2009 NFL Draft Prospects

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by - 2/15/2009 8:46 PM Share

by Robert Ferringo

Look, there is no doubt in my mind that we ascribe a little too much importance to the NFL draft and NFL Draft prospects. Considering the washout rate and the fact that you generally have to wait several years for a return on your investment, it's a little premature to get all giddy about that tackle from Southern Mississippi that Your Team picked up in the third round.

But then I look at people like Matt Ryan, Adrian Peterson and Vince Young and it makes me rethink my position about the role of the NFL Draft and scouting NFL Draft prospects in a bettor's life.

Incidentally, those are the past three NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award winners. And not coincidentally, all three of those homeboys were intimately responsible for their respective teams having winning seasons at the window in their inaugural pro seasons. Atlanta in 2008 (9-7 against the spread), Minnesota in 2007 (8-7-1 ATS), and Tennessee in 2006 (11-5 ATS) all turned a profit in the seasons that their rookies broke onto the scene. If you throw in Cadillac Williams' 2006 Tampa Bay club (8-8 ATS) and Ben Roethlisberger's 2005 Pittsburgh crew (10-5-1 ATS) and you have a steady 46-32-2 record against the spread on the team with the league's best offensive rookie.

With that in mind, here are the five 2009 NFL Draft Prospects on the offensive side of the ball that I think stand the best chance to have an immediate impact on the gridiron and at the window:

Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

I sincerely doubt that Stafford is going to step in and have the type of franchise-altering impact that Ryan had in his first year. The main reason is that Stafford is currently the front-runner for a spot on the Detroit Lions, and we all know that they aren't going to pull a worst-to-first turnaround like the one that Atlanta and Miami maneuvered this season. Stafford has all of the physical tools, but where he comes up short compared to Ryan is in terms of moxie. Stafford still has some growing to do. And trying to do so under the cloud of disease, famine, and floundering that hangs over the Detroit franchise could take even longer.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia

The best comparison that I can make between Moreno and a current NFL starter is to say that he reminds me a ton of Marshawn Lynch, for Buffalo. Moreno is just a half-inch shorter and seven pounds lighter than Lynch, but they both have the same running style and skills. I expect Moreno to step in and make an immediate impact for someone and to be a very exciting player. Especially if he were to end up on a team like Cleveland that has such a powerful offensive line. However, there has been a shift away from running backs as the ROY winners. Only two have brought home the award in the last six years. That is after a stretch were RB's took the hardware in 15 of 17 seasons between 1986 and 2002.

Mark Sanchez, QB, USC

I'm still not completely sold on Sanchez. But because he could linger into the middle of the first round he stands a chance of sliding onto a team that could win right away. For instance, there is a lot of talk of the New York Jets making a move for him. And if that's the case then Sanchez has an opportunity, if he plays well, to be the triggerman for a veteran team that nearly made the postseason this year. Of course, being a rookie starter in the Big Apple would boost his Q-Rating and help him get that ROY exposure. But again, that's if he plays well. And with just one year as a college starter under his belt and a history of injuries I can say that I have my doubts.

Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

The word around the campfire is that Crabtree is the most dynamic offensive player on the draft board. And who am I to argue after watching the ridiculous displays he put on in college? However, only two wideouts in the last 11 years have won ROY honors and only three in the last 17 seasons. Those three were Anquan Boldin (2003), Randy Moss (1998) and Carl Pickens (1991). Odds are Crabtree is going to go in the top five or six picks. And teams that select that high usually aren't doing so because they have a stellar quarterback. He has the buzz, but I'm not sure if he'll have the numbers.

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LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh

I could have gone with any number of Big Ten running backs here - Chris Wells, Shonn Greene and Javon Ringer all come to mind - but instead I'm going to give the nod to my boy from the Big East. As I mentioned, 15 of 17 years from 1986 to 2002 a rusher was the league's top rookie. And I really think that we're due for another this season. McCoy has speed and power and is ranked between the No. 2 back and the No. 6. Regardless, if he could make it through a few seasons with Dave Wannstedt without getting screwed up he's already proven himself in my book.

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