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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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April 30, 2008 9:22 AM

Pac-10 lighter next year?

Posted by Bob Condotta

The general consensus is that the Pac-10 won't be as strong in 2008 as it was in 2007, and that could be reflected come the NFL Draft next April.

ESPN's Todd McShay hasthis mock draft for next year that includes just four Pac-10 players in the first round. Six were taken this year.

And once again, it's USC dominating things.

The Trojans had four first-rounders this year, and in McShay's draft they would have three next year, including a surprise with the top pick, DT Fili Moala, a player a lot of people have probably barely even heard of.

Believe it or not, he didn't even get one vote from a conference coach for the All-Pac-10 team last year (meaning he didn't earn honorable mention).

And the USC spring press guide isn't exactly effusive in its praise of Moala, writing that he
"should be in the lineup for his third season'' and including quote from the usually hyperbolic Pete Carroll that he is "a solid performer inside.''

But I've seen other 2009 mock drafts list Moala pretty high, as well, so sounds like he's one of those guys with a lot of potential who has simply been a bit overshadowed so far at USC --- he had 32 tackles, 5.5 for a loss last season).

If that seems a reach, the other two USC players on the list are not --- linebackers Rey Maualuga and Brian Cushing, who each have the distinction of having already won Rose Bowl MVP honors.

The other Pac-10 player listed is Oregon OT Max Unger, part of a strong Ducks' offensive line. Combine that with 235-pound running back LaGarrette Blount, and we can already see what Oregon's strategy figures to be against UW come Aug. 30 --- run up the middle and run some more until that young UW line proves it can stop it.

Speaking of the draft, here's a list from the Pac-10 with conference players highlighted.

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