To qualify for consideration, players must
Be in the second, third or fourth year of their pro career
Have been drafted in Rounds 3 to 7 or signed as an undrafted free agent
Have started fewer than five career games in the NFL
Still on their rookie contract
Here is some of what Barnwell says of Ford, who ranks second:
"He didn't start a game after getting three starts in 2008. He still showed signs of being a terrifying pass rusher, though, picking up 5.5 sacks, eight hits and 10 hurries as a situational pass rusher. Despite seeing far less time, Ford had as many Defeats -- plays which stop the opposition from getting a first down on third or fourth down, stops behind the line of scrimmage or forcing a fumble or interception -- as starter Kyle Vanden Bosch (13). Vanden Bosch has gone to Detroit, which opens up a spot on the defensive line. Ford's still a work in progress against the run, which may prevent him from claiming the starting job, but it's impossible to keep him off opposing quarterbacks. By the end of the year, we figure that Ford will be the man in Tennessee."
(Here's a look at the AFC South's excellent showing in the list of prospects 11-25.)
Barnwell also ranks all 32 NFL teams in terms of prospects -- these are based on all players who will be 25 or younger on Sept. 1.
He ranks Houston first, Tennessee 12th, Indianapolis 14th and Jacksonville 15th.
Of the Texans, he says:
"Houston is an organization at the peak of its developmental work. General manager Rick Smith doesn't get much attention nationwide, but since he took over for Charlie Casserly in 2006, it's hard to find anyone who's identified and acquired young talent as well as Smith has.”