One young man getting plenty of buzz in the NFL scouting circles is UL-Lafayette senior cornerback Dwight Bentley.
Bentley, a former prep standout at Pahokee High School in Florida, the same high school that produced former Saints All-Pro and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Rickey Jackson, looks a lot like former Nicholls State University All-American and current Baltimore Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb.
Webb, a former college cornerback was moved to free safety at Nicholls State because of the fact that teams just would not throw the ball in his direction, and college teams have found out that Bentley, like Webb, has excellent foot speed, terrific ball skills with the ball in flight, and he will come up quickly to aid in run support. The 5-9 ½, 185-pound senior has recorded 43 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, 3 pass interceptions, 3 pass break-ups, and he has forced 2 fumbles in 2011.
Bentley’s quick hips, first-rate plant and drive skills to the ball and very good recovery speed will likely land him a spot in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, but he could vault himself into the second round with excellent post-season workouts.Bentley is currently ranked as my 61st best player available for the 2012 NFL draft and that is two spots higher than another highly regarded pro prospect from UL-Lafayette in tight end Ladarius Green.Green has caught 22 passes for 236 yards, averaged 10.7 yards per catch and scored 5 touchdowns in 2011.
LSU has two players in my Top 50, and Alabama has seven players in my Top 50. … But LSU’s squad is loaded with top ranked pro talent who are either freshman or sophomores.
Saturday's LSU-Alabama game marked the biggest array of potential pro talent on one field at one time at the college level since the 2005 National Championship game when the Texas Longhorns upset the USC Trojans. That game featured Reggie Bush in his final game as a collegiate player, and it also put Texas quarterback Vince Young on a higher plateau for the pro game when he completed 30 of his 40 passes for 267 yards and rushed for 200 yards on 19 carries and scored 3 touchdowns. In that game, USC and Texas combined for 66 players who eventually were either drafted into the NFL or signed as undrafted free agents. You will see similar numbers come out of that LSU-Alabama contest over the next three to four years.
LSU is a very young football team, and the Tigers are actually built to play again for a national championship in 2012, if they can get consistent play from Zach Mettenberger at quarterback. In this game for the 2012 NFL draft Alabama had six players in halfback Trent Richardson, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw, strong safety Mark Barron, free safety Robert Lester and inside linebacker Donta’ Hightower, rated in my top 42 players who are either seniors or junior eligible for next spring’s draft.
This season the guy I firmly believe will be the pacesetter is Rueben Randle. This summer I did an article detailing the workouts at Sonic Boom Training for Randle under the tutelage of workout guru Wyatt Harris. Harris explained that Randle, who had played wide receiver as a high school sophomore and junior before being moved to quarterback as a senior, was on the verge of being a top-flight wide receiver at the college level. “We just worked the fundamental part of playing wide receiver,” said Harris, a former wide receiver at the college and pro level. “Rueben needed to learn how to get out of his cuts and breaks cleaner and quicker, and he also worked on his adjustment skills with the ball in flight. He has excellent size, he is deceptively fast, and he has tremendous run-after-catch skills. He didn’t have to come here and fine tune his skills, but he knew it was important to take his game to another level. The young man is a very hard worker, and he has a lot of pride in his work. He is going to explode onto the college scene this season.” Harris made those remarks for a column I did in late July.
This season Randle leads the team in receptions with 33 for 638 yards, averaging 19.3 yards per catch and he has scored 7 touchdowns. What is interesting is that Harris also worked out in the summer with Alabama junior cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.
Mike Detillier’s Top 63 Prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft
*** Junior Eligibility
1. Andrew Luck-Quarterback, Stanford***
2. Matt Barkley-Quarterback, USC***
3. Landry Jones-Quarterback, Oklahoma***
4. Matt Kalil-Offensive Tackle, USC***
5. Justin Blackmon-Wide Receiver, Oklahoma State***
6. Jonathan Martin-Offensive Tackle, Stanford***
7. Quinton Coples-Defensive End, North Carolina
8. Alshon Jeffery-Wide Receiver, South Carolina***
9. Morris Claiborne-Cornerback, LSU***
10. Trent Richardson-Halfback, Alabama***
11. Brandon Jenkins-Defensive End/OLB, Florida State***
12. Dre Kirkpatrick-Cornerback, Alabama***
13. Riley Reiff-Offensive Tackle, Iowa***
14. Alfonzo Dennard-Cornerback, Nebraska
15. Jerel Worthy-Defensive Tackle, Michigan State***
16. Courtney Upshaw-Outside Linebacker, Alabama
17. Michael Floyd-Wide Receiver, Notre Dame
18. Janoris Jenkins-Cornerback, North Alabama
19. Zach Brown-Outside Linebacker, North Carolina
20. Robert Griffin III-Quarterback, Baylor***
21. Chase Minnifield-Cornerback, Virginia
22. Cliff Harris-Cornerback, Oregon***
23. Peter Konz-Offensive Center, Wisconsin***
24. Brandon Thompson-Defensive Tackle, Clemson
25. David DeCastro-Offensive Guard, Stanford***
26. Jeff Fuller-Wide Receiver, Texas A&M
27. Mark Barron-Strong Safety, Alabama
28. Vontaze Burfict-Inside Linebacker, Arizona State
29. Ronnell Lewis-Outside Linebacker, Oklahoma***
30. Manti Te’o-Inside Linebacker, Notre Dame***
31. Jared Crick-Defensive Tackle, Nebraska
32. Melvin Ingram-Defensive End/OLB, South Carolina
33. Ryan Tannehill-Quarterback, Texas A&M
34. Dwayne Allen-Tight End, Clemson***
35. Cordy Glenn-Offensive Guard, Georgia
36. Stephon Gilmore-Cornerback, South Carolina***
37. Devin Taylor-Defensive End, South Carolina***
38. Ray Ray Armstrong-Strong Safety, Miami (Fla.)***
39. Luke Kuechly-Inside Linebacker, Boston College***
40. Robert Lester-Free Safety, Alabama***
41. Alameda Ta’amu-Defensive Tackle, Washington
42. Donta’ Hightower-Inside Linebacker, Alabama***
43. Billy Wynn-Defensive End, Boise State
44. Rueben Randle-Wide Receiver, LSU***
45. Mike Adams-Offensive Tackle, Ohio State
46. Whitney Mercilus-Defensive End, Illinois***
47. Mohamed Sanu-Wide Receiver, Rutgers***
48. Jayron Hosley-Cornerback, Virginia Tech
49. Ryan Broyles-Wide Receiver, Oklahoma
50. Josh Chapman-Defensive Tackle, Alabama
51. Bruce Irvin-Outside Linebacker, West Virginia
52. Kevin Zeitler-Offensive Guard, Wisconsin
53. Devon Still-Defensive Tackle, Penn State
54. Coby Fleener-Tight End, Stanford
55. Nick Toon-Wide Receiver, Wisconsin
56. Andre Branch-Defensive End, Clemson
57. Mike Brewster-Offensive Center, Ohio State
58. Lavonte David-Outside Linebacker, Nebraska
59. Brandon Boykin-Cornerback, Georgia
60. Kelechi Osemele-Offensive Guard, Iowa State
61. Dwight Bentley-Cornerback, UL-Lafayette (Louisiana)
62. Vinny Curry-Defensive End, Marshall
63. Ladarius Green-Tight End, UL-Lafayette (Louisiana)