- Todd McShay, Scouts Inc.
The official underclassmen list is in, necessitating change to my initial mock draft. Surprisingly enough, there are 22 fewer underclassmen departures than last year's record-setting total of 62. Among the biggest surprises returning to school were quarterbacks Brian Brohm (Louisville) and Colt Brennan (Hawaii). Brohm has experienced some durability issues (thumb and shoulder) over the course of the past year and must prove to scouts as a senior that he can stay healthy for an entire season. Brennan was also wise to pull out of the draft in the eleventh hour, as he needs to improve his size and strength in order to solidify a first-round spot in the 2008 draft.
The 2007 class recently took another hit when Notre Dame WR Jeff Samardzija opted for baseball over football at the professional level, as the flame-throwing pitcher signed a five-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. Although Samardzija will be missed, his stock was dropping out of the first-round due to the influx of quality receivers from the underclassmen pool. In fact, those receivers -- Calvin Johnson, Ted Ginn Jr., Dwayne Jarrett, Robert Meachem and Sidney Rice -- make up just five of the 18 underclassmen prospects in my most recent mock draft. Here's a look:
x -- Still to be determined by coin flip
y -- Still to be determined by Super Bowl
+ -- Underclassman
1. Oakland Raiders (2-14)
Projected pick: +JaMarcus Russell, QB, LSU
Russell vs. Brady Quinn? Let the great debate begin. Most teams have Quinn ahead of Russell, but Raiders owner Al Davis could fall in love with Russell's size and strong arm.
2. Detroit (3-13)
Projected pick: Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
The Lions passed on Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler a year ago. It's hard to imagine them passing on another potential franchise quarterback with the second overall pick in this year's draft.
Six underclassmen, including Ted Ginn Jr., make up six of the top 10 picks in Todd McShay's latest mock draft.