'08 NFL Draft Notes

University of California WR DeSean Jackson

The 2008 NFL draft is more than nine months away. Yet even with that, the news and events taking place presently will impact pro sport's No. 1 off-season event next April.

It looks as though April '08 will offer a bleak crop of senior prospects.  An infusion of talent from the ranks of the underclassmen is needed to severely upgrade most positions.  

Now comes word that one of the nation's premier junior receivers is making his intentions known.

California's game-breaking receiver and return specialist DeSean Jackson is telling people this will be his last season on the college field as he intends to make the jump to the NFL in '08.  Golden Bear coach Jeff Tedford has also told people he expects to lose Jackson to the NFL.

Winner of the inaugural Randy Moss Award as the nation's top return man, Jackson led the country averaging 18.2 yards returning punts last season.  He also set school and Pac-10 records bringing four punt returns back for touchdowns.  Jackson also averaged 18 yards on 59 receptions, adding nine more scores.  Considered a first-round talent, coaches we spoke with from the Cal program claim Jackson may be the fastest player ever to wear a Bear uniform.

The outlook is not as bright for one senior cornerback.  

At one time a highly considered prospect, Nebraska cornerback Zack Bowman entered the '07 scouting process with first-round grades from a number of NFL scouting services.  In fact one  service, BLESTO, rated Bowman higher than Adam Carriker, chosen with the 13th selection of last April's draft.

Bowman suffered a torn ACL prior to the start of the '07 season, which put him on the sidelines for the entire year.  Still, he seriously considered entering last April's NFL draft, going as far as  submitting his name to the NFL Advisory Committee to gauge where he might be selected were he to make himself eligible.

Deciding against the draft and returning to college for another season, Bowman later ruptured his patellar tendon in non-contact drills this past March and surgery was required to repair that injury.

There is much speculation as to Bowman's present state of health and when he will return to the field. While Cornhusker coach Bill Callahan has been generally positive about the situation and hopes Bowman will return sooner rather than later, others disagree.

Sources affiliated with the program have told us Bowman could be on the sidelines until late October if not early November.  There is also a feeling the talented cornerback may not play at all this season. 

In the end, Bowman's draft grade will take a pounding as this one-time potential first-round pick that could end up in the late frames.

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