February 28, 2008

Rang: Louisiana Prospects

NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang reviews Louisiana-born prospects in the 2008 NFL Draft with an exclusive to NewOrleansProFootball.com

by Rob Rang
Senior Analyst, NFLDraftScout.com
Special to NewOrleansProFootball.com

Indianapolis -- No where but the NFL Scouting Combine does the talent from football rich states like Louisiana, Texas, and California show itself so well. By the end of seven rounds this April, many Louisiana-based players will have heard their names called. The following article focuses on the top ten players, as ranked by NFLDraftScout.com, who played either their high school or collegiate football in the state of Louisiana. A testament to the state-pride and strong recruiting is the fact that many of the most highly ranked Louisiana high school prospects remained within the state to play their collegiate ball.

Who knows? Maybe one or two of the players below will be playing their professional football within the Louisiana state border, as well?

1. Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
High School: East Ascension
Hometown: Gonzales, LA

Where it not for concerns about a stress fracture in his right leg, Dorsey might be the favorite to be the first player selected in the 2008 draft. When healthy, his dominance on the field, is unquestionable. Blessed with the combination of strength and burst at the point of attack to project nicely in both the 4-3 and 3-4 schemes, Dorsey is among the best defensive line prospects of the past decade.

2. Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
High School: Catholic
Hometown: Glynn LA

An athletic left tackle who has ranked among the elite SEC pass blockers throughout his entire career, Williams won't have to wait long on draft day to hear his name called. He relies too much on his long arms and quick feet, rather than explosive strength and a mauler's mentality, as a blocker, but he stood out at the Senior Bowl and solidified himself as a first round talent.

3. Early Doucet, WR, LSU
High School: St. Martinville
Hometown: St. Martinville, LA

There are flashier receivers in the draft than Doucet. Of course, there was flashier receivers last April than Dwayne Bowe and he simply led NFL rookie receivers in nearly every imaginable receiving category for the Kansas City Chiefs. Doucet isn't the fastest or tallest receiver in the draft, but his 215 pound build is perfectly suited for the rigors of the NFL. Blessed with the quick feet to rank as one of the better route-runners and yards-after-catch wideouts, Doucet should enjoy an early impact in the pros.

4. Tracy Porter, CB, Indiana
High School: Port Allen
Hometown: Port Allen, LA
One of the few top talents to leave the state of Louisiana, Porter quickly established himself among the Big Ten's elite athletes while at Indiana. Scouts would like to see more toughness and physicality out of Porter, but his legitimate speed and burst give him the athleticism to rank as one of the better cover corner prospects of the 2008 draft -- and a likely Top 40 pick.

5. Matt Forte, RB, Tulane
High School: Slidell
Hometown: Slidell, LA

It took Forte a few seasons at Tulane to establish himself at Tulane, but few backs were more dominant than Forte in 2007. Finishing second in the country with 2,127 rushing yards and a school record 23 touchdowns, Forte went from a late round flyer pick to one of the more en-vogue big backs of the draft. A strong performance at the Senior Bowl eliminated any concern that Forte was simply a project of the Green Wave system and firmly thrust Forte into Top 64 consideration.

6. John David Booty, QB, USC
High School: Evangel Christian
Hometown: Shreveport, LA

Continuing the legendary Booty tradition of producing top ranking athletes, John David leaves USC as one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2008 draft. While Booty lacks the monster arm or laser accuracy of the elite passers, many scouts consider him to be the best of the second tier of throwers expected to be drafted in the 3rd to 4th rounds. Some have unfairly characterized his career at USC as a disappointment, considering that he didn't win the Heisman or a national championship, but with a fraction of the skill position talent and experience surrounding him that former Trojan greats Carson Palmer and especially Matt Leinart boasted, Booty's legacy at USC is well regarded by those close to the program.

7. Jacob Hester, RB, LSU
High School: Evangel
Hometown: Shreveport, LA

Arguably the country's most dependable running back in short yardage situations, Hester may lack the agility and straight-line speed NFL teams prefer at tailback, but it is difficult to argue with his production. Hester's toughness epitomized LSU's run to the championship in 2007. His combination of running, receiving, and blocking skills make him one of the more intriguing (and certainly, versatile) backs of the draft's second day.

8. Craig Steltz, S, LSU
High School: Archbishop Rummel
Hometown: New Orleans, LA

An instinctive, physical defender, Steltz was viewed by many scouts as a product of a talented LSU defense early in the year. However, after proving his burst and big play ability with 10 interceptions over the past two seasons, scouts began to come around and recognize the veteran safety's ability to read and react to the quarterback. Steltz may lack the elite athleticism the NFL craves at the position, but he's viewed by many as among the safer prospects in a very weak safety class.

9. Art Carmody, K, Louisville
High School: Loyola College Prep
Hometown: Shreveport, LA

Nicknamed "Art-o-matic" due to his 85% accuracy on career field goals, Carmody is viewed by most scouts as the draft's best kicker prospect. Scouts have concerns about Carmody's lack of dominant leg-strength, as he has only one attempt of over fifty yards over his career -- a 51 yarder -- and he missed it. Carmody's lack of leg strength is also noticeable on kickoffs, but it is hard to argue with his consistency and career production. After all, the 85% career accuracy is hardly a fluke -- Carmody leaves Louisville as the NCAA career leader with 433 points scored.

10. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Ole Miss
High School: St. Augustine
Hometown: New Orleans, LA

There may be other, higher ranked Louisiana prospects, but as one of the more underrated backs in the draft, Green-Ellis simply deserved to be mentioned here. Blessed with a rare combination of size, strength, and speed, Green-Ellis would likely be ranked higher if he hadn't spent his career playing for two "small fish" in "big pond" conferences. An immediate standout at Indiana before transferring to Ole Miss, Green-Ellis proved to be a standout rusher rushing in both the Big Ten and the SEC, and folks, any back that can pull off that feat deserves a shot in the NFL.

Rob "Boomer" Rang, senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, joins the NOPF NFL Draft team for the fifth year, providing his excellent analysis and draft insight exclusively to our readers. NFLDraftScout.com is powered by The SportsXchange, which has a network of professional reporters who cover more than 560 professional and collegiate teams. Their client list includes ESPN, FOXsports, USA Today, NFL.com, CBS Sportsline, MSNBC, AOL, Yahoo, CSTV, and numerous others. Their rankings, profiles, and mock drafts are consistently among the industry's most accurate. Rang has been busy this offseason providing his expertise to nfl.com.

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