Monday, January 18, 2010

Top 5 early prospects at each postion- DEFENSE

D-line-With so many guys being possible 3-4 converts I thought it would be wise to split them up into each scheme and rank them accordingly. Some players may be ranked in more than one scheme category. Workouts and all star games will sort out what guys teams think can be converted and how quickly. but this is my preliminary estimate. The D-line is the deepest area of the draft this season, with 10-14 players that will probably go in the first 2 rounds on the D-line alone . A lot of guys who can rush the passer from somewhere.

4-3 DT- A deep class with 2 probable top 5 picks and anywhere from 3 to 6 players likely to go in the 1rst round this year. The come in all shapes, sizes , scheme diversity, and many may be able to play 3- 4 end as well. Add that 6 of them are 1rst round talents, and 8 are possible in the first 2 rounds, and it makes this a really good year if you need a DT.

1. Ndamukong Suh- Neb.- Kevin Williams- Minn.
2. Gerald McCoy- Okla.- Tommie Harris- CHI.
3. Brian Price-UCLA- Sedrick Ellis- Southern Cal
4.-tie- Dan Williams -Tenn.- B J Raji- GB
4.-tie- Aurthur Jones--Syracuse- Jay Ratliff -DALL
5.-tie-Jared Odrick- Penn St.- Aaron Smith- PITT
5.-tie- D'Anthony Smith- La. Tech- Darnell Dockett- AZ

3/4 NT- Probably the hardest position to fill on the defensive line.The different types of 3-4 make it possible to have smaller guys at the nose these days, but their just aren't a lot of Albert Haynesworth's , Haloti Ngata's, and Shaun Rogers in the world.

1. Terence Cody- ALA.- Maake Kemoeatu- CAR
2. Brian Price- UCLA- Sedrick Ellis- Southern Cal
3. Dan Williams -Tenn.- B J Raji- GB
4. Ekom Udofia- Stanford- Sione Pouha- JETS
5.-tie- Cam Thomas- NC- Jason Ferguson - MIA
5.-tie- Al Woods - LSU- Johnny Jolly- GB

4-3 DE's-A lot of college DE's are just too small right now to be more than situational pass rushers and must either get bigger or switch to OLB. 2-way 4-3 DE's are getting increasingly harder to find.

1. Derrick Morgan- DE- GA. Tech.-Justin Tuck- NYG
2. Jason Pierre-Paul-DE- S. FLA- Jevon Kearse- TENN
3. Everson Griffen-DE-Southern Cal-Shaun Ellis-NYJ
4. Corey Wootton- DE- Ohio St.- Justin Smith- SF
5. Brandon Graham- DE- Mich.- LaMarr Woodley-PITT

3/4 Ends- Often the smartest players on the D-line. The guys who can hold the point against some double teams, rush the passer, and dominate 1 v 1.

1. Ndamukong Suh-DT- Neb.- Kevin Williams- Minn.
2. Carlos Dunlap-DE-FLA- Julius Peppers- CAR
3. Jared Odrick- DT- Penn St.- Aaron Smith- PITT
4. Everson Griffen-DE-Southern Cal-Shaun Ellis-NYJ
5.-tie- Aurthur Jones-DT -Syracuse- Jay Ratliff -DALL
5.-tie- Corey Wootton- DE-NWestern- Justin Smith- SF

3/4 OLB- Highly athletic, speedy and often undersized college DE's usually make this transition. Need to not only be able to rush the passer, but drop into coverage.

1. Sergio Kindle- Tex.-Clay Mathews- GB
2. Ricky Sapp- Clem.-Jason Taylor- MIA
3. Jason Pierre-Paul- S. FLA- Jevon Kearse- TENN
4.-tie- Thaddeus Gibson- Ohio. St.-Brian Orapko- WASH
4.-tie- Brandon Graham- DE- Mich.- LaMarr Woodley-PITT
5.-tie-O'brien Schofield- WISC.- Derrick Burgess- NE
5.-tie-George Selvie- Kameron Wimbley- CLEV
5.-tie-Jerry Hughes-TCU-Robert Mathis - INDY

CB- One premier player and a lot of talent, but all but Joe Haden have some questions.A lot of possible value in the bottom of the first and top of the 2nd round. Still possibly a deep position this year though.

1. Joe Haden- FLA-Nate Clements- SF
2. Patrick Robinson-FLA. St.- Leodis McKelvin -BUFF
3. Kyle Wilson- Boise St.- Mike Jenkins- DALL
4. Parrish Cox- OKLA St.- Vontae Davis- MIA
4. Devin McCourty- Rutgers- Richard Marshall- CAR
5. Myron Lewis- Vandy- Rashean Mathis - JAX
5. Kareem Jackson- ALA.- Lito Sheppard- JETS

Safety- A very versatile deep class at the top with probably 6-8 guys going off the board in the first 2 rounds. As close to a surefire pro bowler that a draft can have in Berry. Some of these guys can play both safety positions. Some might be able to play corner , and Mays could probably play LB.

1. Eric Berry- Tenn.- Ed Reed- Balt.
2. Earl Thomas- TEX- Brandon Meriweather- NE
3. Taylor Mays- Southern Cal- Sean Taylor- WASH-( deceased)
4. Nate Allen- S. FLA- Tanard Jackson- TB
5. Chad Jones- LSU- Adrian Wilson- AZ

ILB- These guys are generally the QB's of the defense. Leadership, high football IQ's and toughness are necessary. Not usually a high priority in the draft, but here are a couple of possible 1rst rounders this year.Some college Outside LB's listed here becuase I think they could also play inside with some time there.

1. Rolando McClain- ALA- Karlos Dansby- AZ
2. Brandon Spikes- FLA.- James Farrior -Pitt.
3. Navarro Bowman- Penn St.- Ernie Sims- DET
4.-tie- Sean Weatherspoon- Missouri- DJ Williams- DEN
4.-tie- Sean Lee- Penn St.-Jesse Armstead-(ret)
5.-tie-Donald Butler- D'Qwell Jackson- CLEV
5.-tie- Daryl Washington - TCU- Nick Barnett- GB

4-3 OLB- Usually speedy guys that can cover. Some weak side OLB's are like big safeties. Some strong side backers are DE size and need to take on a lot of blocks.

1. Navarro Bowman- Penn St. - Ernie Sims- DET
2. Sergio Kindle- Texas- Clay Mathews- GB
3. Sean Weatherspoon- Missouri - DJ Williams- DEN
4. Sean Lee- Penn St. -Lofa Tatupu- SEA
5.-tie- D'Qwell Jackson- CLEV
5.-tie- Taylor Mays- USC- Sean Taylor- WASH-( deceased)

Early NFL Mock Draft Top 10

1. Sam Bradford- QB- OKLA- Rams
All the talk about Suh makes sense. He is a far more sure thing than Bradford, considering his injury history, but franchise QB's are harder to find than stud DT's. With all the depth at DT this year ,the likelihood that they can still get a 1rst round grade DT at the top of the second in this draft, and the return of former 1rst rounder Adam Carriker( injured all last year) at DT ;Bradford makes the most sense. If he's healthy it's the smart thing to do .We think he will be and will wow people with his touch and accuracy in his workouts.

2, Ndamukong Suh- DT - Nebraska- Lions
I really think there smartest move would be to protect the new franchise QB Stafford with Russel Okung. Jeff Backus is just a serviceable LT, but he would be an above average RT. It would also allow them to move Gosder Cherilus inside to( Peterman is a tad below average there) RG ,since he has shown he does not have the feet to play RT currently. That's 3 positions upgraded at once. However Suh is a beast , they have a huge need at DT, and Backus is still serviceable. If any of this years LT prospects were as ranked as high as Joe Thomas was when he was drafted then I think they would take the LT, but not even Okung grades out that high right now. Suh is the surer thing and a great pick regardless.

3. Gerald McCoy - DT- OKLA- Buccaneers
If the rams do take Suh ,then I expect McCoy to go to Detroit. In this scenario he falls to Tampa Bay. You have to get pressure and penetration with your front 4 to run the Tampa 2, and their defense improved late in the season when they they went back to it. Starting DT's Chris Hovan and Ryan Sims will be 32 and 30 to start the season. They combined for only one and a half sacks last year. Not only would McCoy be a huge upgrade there, but his inside pressure would help there emerging DE's.

4. Russell Okong- OT- Okla.St. - Redskins
If ever a team needed O-lineman its the redskins. Mike Shannahan likes to run the zone blocking scheme . He can then get by with smaller , smarter, and quicker( i.e. cheaper and later drafted) lineman. However he has always preferred a high level LT. From HOFer Gary Zimmerman to Ryan Clady , Shannahan has shown he values these guys. Since Okung reminds of us Clady , the redskins desperately need young O-lineman, and the possible retirement of Chris Samuels, this makes the most sense of any pick in the 1rst round. If Bradford is still there when Washington picks all redskins fans should pray that Shannahan is the guy really making the decisions. Bradford would not survive behind this line, but Daniel Snyder might not be "football smart" enough to know that if he's the guy calling the shots. Add that Jason Campbell( or any other QB) deserves the chance to see what they could do with a good O-line and just pray Shanny gets his way.

5. Eric Berry - SS- Tennessee-Chiefs
A rare player and a perfect fit for the chiefs defense if he is still available when they pick. Scott Pioli( former patriots personnell guru) makes the decisions here. Ed Reed is well regarded in New England. Since Berry reminds us of Ed Reed I am betting he will remind Pioli of him too. If they are stuck paying a pick this high I think they will want the surest thing this draft has to offer,and that's Eric Berry.Okung would be thiee dream scenario, but I don't see any other OT being worth this pick right now.

6. Jimmy Clausen- QB- Notre Dame- Seahawks
They could go LT,as Walter Jones return is still a bit questionable, but one of them( basically any OT not named Okung isn't worth this pick right now) would have to really step up in the pre-draft process to justify this high a pick. Otherwise they are over drafting .Its a decent bet incoming head coach Pete Carrolls USC LT Charles Brown will be there in the 2nd. Matt Hasselbeck is nearing the end of his career.Clausen was highly recruited by Carroll out of high school and he has played him every year. He knows what he can do and this time he can get him. If Clausen isn't under 6"2" (and his attitude doesn't piss off teams) I think he goes in the top 10 and this is the most likely spot for him. Derrick Morgan would fit as well as they desperately need pass rush help.

7. Dez Bryant- WR- Okla. ST.- Browns
I think they will trade down if they can, but teams will be wary of whats looking to be the last big rookie pool , unless a new collective bargaining agreement gets done before the draft. If Berry, McCoy or Suh fell this far I think they would sprint to the podium ,but that's unlikely right now. This offense needs playmakers badly. The trade of Braylon Edwardss, the possible holdout/trade of Josh Cribbs, and the faint chance of them taking any RB this high makes Bryant the most likely pick. He's clearly the # 1 receiver right now and this may not even be a reach. The other huge need is a 3-4 rush OLB. Unless one really wows everyone in the pre-draft process I don't see any of them being worth this pick right now. With Morgan clearly being a better fit in a 4-3 at present, then Bryant is their best choice. Joe Haden would be good as well, but isn't as big a need.

8. Anthony Davis-OT -Rutgers-Raiders
You never know what ridiculous thing Al Davis is going to do in the draft , but he loves high upside guys, and Anthony Davis has it. He will also probably work out well and Al loves that. Add that the raiders desperately need a LT and this makes "raider sense" . That basically means they will probably overdraft a guy with great talent and ability , but question marks on/off the field. They could also go after Dunlap or Pierre-Paul, as both will probably workout great, and have a huge upside. All 3 have big question marks though, which screams raiders. Bruce Campbell and Taylor Mys are both dark horses, but they have a lot less good tape than Davis.

9. Trent Williams- OT-OKLA- Bills
We really think this would be a mistake but a lot of people think this guy can play LT in the NFL right now. Even if he can't ,he will probably still be a reliable( if unspectacular) starter at RT or a guard position. My advice would be to take Bruce Campbell, or even Brian Bulaga if they are going to reach for a LT, but trading down and taking one makes more sense. If Clausen or Bradford( they would definitely grab Sam) fall here they might be the pick , or they could actually trade up for either. Derrick Morgan would be nice if they stick to a 4-3 , but there is talk of them going 3-4 next year.

10. Joe Haden- CB-FLA-Broncos
They really need Dez Bryant, with the likely trade of Brandon Marshall, but Haden is a steal this late. Champ Bailey will be in his 12th season next year and a move to safety might come in couple of years , although he still plays CB at a high level now. Andre Goodman( 31 years old himself) is serviceable but if Haden is there( and Bryants gone) they have to take him. It would be the best player available, immediately strengthen their defense, and be a strong move for the future.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 NFL draft 1rst round selection order as of the end of the regular season

1. St. Louis - 1-15
2.Detroit - 2-14
3. Tampa Bay - 3-13
4. Washington - 4-12
5. Kansas City - 4-12
6. Seattle - 5-11
7. Cleveland - 5-11
8. Oakland - 5-11
9. Buffalo - 6-10
10/11. (tie coin flip) Denver -(from the Bears) 7-9
10/11. (tie coin flip)JacksonVille - 7-9
12. Miami - 7-9
13. San Francisco - 8-8
14. Seattle (from the Broncos) - 8-8
15. N.Y. Giants - 8-8
16/17.(tie coin flip) Tennessee - 8-8
16/17.(tie con flip) San Fran (from the Panthers)- 8-8
18. Pittsburgh - 9-7
19/20.(tie coin flip) Atlanta - 9-7
19/20.(tie coin flip) Houston - 9-7

playoff teams- order yet to be determined

21. New York Jets - 9-7
22. Baltimore - 9-7
23. Arizona - 10-6
24. Cincinnati - 10-6
25. New England - 10-6
26. Green Bay - 11-5
27. Philadelphia - 11-5
28. Dallas - 11-5
29. Minnesota - 12-4
30. San Diego - 13-3
31. New Orleans - 13-3
32. Indianapolis - 14-2

2010 Early NFL draft prospects 41-50

41. Rob Gronkowski-TE-AZ- The only reason he is this low is he missed the season with a serious injury. If Gresham and Gronkowski were both healthy it would be a toss up for who was drafted first. A big strong guy who can run over the opposition or explode into the open field after the catch. Great hands and explodes out of his break. A willing blocker and usually gets the job done, but he needs more coaching in this area, as his angles aren't always sound . Good long speed and quick in the short area.His potential is great but back injuries are a huge red flag.A team with a lot of extra picks (and a need at TE like NE) might pull the trigger in the 2nd on him ,if he checks out medically. -NFL comparison- Jason Witten- DALL

42. Corey Wootton- DE- NWestern. - A tall 4-3 end with the frame to get big enough and be a 3-4 end if he adds a little more weight , but some think him a 3-4 OLB candidate, . I he really is 6 ft. "7" there is little chance of him being a 3-4 LB, as I have heard some people say , and he doesn't look quick enough on film anyway. Came back from a major knee injury( torn ACL) last year and that's the only reason I think he drops into the 2nd round. Also had a neck injury as a freshman, and an ankle in jury this year, but returned to form after all 3 .A team leader and a smart player who reads & reacts well, who can hold the POA well 1 v 1, although he could hold the point even better if he bulked up some more. Better at trying to shoot gaps and go around his blocker. Needs to keep his pads low with more consistency and doesn't do as well against the double team. Multiple moves rushing the passer on the outside, but nothing special in his first step and closing speed . If he does pack on some more mass and become a 3-4 end he would also be able to move inside on passing downs.Has a good motor everywhere, but doesn't look like a superstar type.I think he will be a productive player in the NFL if used right .The only question is at what position and in what scheme. -NFL comparison- Justin Smith- SF

43. Brandon Graham- MICH.-DE/OLB-Led the nation in tackles for a loss and spends a lot of time in the opposing backfield. A heady player who reads and reacts right away, and who knows his responsibilities. Great motor and a low center of gravity. Combined with his excellent use of leverage and great hands, he controls his man right off the bat. Stacks and sheds well and can hold the Point. Brings a lot of pressure as a pass rusher and he will keep coming till the whistle blows regardless. If no ones open he can get hustle sacks because he won't give up on a play. Will dominate weaker opponents when rushing , but can get locked out against better blockers. Might be able to play strong side 3-4 OLB as well .An overachiever who gets the most out of what he has and could probably play either 4-3 end. Team leader with a strong work ethic who has played a lot against top competition. Lack of height could hurt him with some teams, but he is a really good football player.
NFL comparison- LaMarr Woodley- PITT

44. Kyle Wilson- CB- Boise St. - Smooth and fluid in his backpedal and transition. Flips his hips as quick as anyone in this draft class and breaks on the ball quickly. A man to man cover corner with good speed and the cockiness that implies. Uses the sideline well as an extra defender. Locates the ball quickly in zone , but can get caught peeking into the backfield too much, and will occasionally bite on fakes trying to jump the route. Can get out-physicalied by bigger receivers, but is aggressive in bump and run. Run support improved this year but still isn't aggressive enough in this are, and needs a lot of improvement as a tackler.Excellent special teamer and provides return ability as well. -NFL comparison- Mike Jenkins- DALL

45. Everson Griffen-DE-Southern Cal- If he really is the 280 he's listed at he could be a 3-4 weakside end, but on tape he looks fast enough to be a 3-4 OLB. If he's closer to 260 that might be where he ends up. Either way he can be a 4-3 end. Motor is inconsistent and he will probably be a workout warrior type. Those guys are usually also your boom or bust types as well, so I wouldn't take him before the 2nd round , but some team that loves these guys will probably take him in the 1rst . When he's on he's a force, but he takes plays off. Was a situational pass rusher as a sophomore and could start out there in the pros, but the sky's the limit if he has the heart and dedication to reach for it. Strong enough to stack and shed in the run game, but doesn't always play with leverage. If he's beat he tends give up too quick in the run or passing game. Has the speed to chase backside but doesn't always do it. In the end if he works out the way I think he will ,and with his upside being so high , someone will probably take him in round 1. Highly unlikely that he would slip past the raiders in round 2. His inconsistent play & motor knock him down to a mid 2nd rounder in our eyes though.- NFL comparison-Shaun Ellis-NYJ

46.Vladimir DuCasse-G- UMASS- Some will think he can play LT in the NFL someday , and that may get him over drafted, but he is too slow footed to ever do so at a high level. While he can't play LT , he does have intriguing athleticism for such a big man. He could maybe play RT soon , and probably either guard spot already. Strong with long arms and plays to the whistle, but he could be nastier. Still raw recognizing stunts and his technique is inconsistent. Needs to get used to a 3 point stance. Immigrated to the US 7 years ago and football is still relatively new to him compared to most top prospects, who start playing in grade school. He's an unfinished product but his upside is high,and if he goes to the right team he could be a steal in the second round, but don't expect a lot of immediate results unless he plays guard. -NFL comparison- Vernon Carey- MIA

47. Perrish Cox-CB- OKLA ST.- A tall press cover corner who's recent discipline issues probably knocked him out of the 1rst round, despite his ideal measuraables. Tall and long armed , but has inconsistent hands for the pick. Willing in run support, but his technique taking on blocks and tackling needs work.Has return value and looks to have good speed, but isn't as fluid coming out of the break as he could be . Mostly it looks like his technique in all areas needs work. That's usually a sign of bad coaching or being hard to coach.Has good instincts and reads coverage & QB's well in zone . Right now he's getting by on athletic ability and in some cases instincts ,but at the next level he will have to be coached up to be a reliable starter.Overall he is just inconsistent. Teams have to ask themselves if it can be coached into him and if he really wants it too. Was considered a burgeoning leader until his suspension for his final bowl game for missing curfew, but that is a big red flag and his timing could not have been worse. Barring anymore red flags some NFL team will probably take him in the 2nd round with the belief that he will realize his potential. He could get back in the 1rst with a great off season in this CB class, but the pre- draft process will be crucial to him repairing his image and anymore slip ups could lead to him being a 3rd rounder.-NFL comparison- Vontae Davis- MIA

48. George Selvie DE/OLB - S. FLA.- A quick first step and surprisingly strong for someone so lean. Has faced a lot of double teams in college, and his production on the stat sheet has declined 2 years running, but he still makes his presence felt.Has put on weight every year in college ,and played pretty well when they played a higher level of competition, but still needs to get bigger. A burst around the edge and a bull rush seem to be his primary pass rush moves, so he will need to be coached up some.His best options would probably be to go to a 3-4 team and learn to be a rush linebacker,but it will take time for him to adjust. Probably just a situational pass rusher and special teamer as a rookie. Has improved against the run, but still needs more sand in his pants to hold the point of attack, although he battles all the way . Plays fierce and has a top notch motor. Is a leader with a strong work ethic and the type of player who keeps improving till he hits his ceiling, but that ceiling may not be far away as some others. - Kameron Wimbley- CLEV

49.Nate Allen - FS- S. FLA.- A smart player who always seems to be around the ball ,and a student of the game who has earned a leadership role. Rarely gets beat, but if he does he recovers quickly. Physical in coverage and run support, but could wrap up better at times, although he is a punishing hitter. Can be a bit overaggressive at times, but makes a lot of big plays with that aggression. Could play either safety postion, but he's the kind of guy you want being your last line of defense. Can cover RB's and TE's but lacks the long speed to run with burner receivers down field. Great read and recognition skills and is a ballhawk who can jump routes. Generally takes good angles and breaks on the ball with a will.-NFL comparison - Tanard Jackson- TB

50. Tim Tebow-QB- FLA.-Will be successful somehow in the NFL, even it's not as a QB. If he goes to the right team ,with the patience to use him to run the wildcat, play some H-Back, and basically have a Kordell Stewart-Slash-type role for awhile he may actually develop into a starting NFL QB. Right now unless you run the spread option offense he wouldn't have lot of chance to succeed as a QB in the NFL,and no ones body could take the type of hits he would receive in that offense for long. Has a long delivery, a inconsistent release, needs to learn to make more than 2 reads , and only average accuracy currently. With the NFL having smaller windows to throw in he needs a lot of coaching in a NFL offense, with a NFL QB coach. Is big strong fast athletic QB with the heart of champion. A team leader , great person,and a winner in college. Strong runner with a TE"s body but the hits he takes in the NFL will be a lot harder. His arm strength is questionable becuase of how he throws. When he winds up and sets his feet he shows a strong arm, but will his arm be as strong with a normal delivery? Despite all the negatives he's the type of guy who will work as hard as he needs to succeed somewhere. At the very least I think he will be a Chris Cooley type H-back, although a better blocker, with the abilty to run some interesting sub packages . At best he could be Donovan McNabb with time and coaching. My best description would be if DR. Moreau used the DNA of Donovan Mcnabb , with a splash of Randall Cunningham( for the delivery), and a smidgen of Kordell Stewart for the versatility, to make a baby in futuristic lab somewhere: and he turned out to be a left handed White guy?- he would be Tim Tebow. - NFL comparison- Donovan McNabbb- PHIL