By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
ProFootballWeekly.com has produced a chart showing the consensus draft values NFL teams have assigned to each player. Four Boise State players made the chart:
— Wide receiver Titus Young is considered a late second-round pick.
— Wide receiver Austin Pettis is rated for the middle of the third round.
— Safety Jeron Johnson is slated for the middle of the fourth round.
— And defensive end Ryan Winterswyk has been placed in the middle of the seventh round.
Those values are great news for Pettis, who most people I talked to earlier this year considered a fourth- or fifth-round pick. And they’re disappointing news for cornerback Brandyn Thompson, who was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine but isn’t listed.
The NFL Network is working on a feature on Young that will air during the week of the draft. Here is some behind-the-scenes footage the network sent me.
Returning starters (0 of 1): None.
Key losses: Two-year starter Winston Venable earned All-WAC first-team honors last season. The junior college transfer racked up 116 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, five pass breakups and two interceptions in his two years with the Broncos. He brought terrific intensity and instincts to the defense.
Projected starter: This position seems destined for the kind of job-sharing arrangement that has become commonplace on the Boise State team. Senior Hunter White (seventh on team with 38 tackles last year) is the best bet to be the designated starter. He has a huge edge in experience and showed up for spring ball ready to make a statement, like cornerback Jamar Taylor last year. Junior college transfer Dextrell Simmons, who doesn’t have a redshirt year available, and sophomore Jonathan Brown, who is out for spring ball, likely will contribute, too.
Other key returners: Brown (16 tackles), who is more safety than linebacker, played in some passing situations last year. Nickels coach Jeff Choate likes what he brings to the table and expects Brown to factor into the race in fall camp.
Also in the mix: Walk-on Billy Derome is one of just three nickels on the field in spring ball, which has helped him gain valuable experience.
Also on the roster: None.
Not practicing: Brown.
Joining in August: None. Corey Bell of Capital High is expected to grayshirt.