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Ryan leads QB prospects; Woodson and Brennan falling

By Todd McShay

Scouts, Inc.

There is no shortage of surprises or storylines in this year's quarterback class. Unlike the last few years, however, there is not much competition at the top of the board. In fact, there has not been a clear-cut No. 1 quarterback like Boston College's Matt Ryan is this year since Carson Palmer came out of USC in 2003.

The only real knock on Ryan is that he sometimes forces throws, as evidenced by the 19 interceptions he threw as a senior, but you have to take into account that he attempted 654 passes behind a mediocre offensive line and was throwing to a pedestrian group of receivers. Regardless of other factors, though, Ryan has the best combination of intelligence, leadership, size, accuracy, arm strength and competitiveness in this year's quarterback class.

Brian Brohm's senior season at Louisville did not go as scripted as the Cardinals struggled to a 6-6 record, but Brohm did show a lot of toughness and determination over the course of the season. Brohm, a very accurate pocket passer who threw 30 touchdown passes last season, should still be the second quarterback selected -- but that could mean anywhere between picks No. 14 and 45 overall.

Michigan's Chad Henne finds himself in a similar situation. An embarrassing loss to Appalachian State followed by injuries to his throwing shoulder and knee seemed to sink Henne's draft aspirations. However, he finished the season strong with an impressive performance in a bowl victory over Florida and looked good during Senior Bowl week. Now it looks like he will be the third quarterback taken, most likely in the second round.

Others jockeying for position with Henne are Delaware's Joe Flacco and Kentucky's Andre' Woodson. Flacco's draft stock has skyrocketed over the last month. Scouts were aware of his arm strength when he arrived at the Senior Bowl but he answered a lot of questions regarding his ability to compete against top competition. Meanwhile, Mobile didn't show Woodson the same southern hospitality. Woodson couldn't get comfortable with offensive coordinator Mike Martz's timing-based scheme, which accentuated his long delivery and masked his ability to fit the ball into tight spaces.

And whatever happened to prolific Hawaii passer Colt Brennan? Well, the NCAA's career touchdown leader followed a disappointing performance against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl with an underwhelming showing at the Senior Bowl. His slumping play coupled with concerns about his size, release and the possibility that the scheme he played in inflated his numbers have caused his stock to drop substantially.

In fact, we rank another small school prospect -- San Diego's Josh Johnson -- ahead of Brennan. Johnson played at the non-scholarship FCS level and is a little too wiry at this point, though he has bulked up to 200-plus pounds and has the frame to add at least 20 more. Johnson has a quick release, puts good zip on the ball and is arguably the most mobile quarterback in this year's class.

San Diego State's Kevin O'Connell, who played his college football across town from Johnson, is another under-the-radar quarterback to monitor in the middle rounds. O'Connell is raw but has enough size, arm strength and mobility to one day emerge as a starter at the next level.

Top 15 QB Prospects in 2008 NFL Draft

Prospect School Height Weight Speed

1. Matt Ryan Boston College 6-4 5/8 221 4.80

2. Brian Brohm Louisville 6-3 225 4.78

3. Chad Henne Michigan 6-2 7/8 228 4.80

4. Joe Flacco Delaware 6-6 1/4 232 5.00

5. Andre' Woodson Kentucky 6-4 1/4 234 4.84

6. John David Booty USC 6-2 3/8 213 4.95

7. Joshua Johnson San Diego 6-2 3/4 200 4.64

8. Colt Brennan Hawaii 6-2 1/4 185 4.75

9. Dennis Dixon Oregon 6-3 1/2 195 4.60

10. Kevin O'Connell San Diego State 6-5 1/8 225 4.95

11. Erik Ainge Tennessee 6-5 1/2 225 5.00

12. Matt Flynn LSU 6-1 5/8 225 4.64

13. Sam Keller Nebraska 6-4 1/4 243 4.90

14. Paul Smith Tulsa 6-1 195 4.90

15. Xavier Lee* Florida State 6-4 1/4 234 4.70

* Denotes junior prospect

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The Cush (2/8/2008)
Ryan leads QB prospects; Woodson and Brennan falling

And whatever happened to prolific Hawaii passer Colt Brennan? Well, the NCAA's career touchdown leader followed a disappointing performance against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl with an underwhelming showing at the Senior Bowl. His slumping play coupled with concerns about his size, release and the possibility that the scheme he played in inflated his numbers have caused his stock to drop substantially.

In fact, we rank another small school prospect -- San Diego's Josh Johnson -- ahead of Brennan.

8. Colt Brennan Hawaii 6-2 1/4 185 4.75

And this my friend is why you take lifetime opportunities when they are presented to you. If Brennen would have entered last year, he would have been a first round pick

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