year starter for the Cowboys, Chinasa emerged as an All-Big 12 player as a senior and is expected to be drafted this week in the late rounds.

Final thought: Chinasa projected as a quality 2-3 year starter and he hit his mark. He's another guy that reached expectations, but didn't quite surpass them.

24. Danny McCray

DB - Spring Westfield - Signed with LSU
LSR ranking: No.58 in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.53 in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Danny McCray's High School Video

What happened?: McCray was a solid player for the Tigers and essentially served as their nickel back for three seasons, but he was never truly outstanding in college. Yet he still had enough speed/talent to make the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2010.

Final thought: McCray had a better college career than he'll ever be given credited for and emerged as one of the best defensive backs in the entire class.

25. Baron Batch

RB - Midland - Signed with Texas Tech
LSR ranking: No.74 in Texas (5.6 ranking)
Rivals ranking: No.47 in Texas (5.7 ranking)
Baron Batch's High School Video

What happened?: Batch was a four-year starter for the Red Raiders and one of the more versatile backs in the Big 12 during his time in Lubbock. He's expected to be selected in one of the later rounds in this week's draft.

Final thought: batch is a heck of an athletic talent and he's another player that could end up being a better pro player than he was in college.

The next 10…

1. Jevan Snead (QB) - Stephenville - Signed with Texas (LSR Rank: 8/Rivals rank: 8)
2. Adrian Taylor (DT) - Mansfield - Signed with Oklahoma (LSR Rank: 98/Rivals rank: 87)
3. Marlon Williams (LB) Pflugerville - Signed with Texas Tech (LSR Rank: 97/ Rivals rank: NR)
4. Taylor Potts (QB) - Abilene - Signed with Texas Tech (LSR Rank: 49/ Rivals rank: 45)
5. Jerrod Johnson (QB) - Humble - Signed with Texas A&M (LSR Rank: 50/Rivals rank: 40)
6. Hunter Lawrence (K) - Boerne - Signed with Texas (LSR Rank: 71/ Rivals rank: NR)
7. Dimitri Nance (RB) - Euless Trinity - Signed with Arizona State (LSR Rank: NR/ Rivals rank: 88)
8. Jay Finley (RB) - Corsicana - Signed with Baylor (LSR Rank: NR/ Rivals rank: NR)
9. Chris Stewart (OL) - Klein - Signed with Notre Dame (LSR Rank: 48/ Rivals rank: 31)
10. Orie Lemon (LB) - Houston Yates - Signed with Oklahoma State (LSR Rank: 42/ Rivals rank: 56)

Biggest Busts…

1. Eddie Jones (DE) - Kilgore - Signed with Texas (LSR Rank: 2/Rivals rank: 3)
2. Vondrell McGee (RB) - Longview - Signed with Texas (LSR Rank: 6/Rivals rank: 7)
3. Jevan Snead (QB) - Stephenville - Signed with Texas (LSR Rank: 8/Rivals rank: 8)
4. Jared Norton (LB) - Rowlett - Signed with Texas (LSR Rank: 9/Rivals rank: 14)
5. Emmanuel Moody (RB) - Coppell - Signed with USC (LSR Rank: 11/Rivals rank: 11)
6. Michael Morgan (LB) - Dallas Skyline - Signed with USC (LSR Rank: 12/Rivals rank: 10)
7. Mon Williams (RB) - Mesquite Horn - Signed with Florida (LSR Rank: 13/Rivals rank: 16)
8. Adron Tennell (WR) - Irving - Signed with Oklahoma (LSR Rank: 16/Rivals rank: 5)
9. Phillip Payne (Ath) - South Garland - Signed with Texas (LSR Rank: 18/Rivals rank: 19)
10. Anthony Lewis (LB) - Haltom - (LSR Rank: 19/Rivals rank: 13)



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