Now that the 2006 NFL draft is in the books, it's time to take a look forward to next year's class. The following is a sneak peek at my initial list of the top 12 senior prospects for the 2007 draft:
1. Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
By returning to school for another season, Quinn avoided the logjam of quarterbacks that was atop the 2006 draft board. He also should benefit from another season of tutelage under head coach Charlie Weis, who performed magic with sixth-round pick Tom Brady as coordinator of the New England Patriots. Quinn enters his fourth season as a starter at Notre Dame and boasts an impressive blend of arm strength, size and leadership skills. If his coverage reads and prudence continue to progress at a similar pace in 2006, Quinn could become the top pick in next year's draft.
2. Joe Thomas, OT, Wisconsin
Thomas was rumored to be leaning toward leaving school early for the 2006 draft, for which he projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick. But his decision was made easy when he suffered a right knee injury in Wisconsin's win over Auburn in the Capital One Bowl. Coincidentally, the injury occurred while he was subbing in as a defensive tackle along the Badgers' injury-riddled defensive line. If Thomas can return to form after offseason rehabilitation, he could become the top offensive lineman off next year's draft board.