2008 NFL Draft Watch

QB Chase Daniel (AP Photo/C. Riedel)

Get the scoop on some of the emerging stars from the college ranks that your favorite NFL team could be scouting right now. NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber fills you in.

· Is there a better quarterback in the country than Missouri's Chase Daniel? All he does is win games, post incredible numbers, and prove that height isn't the most important attribute for a quarterback. At 6 feet tall, 225 pounds, there's more to Daniel than his lack of height — he may be the best leader in the nation. Missouri is currently on a six-game winning streak, which includes their huge 36–28 victory over second-ranked Kansas on Saturday night. Daniel displayed pinpoint accuracy against the Jayhawks as he completed 40 out of 49 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns. During the Tigers' winning streak, Daniel, who's only a junior, has completed 163 out of 225 passes for 1,878 yards, 17 touchdowns, and three interceptions. Daniel's success this season has him in the race for the Heisman — and his team, the No. 1 ranked Tigers, in the hunt for a national championship. I wrote in an earlier feature that Daniel, if he entered the NFL Draft, would be a third-round pick. But let's scratch that projection. If Daniel enters the draft, he's a lock to be a late-first, early second-round pick.

· An amazing honor was given to Virginia star defensive end Chris Long on Senior Day, when the school retired his number prior to the Cavaliers game against rival Virginia Tech. Despite losing to the Hokies on Saturday 33–21, Long managed to record six tackles and 1.5 sacks, which gave him an ACC-leading 13.5 on the season. Long's versatility on the defensive line, improved pass rushing technique, and ability to defend against the run justifies him being considered as the top pick in the 2008 draft.

· With freshman RB DeMarco Murray — who led the Sooners in rushing entering Saturday's game — out of the lineup nursing a dislocated kneecap, senior Allen Patrick took advantage of his opportunity to carry the load and had a career day. Patrick saved his best performance in a game against rival Oklahoma State where he had 29 carries for 202 yards and two touchdowns, as well as a reception that he scored on from 11 yards out. Patrick is a tremendously skilled offensive weapon who's a game-breaker with explosive abilities. And that warrants a third-round selection next April.


WR Maurice Purify
AP Photo/Nati Harnik

· A lot was expected out of Nebraska senior WR Maurice Purify this season after he caught 34 passes for 630 yards (18.5 YPC) and seven touchdowns during his junior campaign. But the 6-foot-4, 220-pound former JUCO standout has dealt with a lot of turmoil that has had an impact on his play this year. He was arrested in May for being involved in an altercation, and was suspended for the Huskers' season opener against Nevada. His brother was shot and killed in California prior to the start of the season. And, his ex-girlfriend was killed in a car accident a few days before Nebraska faced Missouri. With all of that devastation on his mind, Purify has resurrected his promise in Nebraska's last three games against Kansas, Kansas State, and Colorado. He averaged eight receptions for 134 yards (17 YPC) and two touchdowns. Purify is an intriguing playmaker who has great size and skills. He'll likely be an early second-day selection.

· After missing three straight games (against Arizona, Notre Dame and Oregon) with a broken middle finger on his throwing hand, it was nice to see USC quarterback John David Booty finally get back into the swing of things on Saturday. Booty completed 26 of his 39 passes for 375 yards and four touchdowns against sixth-ranked Arizona State. Quietly, Booty has put together a nice three-game stretch since his return to the lineup, including his performance against the Sun Devils, completing 56-of-92 passes for 661 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. A fifth-year senior, Booty entered this season as a possible Day One selection, but with concerns surrounding his injury history and his questionable arm strength, it appears he's destined to be a Day Two draft pick.

· A small school prospect to keep an eye on is RB Jamar Brittingham from Division II Bloomsburg University. At 6 feet tall, 203 pounds, Brittingham isn't the fastest back in the country, but he's got good size and skills to be a quality player at the next level. He was hampered by injuries during his junior season and missed four games, but still managed to record 1,057 yards on 213 carries and 12 touchdowns. Brittingham really stepped up his game this season amassing 244 carries for 1,493 yards (averaged 5.7 YPC and 143 YPG) and 23 touchdowns. Brittingham won't be a high round selection, but he's an interesting late round, developmental runner who has nice upside.

A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999.

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