Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2010 early NFL draft prospects 51-60

51. Arrelious Benn - A big thick tough receiver who fights for the ball, but has concentration lapses at random times even though his hands are genuinely strong. Has a good burst , with some return ability thrown in, despite not being a burner . Is a beast after the catch can run through or away from defenders, even though he isn't gonna juke the defense much. A strong willing blocker who gives good effort in the run game. Needs work on his route running and separation skills partly becuase he spent a lot of time in the slot in college. Played on a bad team with a bad QB this year, but his sophomore film shows what he can do. If not for that we think he would have been a likely 1rst rounder.- NFL comparison- Dwayne Bowe- KC

52. Devin McCourty- CB-Rutgers- A smooth cover corner who flips his hips quickly & changes directions as well as anyone in this draft class. Not the biggest guy but he throws his body around like a bigger man in run support. An excellent tackler and physical enough to shed receivers who try to block him. Runs well with receivers and comes out of breaks quickly, but could make more plays on the ball. Physical in bump and run but bigger receivers can push him around some.Good instincts in zone and that combined with his tackling ability could make him exceptional in a Tampa 2 scheme. With a little more refinement on his ball skills he could be a pro bowl level corner. Top flight special teamer in all areas with good return abilty thrown in. -NFL comparison- Richard Marshall - CAR.

53. Sean Lee- LB-Penn St.-Top level instincts make him what he is. Read and reacts better than many high level pro LB's. A better football player than athlete( although he very athletic) who lacks the fluidity of a superstar MLB, but his recognition skills make up for it, although he doesn't have sideline to sideline range. Not a consistent big hitter, but an excellent tackler. Excellent in zone coverage and reads QB's well, but isn't fast enough to stay with quicker players in man to man. Best in a 4-3 cover 2 scheme ,or maybe on the inside in a 3-4. Looks to be long term above average starter with a low floor, but his upside doesn't appear as high as the players ranked above him. -NFL comparison- Jesse Armstead-(ret)

54. Ryan Mathews- RB- Fresno ST.- A physical down hill runner that runs through contact. Hits the hole quick,almost too quick at times, as he needs to let his blockers get into position. Arm tackles have no effect and he can push the pile. Has decent speed, but isn't going to bust a lot of runs to the outside in the NFL, although he shows good speed straight ahead. When his pads are low he punishes defenders. His blocking and receiving skills improved dramatically this season, but could still use some work on both.The kind of guy who looks for contact. Can probably be productive for a power runnign team early on his career , but backs with his running style tend to flame out sooner than most. NFl comparison-Frank Gore- SF

55. Thaddeus Gibson- LB- Ohio ST. - The only reason he isn't much higher on this list is his lack of a high football IQ. If he goes to a 4-3 team it could take awhile for him to be productive anywhere but on special teams. Since we project him a 3-4 rush OLB, we think his athleticism and upside warrant a 2nd round pick. An elite athlete who fires off the ball quick when rushing the passer. A former 4-3 DE/OLB who has the frame to be a 3-4 rush backer while still adding 10-15 pounds. Fierce taking on blockers and is strong for his size, but could get stouter in the trunk . Can tackle with force, but still looks unsure in space. Although he will workout well is not a workout warrior type, as he seems to genuinely love the game . Instincts are good, but doesn't recognize offensive shifts and misdirection plays well. The combine should send him flying up draft boards- NFL comparison- Brian Orapko- WASH

56.Damian Williams- WR-Southern Cal- Another guy expected to come out early, and in his case I don't see why not. Unless he can make him self a lot faster than he looks on tape his senior year, there isn't a lot for him to work on. He's fast but not a burner top speed wise, although he separates as good as anyone in this draft, and is the best route runner of them all. Plants his foot and explodes out of his breaks. If he runs a sub 4.6 forty he's at least a 2nd round value because he will be able to get open in the NFL, but my guess is he's easily faster than that . More a quick in the short area guy, but he has some run after the catch abilty despite the lack of blazing long speed. Might also provide some return value, at the very least as a reliable punt returner in the NFL.Good hands , a high football IQ, and a low floor. Has the look of at least an above average# 2 possession receiver, but could be a # 1 with a little more physicality and speed.-NFL comparison- Steve Smith- NYG

57. Donald Butler- LB-WASH-Everything he does is smooth. Well coached with great instincts.A good athlete with excellent range . Not always stout at the point of attack taking on blockers , but he slips them well and is a natural knee bender. Explodes into the hole. Reads and reacts well and is always around the ball. Even on those rare occasions when blockers get to him he has a tendency to make the tackle down field anyway. Takes great angles and is often into the backfield before the RB is ready for him .Strong against the pass. Fluid hips and reads QB's and coverage well to jump routes, but he needs to work on his hands.Good balance and rarely out of position. Strong tackler with good form and can make the big hit when given the chance.-NFL comparison-D'Qwell Jackson- CLEV

58. Anthony McCoy- TE- Southern Cal- A polished player almost everywhere on film, although he looked better as a junior, but that could partially be due to changing QB's. A technically sound willing blocker, who probably won't pancake a lot of guys, but will get the job done. Smooth route runner with a knack for finding holes in coverage, but lacks elite separation skills. Uses his size well to shield defenders and has good hands. Average speed will keep him from being a 1rst rounder, but he runs well after the catch.Just an all around good football player, but since he lacks elite athleticism he will probably be underrated. Needs to run a good forty to get into the 2nd round.- NFL comparison- John Carlson- SEA

59. Terrence Cody-NT-Alabama- Even though he will probably only be on the field 50-60 % of the time in the NFL, "Mount" Cody is the only for sure 3-4 NT in this draft. A mammoth lane clogger, who occupies blockers vs the run and not much else. The position is so hard to fill that some 3-4 team should take him in the first 2 rounds at worst. The Chargers , Steelers and Jets all have NT's coming off injury , over 30, or both .His gas tank is subpar but when he's fresh he overpowers anybody 1 v1 ,and regularly stacks up double teams.His weight needs to be monitored ,or he could eat his way out of the league-NFL comparison- Maake Kemoeatu- CAR

60. Sean Weatherspoon-LB-Miss.- A highly athletic sideline to sideline playmaker. Read and recogniton skills are not on par for a QB of the defense. Big and physical enough to play MLB , but his technique taking on blockers needs work. If he is protected and allowed to flow to the ball he could make plays all day. A good blitzer when turned loose and this highlights his main weakness. When he is sure of what he is doing he goes for it all guns blazing, but he often is a tick late starting and only his speed makes up for it. Fluid hips and a good tackler but doesn't punish ball carrier the way he could. Excellent when dropping into coverage and his biggest hits occured here. Should at least contribute as a nickle LB and special teamer as a rookie, as he excelled in both areas at Missouri. He's a good footbal player , but a better athlete right now. Would probably fit best on the weakside at first in the NFL until he gets coached up .If his read and recognition skills matched his abilty he could be a perennial all-pro in a 4-3.So athletic you almost think he could play SS in the right system. A productive team leader and long term starter in college. His upside is Ray Lewis, but doesn't have the instincts & technique right now. -NFL comparison- DJ Williams- DEN

Monday, February 1, 2010

Top 10 players who didn't enter the 2010 NFL draft

This is list of guys who were draft eligible, but decided to go back to school. Only time will tell if they made a mistake , or if it was the right move. Either way I am sure their coaches,teammates and schools fans appreciate it.

1. Jake Locker- QB- Wash.- The possible QB draftee with the best tools this year. Has improved a lot under coach Steve Sarkasian( coached Leinert and Palmer at USC) and is in his 3rd year as a starter , although he missed a lot of time last year due to injury .A superior athlete and even a top baseball prospect. Despite his o8 injury scare he will return to school this season, and probably get even better before he has to face NFL defenses. His NFL career is better served by returning for one more year and improving in Sarkisians pro style offense, but he could have been this years toolsy type guy that usually wows someone in off season workouts and goes in the top 10. He is the early favorite for # 1 overall next year .

2. Cameron Heyward- DE- Ohio St. - A tall 4-3 end with the frame to get big enough to be a DT, or be a 3-4 end. His potential isn't as great as Carlos Dunlaps, but his motor is better and he is a more complete player already . Physical and fierce with NFL bloodlines( dad is Ironhead Heyward) . Great balance and agility. Polished pass rusher who uses his hands well to crate leverage. Dominant all along the line of scrimmage as a junior.

3. Bruce Carter- OLB- N. Carolina- Might have been the 1rst LB drafted if he had come out this year, but he and a lot of his teammates all decided to make another go of it. I sincerely hope it works out better for them than it did for the Oklahoma guys this season. He announced his intentions early on , so we haven't done as much work scouting him yet. Preliminary reports are he is a sideline to sideline guy who knows his responsibilities well. Also has the frame to add more weight and still keep that speed, and he would need to get bigger to project to a 3-4 rush backer.Right now he just lloks like a 4-3 guy though.

4. Ras-I Dowling- CB-VA. Tech.- A big strong, physical cover corner. Looks to have good speed,and is fluid for a big man. Also a solid citizen and nasty tackler.

5. Marvin Austin-DT-UNC- A lot of double teams have kept his numbers down, but he's the real deal. Can play either 3-4 end or 4-3 DT. Strong at the point and plays with good leverage. High motor and good hands. Multiple pass rush moves, but is more of a pressure player than a major sack threat currently. In a normal year where there wasn't such a ridiculous amount of D-Line talent, I think he would have gone top 2o, but this D-line class was so deep he might have slipped to the 2nd round. If he keeps getting better he might be a top 5 pick next year.

6. Gabe Carimi- OT- Wisconsin- A mammoth man with a mean streak. A better run blocker than pass blocker right now, but he has a year to prove he has the feet to play the blindside. Kind of reminds me of Jake Long . If he can make the progress Long made between his Jr .and senior years, he could be the 1rst OT taken in next years draft.

7. Ryan Mallett- QB- Arkansas- His bad showing in the liberty bowl probably was the clincher for returning to school. A big strong armed guy who reminds me of a less accurate Joe Flacco. If he can get his completion percentage in the mid 60's (and keep his pick rate low again )he could look a franchise QB .

8.Greg Romeus- DE- Pittsburgh- A phenomenal athlete with a huge frame,who is still learning how to play football. His upside was so high he still would have been a 1rst rounder this year. Lives in the opposing backfield when turned loose.A lot like Jason Paul- Pierre .

9. Von Miller- OLB/DE- Texas A&M- looks like a 3/4 OLB ,as he plays a hybrid position now. Led the nation in sacks and still went back to school. Probably the most surprising returnee in our eyes.Its doubtful his stock would be higher next year, but maybe he knows something we don't.Unless he adds a lot of muscle, or isn't as big( 6"2'-240 lbs.) as he was listed now, this was the best time to enter the draft.

10. Christian Ponder- QB- FLA. ST.- A late season injury made his return likely. His offense is pro ready, and he improved a lot this season. If he gets time he can light up a defense. Athletic and can make some plays with his feet as well. His size is a question mark right now, so another year to get taller and heavier couldn't hurt his stock.