Pre-Combine Draft Report for UCF

With roughly a month remaining before the NFL combine, InsideKnights.com takes a look at the current draft status of some of the graduating UCF seniors. We asked some NFL Draft Experts about where they think cornerback Joe Burnett, safety Sha'reff Rashad, and tackle Patrick Brown will go in April's NFL Draft.

With the Senior Bowl looming on Saturday, and practice about to begin, we were a little disturbed to hear that neither Joe Burnett, Sha'reff Rashad, nor Patrick Brown received an invite. The Senior Bowl features some of the best upperclassmen in the nation and all 32 NFL teams will be in attendance as these players get to practice against one another and then play in the game on Saturday. Whereas Brown and Rashad were considered to be long-shots to earn an invite, Burnett and his second team All-America status should've been a no-brainer, or so we thought. Even though the Knights corner was snubbed, he will still have an opportunity to show off his craft at February's NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Since none of the Knights will be making the trip to picturesque Mobile, Alabama, we decided to do a little investigation as to what NFL Experts thought of the UCF seniors.

Record-setting corner Joe Burnett is clearly the best NFL prospect that the Knights had on the 2008 roster, and he didn't get completely shut out of the postseason all-star games as he will take part in the Texas vs. the Nation game, Saturday, January 31st at the Sun Bowl in Texas. Burnett was the only player in the nation to finish in the top-20 in both kickoff and punt returns (7th kickoff, 10th punt), and finished in the top-100 in all-purpose yardage despite not playing a single snap of offense. Burnett was the Knights finest corner, as most opponents looked to the opposite side of the field when deciding to pass.

At this point, the consensus opinion among scouts is that Joe Burnett is a mid-round draft choice, as he doesn't have overwhelming speed and he is considered to translate best on the next level in a zone type of scheme. The NFL comparisons used to describe Burnett's style of play is at best, former Knight Asante Samuel, and a lower-case scenario would be Chicago's Nathan Vasher. Burnett will have an opportunity to raise his stock to potentially a first-day pick with a solid combine workout.

As for Sha'reff Rashad, the pro prospects for him are a little dimmer. Most scouts figure Rashad as a player who will not be selected in April's draft, but could make an NFL roster as an undrafted free agent. NFL Draft Expert Chris Steuber had this to say about the Knights safety—

"I don't think Sha'reff Rashad gets drafted. He's a little too small to play strong safety at the next level and not fast enough to play free safety. He will have to make a roster as a free agent by playing well on special teams."

UCF left tackle Pat Brown had the most starts in the nation at his left tackle position and earned all-conference honors as a junior and senior (first team in 2007; second team in 2008). Still, the quiet, dependable rock of the UCF offense will likely have to wait for his phone to ring after the NFL draft as he's considered to be the 43rd overall tackle prospect by NFL Draft Scout. With some good workouts, Brown can possibly move himself into a late-round selection, as many teams are looking for players of his experience. Still, the tackle-heavy draft doesn't help Brown's chances.

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