By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
On “SportsCenter” this morning, ESPN posted the position-by-position prospect rankings for NFL Draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay.
Both have former Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor ranked No. 4 at his position — reflecting Taylor’s rise through the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. Taylor will work out for NFL scouts Thursday in Boise as part of the Broncos’ pro day.
Kiper’s top three cornerbacks are Dee Milliner (Alabama), Desmond Trufant (Washington) and Xavier Rhodes (Florida State).
McShay’s top three cornerbacks are Milliner, Trufant and Blidi Wreh-Wilson of Connecticut.
In their most recent mock drafts — done before the latest position rankings — McShay predicted three or four cornerbacks would go in the first round. Kiper had three.
Boise State has landed its first 2014 recruit — and he’s a local kid. Rachel Roberts has the news here.
Above: Tyler Rausa highlight video
POSITION REPORT: SPECIAL TEAMS
Returning starters (1 of 2): Senior punter Trevor Harman will get competition for his job from redshirt freshman Sean Wale. Harman averaged 41.2 yards per punt last season but was inconsistent and only pinned eight of his 42 kicks inside the 20-yard line. The Broncos ranked 108th in net punting — a dramatic fall from 35th in 2011.
Starters lost: PK Michael Frisina
Returning contributors: Junior kicker Dan Goodale was the starting field-goal kicker for much of his freshman year and will compete for the job against sophomore transfer Tyler Rausa. Range won’t be an issue with these two; the question is who can make kicks consistently under pressure. Goodale also replaced Harman as the kickoff specialist late last season to boot specialty kicks because the Broncos struggled to cover deep kicks. Wide receiver Matt Miller returns as the holder. Junior Kevin Keane, who spelled Chris Roberson three times last season, and junior Jake Holsteen — both walk-on transfers who joined the team last year — are competing for long snapper duties. Sophomore Shane Williams-Rhodes led the team with 13 kickoff returns last season. He and junior cornerback Bryan Douglas will compete for the job at punt returner.
Other players to watch: Boise State coaches always have liked to use running backs as kickoff returners. With decent depth this year, that’s a possibility this year.
Way-too-early projected starters: PK Rausa, P Harman, KO Harman, H Miller, LS Keane, KR Williams-Rhodes/Dallas Burroughs, PR Williams-Rhodes
41 Dan Goodale, 5-10, 193, R-Jr.
26 Tyler Rausa, 5-8, 191, So.
14 Trevor Harman, 6-3, 207, R-Sr.
18 Sean Wale, 6-1, 183, R-Fr.
50 Jake Holsteen, 6-4, 220, R-Jr.
46 Kevin Keane, 6-0, 205, Jr.
Incoming recruits: None
— Wale, who was recruited as a punter and a kicker, will continue to practice as a field-goal kicker but seems like more of a factor at punter.
— Special teams coach Scott Huff wants to see more power from Harman on kickoffs. He recorded touchbacks on 10 of 56 kicks before losing the job last year — about the same percentage as in 2011 when kickoffs were from the 30-yard line instead of the 35. “The one thing we were disappointed in was our touchback percentage,” Huff said. “We could have saved ourselves a lot with getting a few more of those during the year.”
— Coach Chris Petersen said it was “very discouraging” that coaches never got Williams-Rhodes in a game as the punt returner last season. “He was ready to go a couple games,” Petersen said. “It was frustrating, looking back on that, that we weren’t able to get him reps there.”
The Broncos are off today. I’ll have a practice report and the latest from coach Chris Petersen on Wednesday, pro day coverage Thursday and the wide receivers position report Friday.