Super Bowl players agree on LSU, Alabama pro prospects

Posted Feb. 02, 2012 @ 8:09 p.m.
Posted By Keith Schleiden

INDIANAPOLIS — There's not a lot the players of the Patriots and Giants can agree on these days. They are, after all, confident that their respective teams will walk out of Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday night as the Super Bowl champion.

We did find a topic that a few players from New York and New England can agree on, however. 

Patriots RB Stevan Ridley, a rookie out of LSU, and Giants CB Corey Webster, a seventh-year vet out of the same school, believe that Morris Claiborne is on the verge of becoming a special pro player.

Claiborne, an LSU junior cornerback who declared for the 2012 NFL draft, is currently the No. 2-ranked prospect in PFW's draft database.

Both Super Bowl players were effusive in their praise of Claiborne.

"Mo's a special player, man," Ridley said of his former teammate. "I think he's the best cornerback in college football right now for the simple fact that he and (Cardinals CB-PR) Pat Peterson played together, and you look at what Pat's done and his contributions this early in his NFL career. And I think that Mo is just as good of a corner as Pat. Mo is very talented. He's lock-down. You can leave him out there and let him cover his side of the field or whoever you want to match him up with. I think he'll come out as the better defender, with no regards to what receiver you put him up against."

Webster, who found himself a little surprised to be talking about the draft in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, was equally as complimentary about Claiborne.

"I think Mo is great," Webster said. "I think that Peterson was a raw athlete. A lot of things came easier for him. I think Mo Claiborne is a little more sound. He's fundamentally sound to go to the next level. He don't have to rely so much on athletic ability. But they're two really good athletes; two great corners. I think that's the only difference between them."

Despite the fact that he is several years older than Claiborne and they have never been teammates, Webster is proud to have a relationship with the future first-rounder.

"That's my guy. That's my dude," Webster said. "He's at LSU, and I go back there and work out all the time, so that relationship is easy to have. I use the facilities, I work out with the players, so any way I can help those guys. Just information — they ask me questions, what to expect, what not to expect. I want to give them anything I (can). I got my relationship with Chad Jones, with Pat Peterson, Mo Claiborne. We always keep it close-knit at LSU. They're like my little brothers to me."

Webster refused to play NFL general manager and predict where Claiborne would be drafted, thought most draft experts have him coming off the board within the first 10 picks. In PFW draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki's first mock draft, he slotted Claiborne at No. 6 in the first round to the Redskins.

"I have no idea," Webster said. "I just hope and pray — you know it's a blessing to play in this league — so I hope and pray he's the first corner taken, he's the first DB taken, and represents LSU well."

Claiborne wasn't the only top-10 talent to be discussed by Super Bowl players. Despite being an LSU guy, Ridley spoke very highly of Alabama RB Trent Richardson.

"I don't care too much for ’Bama, I think everybody knows that," Ridley stated. "That's our rival. But a good player's a good player, regardless of what uniform he wears."

He then provided his own scouting report of PFW's No. 6-ranked prospect.

"Trent's going to be an excellent back in the NFL," Ridley said. "He runs hard. He runs with power and he has great speed. That's really the big thing. You look at backs that come out of the SEC, and I feel that if you get it done in the SEC, you can get it done in the pros. Trent has had a bulls-eye on his back ever since he got there, the same as (Mark) Ingram did, and they knew that. That was a two-headed monster, so each game that he played, they were looking for him, they were gunning for him, he still found a way to be productive. So that's the thing, he's going to get up in here in the league, and he's going to have some players around him, not that he didn't have them at Alabama, but he'll probably be in a more balanced system where he's at, and Trent will be a great back in the NFL."

Patriots DE Mark Anderson, who came out of Alabama, got into the act of amateur draft analyst, too, chiming in on some of his school's pro prospects.

"I still follow it closely," Anderson said. "(S Mark) Barron jumps out at me. I like the way he comes up and hits you. I like the way he plays — that fire and intensity that he plays with. Also, Richardson, I like the way he runs the ball. He runs hard-nosed, gets after it. He pounds it for every yard he gets. Those two really stand out to me. (LB Courtney) Upshaw, he's a good linebacker, as well. But those (first) two guys really stick out in my mind when I think about Alabama."

PFW has Barron as the No. 8-ranked player and Upshaw is currently the No. 10-ranked player.