Adams: SEC QBs atop 2009 mock draft

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow runs against Tennessee in the Gators' 59-21 win last fall. Tebow is projected by some analysts to be the top pick in next season's NFL draft.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow runs against Tennessee in the Gators' 59-21 win last fall. Tebow is projected by some analysts to be the top pick in next season's NFL draft.

One of the great things about the Internet is that it can lend support to almost any theory.

Search long enough and you can find someone promoting the Rev. Jeremiah Wright as an American patriot. Search longer and you might find someone promoting Jim Belushi for an Oscar.

Or maybe, you want to promote Al Woods as a top-four NFL draft pick. There's evidence on the Internet.

In case you're wondering, Woods is a rising junior defensive tackle at LSU.

Don't confuse him with LSU's other defensive tackles. Glenn Dorsey was the one taken fifth in the first round of this year's NFL draft. Ricky Jean-Francois was the one who starred in the national championship game against Ohio State. Woods was the one who didn't make a tackle in the championship game.

That didn't faze Todd McShay, who covers the draft for Scouts Inc. and ESPN. He predicts the 6-foot-4, 320-pound Woods will be the fourth player taken in the 2009 NFL draft.

Mock drafts a year in advance might be as unbelievable as Roger Clemens. Nonetheless, they make for good reading, particularly if you're an SEC fan.

While perusing the Internet for 2009 mock drafts, I found 17 SEC players projected as first-round picks. McShay had 13 SEC players going in the first round, including seven in the first 10 picks.

On second thought, maybe it's not good reading for SEC fans. Most of the top picks will be juniors, including three from Florida - Heisman Trophy quarterback Tim Tebow, wide receiver Percy Harvin and middle linebacker Brandon Spikes. Georgia fans also will be less than thrilled with McShay's projections, which have junior quarterback Matthew Stafford and redshirt sophomore running back Knowshon Moreno going high in the first round.

None of these players has intimated he's interested in leaving college before his senior season. But how many could resist if these early, early mock drafts prove prophetic?

One mock draft predicted Tebow would be the first player taken in the 2009 draft. Another projected Stafford as the No. 1 overall pick.

You might have questions about both.

Stafford's production has yet to match his potential, which drew raves from draft analysts before he played a down of college football. But he does have a powerful arm and mobility. Moreover, he hardly has been throwing to top-drawer receivers in his first two seasons at Georgia.

No one can question Tebow's production or potential. However, detractors can point out that coach Urban Meyer's offense won't prepare him for the NFL (See former Meyer quarterback Alex Smith for details).

But look at it this way: What quarterback would you take ahead of them in next year's draft?

"Nobody," according to the mock drafts.

CollegeFootballNews.com ranks Tebow and Stafford one-two as NFL quarterback prospects. Nate Davis of Ball State is third, followed by Purdue's Curtis Painter, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford, and Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour.

College stars like Missouri's Chase Daniel and Kansas' Todd Reesing are way down the list. West Virginia's Pat White didn't make the top 25.

As questionable as such rankings might be, they at least underscore the abundance of talent in the SEC.

Six SEC defensive linemen - Woods and Tyson Jackson of LSU, Sen'Derrick Marks of Auburn, Greg Hardy of Ole Miss, Jeff Owens of Georgia and Antwain Robinson of Arkansas - were projected as first-round picks. So were offensive linemen Andre Smith of Alabama, Herman Johnson of LSU, Ciron Black of LSU and Michael Oher of Ole Miss.

Six players from defending national champion LSU were projected to go in the first round. That includes Woods, who has started only one game and made just 29 career tackles.

Maybe he will get to start a couple of more games before he's the fourth pick of the 2009 draft.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 67

BigVolinCarolina writes:

I sure hope Tennessee can pull a few surprises and have a player (or two) taken in the high first-round.

newtonrail writes:

Now you attack my guy Clemens. You are a muckraker extraordinaire.

andy112382#209793 writes:

Amazing how high and how fast that uga bandwagon shot up the list of media favorites... I don't know about ya'll, but personally I just like the recent trend we have on them, outscoring them by almost 40 points the past two seasons combined. I have a feeling we have some guys that will be up on that 1st round mock draft sooner or later such as Berry, Jones, Foster, etc.....

Hey, wheres that football countdown??? How many days are we at now??? I need football!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Thanks a lot for the picture of Tebow running for the zillionth time from last year.

I had forgotten SOME of that, but now freshly reloaded. Bring on UCLA!

pdhuff#552644 writes:

sjt18- good morning.

Did you catch the "six players from defending champion LSU projected FIRST rounders"?

I think they're loaded. We'll see.

Stafford did QB them to #2.

GreerVol22 writes:

And once again, the future Hall of Fame editor throws a dig at Fulmer for not having any first rounders, glorifies his Tigers, and kisses the rear of Tebow. What more can you ask from your hometown sports editor?

Great job Adams!

99gator writes:

i think workinlikeheck was hosting a gainesville radio show yesterday.....

predicted tenn to lose 5 ballgames. show was hosted by a state television personality....who is not a gator.

could it have been workin?.....predicted fulmer would be fired.

99gator writes:

the draft is all about potential.

physically, matt stafford has everything you would want in an nfl qb. he is even more mobile than most think.

tebow has the same kind of physical potential, but does not throw as pretty a pass.

the nfl gambles that everything else eventually comes around.

rootin4volz writes:

Blah blah blah blah blah...Yawn. You're an idiot, Adams.

HotlantaVol writes:

Pat White is not in the top 25 for quarterbacks, but I bet he is not drafted as a QB.

Also, I agree that Tebow is not in an offense to prepare him for the NFL, but he is a much better athlete than Alex Smith and will adapt quicker. Smith was 100% a product of Meyer's coaching. Without Meyer, Smith doesn't get drafted.

Stafford is the real question. Is he the real deal? Will he be the one to make the plays to win games for UGA, or is he the type to rack up wins by just not making mistakes (see Jake Delhomme in 2003)?

We shall see.

auttat writes:

99gator, if it wasn't workin then he just found a new best friend.

HotlantaVol writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

murrayvol writes:

Doesn't matter what offense Tebow is in now. He has the tools to be successful in the NFL. Didn't think so when he was a freshman. I was wrong.

And Stafford?? Jury's still out.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

99gator,

What kind of ludicrous babel was that guy spewing to convince people that TN would lose 5 games?

Even the pessimistic posters could hardly go that far.

I think maybe 2 or 3. How about you?

99gator writes:

nicksjuzunk

in his opinion (which is why i thought it was workinlikeheck)......

tenn recruiting has fallen off something fierce. they have no defensive front seven, no depth, and no playmakers offensively. really harped on the defensive front seven and lack of playmakers.

the guy believed that tenn will have a hard time offensively with a new staff and no one to get the football to in order to make a play. kept asking someone to name a player who caused any fear or panic with the ball in his hands to an opposing defense.

thinks tenn has no chance with florida, auburn, and georgia......and that tenn will slip up a couple of other times because they are not good enough and were lucky to "sneak" by several games last season.

in short, he basically said.....tenn has a secondary and rocky top and that's about it for the 2008 season.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

Some maniacs should be locked away and kept away from places where children do not have to hear their twisted voices!

Allow me to be super optimism man.

Jonathan Crompton will be excellent but will make some mistakes that first year starters go through.

Arian Foster is lighter and faster this year. He will quietly pass "The Cheese" for TN's all time leading rusher which says a lot. He will run buck wild and now he is being used as a receiving threat out of the backfield. Creer will be ready to contribute also.

If Gerald Jones doesn't strike fear yet... wait.

The receivers are a year older and will surely improve. Some of the young guys no one outside of TN have heard of will make noise.

I'll agree, the D-line is a potential weak spot but the linebackers look ready to reload and the secondary speaks for itself.

Sorry if that's too much optimism for some cats.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

99gator 9:00 am - those sentiments have been echoed in other quarters also.

Maybe Chavis can make something out of the D-line. We can hope. They weren't of OVC quality last year most outings. Some koolaide may be poured out onto the ground before 2008 is over with. Maybe not....

Realism is a cold product.

TommyJack writes:

newtonrail 12:50: You need to find a new "guy". Clemens is nasty. Always has been.

auttat writes:

Bring it, baby!! Love it when UT is the underdog and nobody is giving them a chance. Glad that the game is played on the field and not some loser's sound room.

TommyJack writes:

Doldrumz deluxe. Need more articles. zzzzz

drwfocus writes:

What Greer said at 7:46.

johnlg00 writes:

You're right, pdhuff and 99gator. That prediction could have been written by several of our regular posters. I'm with nicksjuzunk; I prefer to see the glass as half-full--of Big Orange kool-aid--until I see contrary evidence on the field. I can see why some might make such a grim prediction, but there is a reason games are played on the field and not in radio interviews! GO BIG ORANGE!!!

WorkinLikeHeck writes:

Wasn't on Gainesville radio but can you tell me what his name is? He must be part of my fan club that reads my comments on this site. I need to add him to the list.

99gator writes:

the radio host (guest host) was terry norvelle.....who works for sun sports in the state of florida.

he is not prone to making rash comments and is usually not very far off with predictions.

he is someone who travels around the state and the southeast, so unlike some other people, has been to various schools and gotten a peak....

do not know if tenn was one of them.

i have said similar things (in terms of being concerned about tenn's team) but, do not think it is dire to the point that it will lead to five losses.

GerryOP writes:

If we make it through September.....

RemembertheAlamo writes:

tell me again who they played after we beat them, they barely and I do mean barely got by Vandy. Their last 6 regular season opponents had 31 loses...And then there is Hawaii, and who is Hawaii again, what big conference did they play in? Was it the Pac10? Just as I though!

99gator writes:

vols76

i don't understand why you would bash georgia.....

tenn barely and i do mean barely got by vandy. (and tenn was at home).

you ought to be saying that you think georgia is great. it makes tenn look better to have beaten a great team. if georgia isn't very good, then who did tenn beat who was any good last year?

auttat writes:

I thought Georgia was playing about the best of anyone at the end of the season. They were young when the came to Knoxville and I think Richt finally got their attention after the stomping on the "V" (woohoo) incident after Vandy game.

They definitely were not the same team at the end of the year compared to when they came to Knoxville.

They still have no argument about the NC game, though. You have to play the whole season, not just the last half.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

99Gator:

Thanks for coming in to our site. Objectivity is the key when venturing into a rival team's domain, as I'm sure you know by now. Thanks for letting us know how to feel about beating Vandy.....and Georgia....We appreciate it. Also, here is something for you to remember. We are better than you. We love beating you. We are frustrated that most of the time when you do beat us we have the better team. We don't begrudge your success. You earned it. But make something very clear....We would never trade places with you. It's just better to be a Vol than it is a Gator. We know it. You should know it. If you want to be a Vol fan, we welcome you...as long as you behave. We will probably beat you this year, because that's what we do. Spurrier quit after we beat you. Oscar Mayer ran up the score on us. We haven't forgotten. So thanks for your veiled interest in our program. Please continue to enjoy our program. Feel free to wear the right orange now and again..............

CoverOrange writes:

Mr. Norvelle may have some points. UT has essentially the same team back minus, notably, the starting QB and a stud LB. That team got blown away by a Gator team that should be even better in 08.

Since Morely hasn't played in two years he is somewhat of an unknown. Will faster DEs make up for weak DTs? Unknown. Crompton is an unknown. Poole is an unknown. Neither Creer nor Foster lit up the scoreboard. And we have no established fullback. However, Nick is right about Gerald Jones. He can be anywhere on the field on offense. No known standouts at WR other than Gerald. Not that some can't have the light bulb come on but can't take credit for that just yet.

In two of three games we scraped by, Kentucky and Vandy should be returning to normalcy. SC might be dangerous but the QB problem and the bipolar disorder of the coach makes them questionable. Bama won't be a surprise this time, but, it's Bama. UCLA is not Cal.

The point is, with pretty much the same team back who among the unknowns will raise the level over last year? Maybe several, maybe none.

CoverOrange writes:

HCjournals, what was the point of that? Not neighborly at all.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

My apologies if the post came across as not neighborly. I just don't like rival posters who come in here with ulterior motives. In other words, I doubted his sincerity. When I go to other sites, I try to keep it objective, or no one will listen......He is a little suspect.....

99gator writes:

hjournals

someone was picking on georgia for barely beating vandy. i was just pointing out that tenn barely beat vandy too. that's like picking on another school for losing to alabama. tenn lost to alabama. why would you use that in your argument.

i generally don't like to say that a certain school isn't good.....because then it doesn't impress anyone to say you beat them.

what you wrote about being better than florida every year is a great example. well, who does that make look good and who does that make look bad. it tenn is always better and loses, there is something wrong there that does not speak well of tenn. if florida is always worse and usually wins, then it makes florida look pretty good that they consistently beat someone who is better than them. no shame in losing to tenn either. they are better. either way, can't lose.

CoverOrange writes:

99gator, is there a gator website you would recommend for like minded rival fans to visit and read what fans are saying? I tried the Gainesville Sun, nada. Gatorzone, zilch.

99gator writes:

wd40plusvol

the best is gatorcountry. it is a subscription site, but there is stuff that can be accessed for free.

don't know how interesting you will find it, but it will probably be more interesting for you than me. completely different culture than this website. most of the people think florida will win every game 900-0. and if florida doesn't, they go into shock. i subscribe mostly for recruiting news (which is outstanding and usually dead on accurate) and articles by the website staff.

don't like chatting with a bunch of homers. as a word of warning......since virtually everyone thinks florida will win every game 900-0.....most don't think too highly of any other school's squad, including tenn. and most think less of fulmer than workinlikeheck. basically, what i'm saying is.....it will probably reaffirm your hatred of florida. there are some reasonable people like anywhere else......but, those are the people who are accessing the "pay" side of things.

the most respected schools among those folks are lsu and auburn.

hcjournals#206623 writes:

Gator:

Just bring the objectivity. It's the same thing as when you go to someome else's stadium for a game. If you don't exercise some diplomacy, you stand alone. And mixing with fans from other schools is great. A lot of fun......When we beat you after September 11th, we celebrated in the Purple Porpoise in Gainsville, and your fans were the best. That was a great trip.

99gator writes:

hcjournals

i try to be objective. i have my own biases.

the stuff i wrote early in the morning was regarding a radio program in gainesville yesterday.

thought it might get a few laughs because workinlikeheck is seen as being negative.

if you want to know how i feel about tenn.....i will tell you that i would set the over/under on losses this season at 3.

i think their schedule with florida/auburn back to back is not very good. in all likelihood, they will lose one of those. don't think i am going out on a limb too much there. and i don't like the fact that they play georgia on the road. it is georgia's only big home game and one they absolutely can not lose (because auburn, lsu, florida, south carolina, and arizona state are all away from athens)

most on this site do not show georgia the proper respect (because of last season). but, georgia is a good football team.

CoverOrange writes:

Thanks, 99G.

utclassof1992 writes:

wd40plus, if you want to mix with some fans from everywhere in the SEC, go to the chat on Paul Finebaums website. Very mixed group. They will rib you at first, especially the Bammers, but if you can take a little and fire back with class, you will have a good time.

murrayvol writes:

UTfan4life: Eric Berry won't be available for the 09' draft. And if he's picked #1 in 2010 I'm pretty sure he'll make history.

murrayvol writes:

Our DTs may not be as agile and mobile as we would prefer but if they visit this board, they'll be plenty hostile when September rolls around.

vol_in_lsu_land writes:

99Gator.

Everything you say about beating this team and losing to that team is true. Just remember this, what makes college football interesting is that anyone can beat anyone. In the same vein as the theme from your posts...Appy State beat Michigan, and Michigan beat UF in the bowl game. Bama beat Tennessee, but lost to UL Monroe later in the season. UT beat Georgia, which went on to be the best team in the conference down the stretch. LSU backed into the NC game, Tennessee backed into the SECCG, and if not for some uncharacteristic bad decisions by our QB, we might have won. Woulda, coulda, shoulda I know, but it is still worth noting.

Point is that no team last year in the SEC was particularly brilliant. And for whatever reason, Tennessee has a history of being disrespected by the media. I have to tell you that has less to do with football and more to do with the "Jed Clampett" stereotype around the country of East Tennessee. I served in the military...served with men from all over the country, and it was a real shock to experience the downright ignorance of people around the nation. Only states that (perhaps) get it worse are Kentucky and West Virginia.

Having said that, some of the negativity in football is deserved. As the other poster pointed out, I truly believe that Tennessee has fielded some very talented teams, perhaps more so than UF in many years, but still got beat more than our share. I think its partly the timing of the game, partly just dumb luck (bad or good), partly chemistry and matchups, and without a doubt, it has become an "intimidation" factor in the mind of coaches and players. I think UT almost psyches itself out some years. And honestly, and I believe this 100%, it is US FANS who are to blame for the last factor. We place so much emphasis on beating the UF nemesis, and new recruits sense the urgency of that when they come to play here. We did it for years with Alabama with the same result.

And just as we have owned Bama for a dozen years now, eventually the tables will turn with UF and that monkey will be off our back. It's the cycle of CF and what makes it interesting.

This may be the year. Tennessee is HIGHLY underrated. We had the talent last year, it just didn't gel till the end of the season (kinda like UGA)...Book it, we'll be better.

thesavageorange writes:

7-5 would mean that we probably lose to UF,UGA,AU,AL, and S Car.2 of those are home games for a team that went undefeated at Neyland in 07'.

If UT goes 7-5, that would mean we were not only a bad football team, but also one of the most unlucky in recent memory.In the CPF era UT has only lost 5 games twice,6 in 05',(02' and 05')and has lost 5 SEC games once(05').In 02' the 5th loss came in the bowl game.(also 12 game regular season).

7-5 w/ 5 SEC losses would be the 2nd worst season of the CPF era.I don't see 5 losses unless there is a 05' like collapse.If CPF has his 2nd worst season within 4 yr's of each other, he will actually be in hot water for the 1st time in his career.

99gator writes:

volinlsuland

i will admit to anyone who will listen that florida did not have the best football team in 2006. probably not close.

i think lsu did. florida actually played them and beat them. a key factor for florida's national title is that they did not have to play lsu again for the sec champ.

i think tenn does not have an outstanding national reputation because it has been a while since they have had a big win over a highly ranked team......at the right time.

example....tenn beat georgia last year who finished #2. obviously, a good win. but, tenn had already lost twice and that was georgia's second loss.....so the win did not seem to be the quality level win that it turned out to be. so, they did not get the proper national media hype for the win that they deserved. the florida game is crucial that way. it kills any momentum or media hype that would come tenn's way.

i admit that there is a respect factor that.....if tenn beats florida.....the media are more likely to look at why or how florida lost than giving tenn credit for the win and talking about how good tenn is.

i had to hear about how badly ohio state's offense playted, instead of how good florida was defensively after the national title game.

i have exchanged posts with sjt18 explaining that florida gets more hype than georgia and tenn because....by and large.....florida beats tenn and georgia more often than vice versa.

so, it doesn't matter that georgia has more wins than any other school in the conference over the last ten years. it doesn't matter tenn has won the division more than any other team in the division in the last ten years.

on a year in, year out, basis....if you ask who is the team to beat in the SEC east.....the answer you will most likely get is florida.

fair or unfair. that's how it is.

murrayvol writes:

99gator: Well reasoned post. And your conclusion ("that's how it is") is accurate.

I would surmise that LSU's "Smackdown II" of OSU would end any conversation regarding SEC Best vs Big Ten Best.

TheVolMan writes:

blah, blah, blah, you're Weenies. LOL... Keep up the boycott...

TommyJack writes:

boycott?

andy112382#209793 writes:

I know a few have commented about our DL, I don't know about ya'll, but I was impressed towards the end of the year when we stopped McFadden from tearing us up like he had to other teams the previous weeks, not to mention stopping guys like Moreno for uga......the FL game was ugly all the way around, but the DL had its moments I thought...and we have more speed coming off the ends now, so I have reason to believe our DL can be solid once again, maybe not Henderson-ish dominant just yet, but solid enough to win games.

vol_in_lsu_land writes:

Gator, I actually agree.

I have a feeling that if Florida was a November game, history might be a little different. I do think it is timing, and for whatever reason Florida's schedule is usually favorable for Florida to be "the team to beat". Florida always seems to come out of the Spring ready to play...Tennessee tends to get better over the course of the season and plays best in November.

murrayvol writes:

TJ: You know. The neverending boycott of he whose name cannot be mentioned without ruffling countless feathers or wadding panties. The Editor.

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