Don Heinrich, who publishes a book rating college football players, says his data is based on pro scouts' ratings of 240 top prospects. The key:
5-Player is a "can't miss" prospect with the talent to start immediately on most NFL teams.
4-Player is a solid prospect with the ability to become a starter within two to three years.
3-Player is a legitimate prospect who has enough skills to make many NFL rosters.
2-Player is a marginal prospect capable of making some NFL teams.
1-Player has only a minimal chance of making any pro team.
0-player is not regarded as an NFL prospect.
The only player in this year's draft to get a "5" grading is place kicker-punter Russell Erxleben of Texas.
Those receiving a 4.9 grading at their positions were guard Greg Roberts of Oklahoma, defensive end Don Smith of Miami. Fla., and outside Linebacker Jerry Robinson of UCLA. MidCle Linebacker Tom Cousineau of Ohio State was graded 4.8.
Other high graders include:
QUARTERBACK-Jack Thompson. Washington State. 4.0. HALFBACK-Charles Alexander, Louisiana State, 4.6. FULLBACK-Greg Hawthorne. Baylor, 3.9. WIDE RECEIVER-Jerry Butler, Clemson, 4.4. TIGHT END Kellen Winslow, Missouri, 4.6. CENTER-Dave Huffman. Notre Dame, 4.4. OFFENSIVE TACKLE-Keith Dorney. Penn State. 4.6. DEFENSIVE TACKLE-Mike Bell, Colorado State. 4.8. CORNERBACK-Charles Johnson, Grambling, 3.8. SAFETY-Jeff Nixon. Richmond, 3.3. PLACEKICKER-Ton Franklin. Texas A&M, 4.5. PUNTER-Rick Partridge, Utah. 3.6.
Two Maryland players were graded. Fullback Steve Atkins got a 3.8. with the comments. "Atkins finally put a full season under his belt and exhibited the ability everyone suspected he had.
"A college tailback, who many scouts project as a fullback, he's a powerful runner with speed, quick feet, moves and balance. He can also block. He might go a little later than his ability warrants because of his health record. He should be drafted in the second or third round."
Of defensive tackle Charlie Johnson, graded 3.6. is the comment, "He reminds some observers of Rubin Carter of Denver. Built like a fireplug he's very quick, strong and has excellent lateral mobility. Ideal candidate for a pro nose tackle. He'll be drafted in about the third round."