Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NFL Draft Spotlight on Rashard Mendenhall of Illinois

Today's NFL Draft Spotlight is on Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall...Mendenhall is listed at 5'10", 219 lbs...last season he rushed for 1,681 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns...Neil Milbert, who covers the Fighting Illini part-time for The Chicago Tribune was nice enough to respond....

Q1. In most publications, Rashard Mendenhall is listed as a first round choice in this yea's NFL Draft. What are his strengths and weaknesses?
A. Mendenhall's strength is his running ability. His weakness as a freshman and sophomore was his tendency to fumble frequently but he seems to have corrected it last season. Another possible weakness is his lack of experience. He was the third string running back as a sophomore and the second stringer as a junior.

Q2. What type of runner is Mendenhall and do you believe he will be successful in the NFL?
A. Mendenhall has both breakaway and power but I believe his breakaway ability will be his biggest asset in the NHL. I think he will have success in the NFL but I don't envision him to be a player with the ability to change the fortunes of a franchise.

Q3. Should Mendenhall have stayed another year at Illinois or is he ready for the NFL?
A. I personally think he should have stayed another year at Illinois. The additional experience would have been invaluable. He is ready for the NFL but not ready to make a major impact.

Q4. Linebacker J Leman is listed as a marginal NFL prospect. What is your view of Leman and do you think he has any chance to make it in the NFL?
A. J Leman also was considered a marginal college prospect. He is a dedicated, hard-working and wholesome young man--the type a guy a coach loves to have on his team. I think he has a shot at making it in the NFL.

Q5. Who are some future NFL prospects that we should pay attention to on the 2008 Illinois team?
A. The Illini's best future NFL prospects are sophomore wide receiver Arrelious Benn, sophomore defensive end Martez Wilson and quarterback Juice Williams. Although Williams has a tremendous throwing arm, he needs to improve his accuracy. Because of his athletic ability NFL teams probably would be willing to draft him and try him at other positions if he can't cut it as a QB.

Once again I want to thank Neil for his time...

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