From Five-Star to First Rounder

A look back at the high school years of the projected-first 32 NFL draft picks

April 27, 2007

By Tom Lemming

CSTV Recruiting Expert


With the NFL Draft approaching Saturday, pro scouts have been going through the evaluating process, but they aren't dealing with 17- and 18-year-olds and thousands of them like I have to!


Based on and The Sports XChange's final Mock Draft, here's a look back at this year's projected first round picks' high school years.


1. Oakland: QB JaMarcus Russell, Louisiana State -- a five-star mobile All-American QB coming out his senior year, he had all the tools of a Vince Young, who was also in his class. Long arms, a legit difference maker, broke into the spotlight his sophomore year and it was his signature year, actually better than his senior campaign.




2. Detroit: WR Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech -- made a great call going to Georgia Tech because they utilized him well. He became their go-to guy. In high school he actually couldn't play in the U.S. Army All-American game because of basketball going on. Can't go wrong with picking either of the top three, him along with Russell and Peterson.


3. Cleveland: QB Brady Quinn, Notre Dame -- the No. 3 player coming out of high school and No. 2 quarterback behind Chris Leak. Had a real strong arm and wasn't totally polished which allowed him to develop under Charlie Weis.


4. Tampa Bay: DE Gaines Adams, Clemson -- this was one of those surprise guys, I thought he was a real good athlete and had him as a player to watch with potential. He far surpassed that.


5. Arizona: OT Joe Thomas, Wisconsin -- No. 1 Offensive Linemen coming out of his class four years ago, also threw the shot put and discus. Can throw the ball as far as quarterbacks, a great athlete.


6. Washington: S LaRon Landry, Louisiana State -- a four-star coming out, he got faster and more physical. You could see the progression coming - he went from a three-star to a four from his junior to senior year.


7. Minnesota: RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma -- The No. 1 player three years ago, he put on arguably the greatest performance ever in the Army game highlighted by a 50-yard TD run. Had breakfast with him for our interview and really impressed me as much as he did on the field. Was very coachable in high school and didn't let his high-profile then get to his head.


8. Atlanta: DT Amobi Okoye, Louisville -- same case as Gaines Adams in that he was a real good athlete and a wait-and- see type guy when it came to making a difference. He's gone far past the projections.


9. Miami: LB Patrick Willis, Mississippi -- turned out better in person than what I saw of him on film.  Always had phenomenal athletic ability.


10. Houston: OT Levi Brown, Penn State -- was a big, thick kid who just needed to stay healthy and get stronger. Had good feet and a great frame and was an All-American.


11. San Francisco: DE Adam Carriker, Nebraska -- a three-star coming out, was a big load of a defensive tackle from Washington that Bill Callahan developed nicely.


12. Buffalo: CB Leon Hall, Michigan -- a surprise selection for the All-American game and had a great one. Always had great burst and was good in high school but really developed into a pro.


13. St. Louis: DE Jamaal Anderson, Arkansas -- a four-star coming out who didn't get an Army game invite but really progressed.


14. Carolina: TE Greg Olsen, Miami -- signed with Notre Dame which is where his brother was, but left after two weeks and headed to Miami. The No. 1 tight end coming out, always thought he could be like a bigger Jeremy Shockey.


15. Pittsburgh: OG Ben Grubbs, Auburn -- another guy who rose above the surface, someone I didn't rate high.


16. Green Bay: WR/KR Ted Ginn Jr., Ohio State -- had a dynamic MVP performance in the Army game with a 98-yard kick off return and could have had another if he hadn't dropped one when he was picking up steam.


17. Jacksonville: CB Darrelle Revis, Pittsburgh -- came out of Florida and Pitt snuck through the cracks and landed a kid whose star really rose. Was a good athlete with no real position.


18. Cincinnati: S Reggie Nelson, Florida -- a teammate of Joe Cohen's and both were All-Americans. At 185 pounds he could play wide receiver or cornerback. Certainly has loads of talent but I still think he's better suited as a wide receiver.


19. Tennessee: RB Marshawn Lynch, California -- a four-star that came from a very productive school but was a little overshadowed by Reggie Bush since they were both from the same area. Made a solid choice of a college because they built around him.


20. N.Y. Giants: LB Paul Posluszny, Penn State -- liked a lot but he wasn't big, only about 200 pounds. Wanted to go to Notre Dame but they didn't offer and he turned into what some people are calling the greatest linebacker ever at Penn State. His brother David recently committed to Notre Dame.


21. Denver: DT Alan Branch, Michigan -- Liked the way he moved at the Junior Combine and named him to the All-American team his senior year. A five-star offensive tackle coming out.


22. Dallas: WR Robert Meachem, Tennessee -- Very developed coming out of Oklahoma by the time he got to Tennessee. Five-star player with great hands, speed, and was one of the first All-American selections.


23. Kansas City: CB Aaron Ross, Texas -- a big time player that everyone knew about early out of Texas. Had the speed, burst and balance with quick reaction skills and was a perfect defender.


24. New England: LB Jon Beason, Miami -- liked him as a three-star, didn't have great size and speed but grew and got quicker.


25. N.Y. Jets: CB Chris Houston, Arkansas -- an All-American on both sides of the ball. Always had the burst and speed and improved every year since his junior season of high school.


26. Philadelphia: S Brandon Merriweather, Miami (Fla.) -- very quick, heavily recruited out of high school but not a Top 100 guy. He was in the next pack in the 100-200 range and could just really run on the field.


27. New Orleans: DT Justin Harrell, Tennessee -- was good but not a knock-out and really developed in college. Was recruited as a defensive end.


28. New England: OT Joe Staley, Central Michigan -- linemen are tough to determine, and he was a three-star player who ended up looking like he could have certainly played in the Big Ten. He had size but put on more and was aggressive.


29. Baltimore: LB Lawrence Timmons, Florida State -- a big time talent who was an All American and the best player in South Carolina his senior year.


30. San Diego: WR Dwayne Bowe, Louisiana State -- liked his size, hands and speed and having Russell didn't hurt him in college. Had great body control and burst.


31. Chicago: OT Tony Ugoh, Arkansas -- an All-American that really developed in college and could've played tackle or guard. Give him credit for re-distributing his weight since that was what he needed to do after high school.


32. Indianapolis: DE Jarvis Moss, Florida -- needed about 40 pounds more at 215 but had some of the longest arms I'd ever seen. Special with his size and strength - another All-American.