Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The draft is less than 24 hours away and many things have changed since my last mock draft. This will also include the second round which should be very interesting this year as team’s now can think about potential trades overnight. Regardless of what happens, it is going to be a very exciting weekend for football fans everywhere.
1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma: The Rams are in a situation similar to what the Lions were in last year. While Aaron Curry was considered to be the best player, the team went with quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first pick instead. While Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy are considered the best players in the draft, it is hard to pay a defensive tackle that much money when you are in need of a quarterback at this time in the NFL. At this time, it looks like Bradford will be the pick.
2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh DT Nebraska: After adding Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams, many feel that Russell Okung should be the pick here. However Jim Schwartz knows how important defensive tackles are and can’t afford to pass up a prospect like Suh that comes along once a decade.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy DT Oklahoma: The Bucs will be ecstatic if one of the top tackles falls to them and regardless of it is Suh or McCoy they will be the pick.
4. Washington Redskins: Russell Okung T Oklahoma State: After a shocking trade that landed Donovan McNabb, it doesn’t appear that Jimmy Clausen would be an option anymore. With the retirement of Chris Samuels, the Redskins are in need of a left tackle and will have a tough decision. Trent Williams is a possibility as some feel he better in Mike Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme. He does have a few questions that remain to be answered so Okung would be the safe pick here.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Bryan Bulaga T Iowa: Even though Jamaal Charles managed to run for more than 1000 yards last year, the Chiefs offensive line struggled allowing over 40 sacks. Bulaga is a solid player who could come in right away and start opposite 2008 first rounder Branden Albert. The Chiefs could also go with Eric Berry here and possibly Russell Okung if the Redskins select Trent Williams.
6. Seattle Seahawks: Trent Williams T Oklahoma: The Seahawks have really struggled on the offensive line the past few years and are in search of Walter Jones’ replacement. Williams has shot up draft boards the past few weeks with his size and athleticism and would fit the mold the Seahawks are looking for.
7. Cleveland Browns: Eric Berry S Tennessee: After acquiring Sheldon Brown in a trade, the Browns are no longer in the market for a cornerback in the first round. Berry is the best player on the board at this point and in a division where Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed have made such an impact, it’s hard to pass him up.
8. Oakland Raiders: Bruce Campbell T Maryland: Many people have Jason Pierre-Paul going here but as impressive as his 13 straight back flips on youtube are to Al Davis, he won’t be the pick. While Davis loves physical specimen, he usually goes after them by need and after franchising Richard Seymour they aren’t in the need for a pass rusher. However, the team does need a tackle which is where Campbell with his 6’6 314 pound frame to go with his 36 ¼ inch arms and 4.85 forty time fit in to the team’s plans. Trent Williams is also a possibility if he falls here along with Anthony Davis who has the talent but has his fair share of concerns.
9. Buffalo Bills: CJ Spiller RB Clemson: Every year it seems like there is a surprise pick in the top ten. The Bills have much bigger needs on the offensive line and at quarterback where Jimmy Clausen is still on the board. While Fred Jackson played very well last year, the team is willing to trade Marshawn Lynch. Chan Gailey has also said that he wants to draft a “water bug” that has big play potential. Nobody in this draft has more big play potential than Spiller who has seen his stock rise in the past few weeks. Along with Clausen, Anthony Davis and Dan Williams are also possibilities with this pick.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Joe Haden CB Florida: This could possibly be the hardest pick to predict in the 1st round. The Jaguars would love to trade down and acquire more draft picks which could be possible if a team covets Jimmy Clausen. If they use the pick, the Jaguars will draft the best available player which could very well be Haden, the top cornerback in this year’s draft. Rashean Mathis is also getting older and you can never have enough corners when you play Peyton Manning and Andre Johnson a combined four times a year.
11. Denver Broncos: Rolando McClain LB Alabama: After the Brandon Marshall trade, Dez Bryant could be a target here but the way the Marshall saga ended he could scare them off The Broncos have a big need at inside linebacker and McClain could come right in and fill it. Dan Williams and Earl Thomas could also be possibilities here.
12. Miami Dolphins: Dan Williams DT Tennessee: After trading for Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant is no longer a possibility. The Dolphins are very weak up front and Williams is the best nose tackle in the draft that could come in and make an early impact. With the departure of both Joey Porter and Jason Taylor, Jason Pierre-Paul could be a possibility here as he is athletic enough to play outside linebacker.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Jimmy Clausen QB Notre Dame: With two first round picks the 49ers can afford to take the risk on Clausen as it is no sure thing that Alex Smith is the answer.
14. Seattle Seahawks: Derrick Morgan DE Georgia Tech: With the retirement of Patrick Kearney, the Seahawks suddenly have a need for a pass rusher. While Jason Pierre-Paul is awfully tempting, Morgan is more of a sure thing and could come in and contribute right away. Taylor Mays is also a possibility here as he addresses a need and was coached by Pete Carroll at USC.
15. New York Giants: Mike Iupati G Idaho: The Giants would love for Rolando McClain to fall here but Iupati isn’t a bad consolation price. He is a versatile player and the Giants offensive line is getting older and could use some depth. Jason Pierre-Paul and Sean Weatherspoon are also possibilities here.
16. Tennessee Titans: Jason Pierre-Paul DE USF: The Titans dream scenario has come true. Not only is the player who is arguably the best player at his position still on the board, but he has the athleticism that will remind some of a young Jevon Kearse. If Pierre-Paul is off the board, two players who could be considered here are Brandon Graham and Kyle Wilson.
17.San Francisco 49ers: Kyle Wilson CB Boise State: Wilson has been receiving a lot of hype lately and he could go even higher than this. The 49ers aren’t very deep at corner and when you have to face Larry Fitzgerald twice a year, it never hurts to have physical corners. Anthony Davis is also a possibility as the offensive line could use some help as well.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Maurkice Pouncey C Florida: The Steelers offensive line has been a weak spot but Pouncey could help fix that. This is a little high for a center, but Pouncey is the real deal and could go even higher than this. A corner such as Kyle Wilson if he is available isn’t out of the question either.
19. Atlanta Falcons: Brandon Graham DE Michigan: After three years, it appears safe to say that the Jamaal Anderson era hasn’t gone very well. Graham is a versatile player who will come in right away and be able to contribute to an improving defense. Sean Weatherspoon is also a possibility here.
20. Houston Texans: Earl Thomas S Texas: In a division where you play Peyton Manning twice a year, it is important to be strong in the secondary. The Texans could use a corner with the loss of Dunta Robinson and depth at safety where Bernard Pollard who was picked up off the street mid season was the bright spot. Thomas is always around the ball and could play at both positions.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Taylor Mays S USC: The Bengals have addressed the wide receiver position with Antonio Bryant and can now move to the defensive side of the ball. Mays lost a lot of money coming back for his senior season as scouts were able to dissect his game tape and find more flaws. Regardless, he is a physical specimen who fits well in Mike Zimmer’s system and very well could be the next defensive player from USC making an impact on the Bengals. Jermaine Gresham is the other option that could be considered here.
22. New England Patriots: Jared Odrick DE Penn State: After trading Richard Seymour to the Raiders for a first round pick, the Patriots need somebody who can play defensive end in the 3-4. Odrick could come right in contribute in a rotation. Dez Bryant is also a serious possibility here along with Sergio Kindle, Jermaine Gresham or Brandon Graham if he is still on the board.
23. Green Bay Packers: Anthony Davis T Rutgers: The Packers had a hard time protecting Aaron Rodgers and the tackle position needs to be addressed considering they play Jared Allen and Julius Peppers two times a year. Davis is a top ten talent but due to concerns about his work ethic and weight could fall here. The Packers could also address the cornerback position as Al Harris and the reigning defensive player of the year Charles Woodson are both in their 30’s.
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Kareem Jackson CB Alabama: The Eagles would love to trade up to get one of the top two safeties but even if they stay put; the secondary is a position that needs to be addressed. Jackson is a very experienced corner who could compete for a starting spot right away. Taylor Mays is a possibility if he isn’t off the board.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Jermaine Gresham TE Oklahoma: The Ravens addressed the wide receiver position this offseason and can now go after the best player on their board. Todd Heap is getting older and Gresham who would have been a top 15 pick in last year’s draft could be his heir apparent. When Heap first entered the league he played behind Shannon Sharpe which could be a similar situation if Gresham is the pick. If they are high one of them, the Ravens could also go cornerback in this position as well. Devin McCourty and Jared Odrick are possibilities but it would be very difficult to pass up Dez Bryant if he falls here. DT Linval Joseph is also a major dark horse here.
26. Arizona Cardinals: Sean Weatherspoon LB Missouri: The Cardinals had a lot of key loses this offseason so they could go many ways with this pick. With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie recovering from a torn ACL and Bryant McFadden disappointing after being brought in as a free agent cornerback has become an issue. The team also has to replace Carlos Dansby who left this offseason and Weatherspoon is the best player on the board.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant WR Oklahoma State: Just thinking about this situation has to strike fear in defensive coordinators around the league. Roy Williams has been a major disappointment since joining the Cowboys and this upcoming year could be his last with the team. Bryant is the most talented receiver in this year’s draft and while questions are brought up about his character at this point in the draft he is a steal. If Bryant isn’t on the board, Charles Brown is a real possibility here.
28. San Diego Chargers: Ryan Mathews RB Fresno State: While many of thought the Chargers should have addressed the running back position last year, they now don’t have a choice. Darren Sproles hasn’t shown the ability that he can be an every down back and Mathews is the number two back on many draft boards. Another player to watch for here is East Carolina defensive tackle Linval Joseph.
29. New York Jets: Sergio Kindle LB Texas: If Kindle is still available; the Jets won’t be able to resist his versatility and upside as a pass rusher. Devin McCourty is a possibility along with Everson Griffen.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Tim Tebow QB Florida: With Antoine Winfield getting older and Cedric Griffin recovering from an ACL tear, cornerback is a position of need for the Vikings. The team just signed Lito Sheppard which opens the door for another Gator. This would be an excellent fit for Tebow as he won’t be rushed to start right away and can continue to work on his mechanics. If this pick comes true and Brett Favre returns it’s safe to say we will soon be hearing plugs for “ESPN Minneapolis”.
31. Indianapolis Colts: Rodger Saffold T Indiana: The Colts offensive line is aging and they are in a position to add more depth. Saffold has been shooting up draft boards due to his athleticism and versatility.
32. New Orleans Saints: Jerry Hughes DE/LB TCU: The Saints could use some depth at linebacker and Hughes has the ability to come in and be effective even if it is just as a pass rusher on 3rd downs.
33. St. Louis Rams: Demaryius Thomas WR Georgia Tech: The Rams draft a receiver to let Sam Bradford develop with.
34. Detroit Lions: Devin McCourty CB Rutgers: The Lions secondary needs help and McCourty is a first round value who could contribute at corner.
35. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Everson Griffen DE USC: The Buccaneers continue to upgrade their defensive line by drafting a pass rusher with lots of upside.
36. Kansas City Chiefs: Golden Tate WR Notre Dame: The Chiefs find their number two receiver and reunite Tate with his old college coach Charlie Weis.
37. Philadelphia Eagles: Nate Allen S USF: The Eagles land a safety that could come in and fight for a starting spot as a rookie.
38. Cleveland Browns: Colt McCoy QB Texas: The Browns get a quarterback they want without paying big money.
39. Oakland Raiders: Carlos Dunlap DE Florida: The Raiders get a player with great physical attributes but hasn't yet reached his full potential.
40. San Diego Chargers: Terrence Cody DT Alabama: The Chargers get a replacement for Jamal Williams that could possibly go in the first round.
41. Buffalo Bills: Charles Brown T USC: The Bills get a good value in a tackle that could go in the first round.
42. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Arrelious Benn WR Illiniois: The Buccaneers take a receiver that could develop into Josh Freeman’s go to guy.
43. Denver Broncos: Major Wright S Florida: The Broncos get younger in the secondary and Wright is a player who is starting to move up the draft board.
44. New England Patriots: Daryl Washington LB TCU: The Patriots get a very athletic linebacker that could make an immediate impact on an aging defense.
45. Denver Broncos: Lamarr Houston DT Texas: The Broncos get younger on the defensive line with a very good value in the middle of the 2nd round.
46. New York Giants: Jahvid Best RB California: The Giants add Best to form another three headed monster in the backfield.
47. New England Patriots: Patrick Robinson CB Florida State: The Patriots get another young cornerback and Robinson has star potential.
48. Carolina Panthers: Mardy Gilyard WR Cincinnati: The Panthers finally grant Steve Smith his wish and draft a deep threat to play opposite him.
49. San Francisco 49ers: Vladimir Ducasse T Massachusetts: The 49ers take a project in Ducasse that could end up paying long term dividends.
50. Kansas City Chiefs: Sean Lee LB Penn State: The Chiefs get a good value on Lee who could step right in and help contain the run.
51. Houston Texans: Ben Tate RB Auburn: The Texans address the running back position with Tate who has been rising up draft boards.
52. Pittsburgh Steelers: Damian Williams WR USC: The Steelers take a receiver to help pick up some of the departed Santonio Holmes’ production.
53. New England Patriots: Koi Misi DE Utah: The Patriots take another defensive lineman in Misi that has versatility and brings a high motor.
54. Cincinnati Bengals: Aaron Hernandez TE Florida: The Bengals get the pass catching tight end they have been looking for.
55. Philadelphia Eagles: Corey Wootoon DE Northwestern: The Eagles get a defensive end in Wootton who was considered a first round pick before injury slowed him down.
56. Green Bay Packers: Dexter McCluster RB Mississippi: The Packers show it’s a copycat league by taking their own version of Percy Harvin.
57. Baltimore Ravens: Linval Joseph DT East Carolina: The Ravens get a phenomenal value here drafting Joseph who they could be considering in the 1st round.
58. Arizona Cardinals: Perrish Cox CB Oklahoma State: The Cardinals get a cornerback in Cox who will add depth and is explosive when he gets the ball in his hands.
59. Dallas Cowboys: Brandon Ghee CB Wake Forest: The Cowboys take a player in Ghee who was a three year starter and could contribute right away in nickel or dime packages.
60. Seattle Seahawks: Montario Hardesty RB Tennessee: The Seahawks needed to acquire a running back in this draft and Hardesty has starting potential.
61. New York Jets: Amari Spievey CB Iowa: The Jets get a corner in Spievey who could make his way into the starting lineup sooner rather than later.
62. Minnesota Vikings: Brian Price DT UCLA: The Vikings get an excellent value in Price here as he is a first round talent who would end up being the replacement for Pat Williams.
63. Indianapolis Colts: Jordan Shipley WR Texas: The Colts get another receiver in Shipley who can come in right away and contribute in the receiving game and special teams.
64. New Orleans Saints: Chad Jones S LSU: The Saints take an exceptional athlete in Jones who could end up filling in for the loss of Darren Sharper.
Last year’s wide receiver class was a very strong group that had many players who look like they will make an impact for years to come. Michael Crabtree held out into the regular season but it looks like he will breakout in his second year. Jeremy Maclin showed his big play ability and is another weapon for Kevin Kolb to throw to. Hakeem Nicks looks like the number one receiver the Giants have been looking for and should improve on his solid rookie campaign. Percy Harvin and Mike Wallace didn’t have the immediate expectations the other receivers had, but they both played very well and should continue to develop this year.
This year’s wide receiver class doesn’t lack the depth of last year’s, but there are plenty of guys who are certain to make an impact at the next level.
1. Dez Bryant Oklahoma State: Bryant has been involved in a lot of drama during the draft process but when you turn on the tape, you see why he is the best receiver prospect since Calvin Johnson. He is a big strong receiver who has terrific concentration when the ball is in the air and makes plenty of acrobatic catches. To top it all off, he was an explosive return man as well. Bryant may not hear his name called where he would expect, but he is a top ten talent regardless of potential issues.
2. Demaryius Thomas Georgia Tech: Thomas was unable to participate at the combine due to a broken foot but that may have been a blessing in disguise. Even with all the drama surrounding Bryant, no receiver did enough to knock him the top spot. At 6’3 224 pounds, Thomas has the size you look for in a number one receiver and is also very effective after the catch. With all this being said, Thomas is still very raw after playing in a triple option at Georgia Tech. He needs to improve as a route runner but everything else is in place.
3. Golden Tate Notre Dame: Tate may not be the biggest or the fastest receiver, but he is a playmaker. He is excellent at picking up yards after the catch and has also proven that he can win jump balls against bigger defenders. Tate is also a more developed route runner then some of the other top receiver’s in the class and could come in right away and make a big impact.
4. Arrelious Benn Illinois: Benn was highly touted coming into Illinois but didn’t put up the numbers many expected. However, that was due to the inconsistent quarterback play he had all the three years he played. He has the ability to make defenders miss after the catch with his strength and also has experience as a returner. Benn will need to improve on catching the ball consistently with his hands and his route running. If he gets those in order, the potential to develop into a number one receiver is there.
5. Mardy Gilyard Cincinnati: While he doesn’t have the timed speed you would expect, Gilyard is an explosive player who is a deep threat and a very good return man. While it seems like he would be best suited to be a slot receiver, Gilyard is still very raw and if he continues to progress as a player and put on some weight, he could be a steal for a team in the 2nd round.
6. Brandon LaFell LSU: LaFell thought about the idea of declaring for the draft last year but had his best year as a senior. He has reliable hands and has the ability to make some big plays. LaFell is also an excellent blocker and could develop into a very good number two receiver at the next level.
7. Eric Decker Minnesota: Decker was having an All American type year before a very serious foot injury brought his season to an end. This may limit his ability to contribute to a team right away but he has very good ball skills and has already shown that he can put up numbers with average quarterback play. The injury could really hurt Decker’s draft stock so whatever team gets him could be getting a potential steal.
8. Dezmon Briscoe Kansas: Briscoe put up huge numbers during his time at Kansas and has the size that teams look for. He doesn’t have great speed but is tough to bring down after the catch and has the strength to go up and grab the ball away from the defender. The main problem for Briscoe has been consistency but if he figures it out, he could develop into a very effective receiver who would be heavily utilized in a west coast offense.
9. Taylor Price Ohio: Price started to receive some national attention after a 4.41 forty yard dash at the combine. He has good size and can separate from defenders. Price’s numbers in college got a little bit better every year so if he continues to improve he could end up being one of the better values in this year’s draft.
10. Emmanuel Sanders Southern Methodist: Sanders is similar to the Jaguars Mike Thomas who went in the 3rd round of last year’s draft. They were both sure handed, productive college players but with their size are best utilized in the slot. After playing under June Jones, Sanders will have to work on route running but he is also an explosive returner who will be able to contribute to a team immediately.
2010 class grade: B+
Monday, April 19, 2010
Last year’s running back class didn’t have as many impact players compared to recent draft’s but there were plenty of contributors. Knowshon Moreno and Chris Wells both showed flashes in their rookie year and both should see more of an impact on offense in their second year. LeSean McCoy and Shonn Greene didn’t see as much regular season duty but will play huge roles for their team’s this upcoming season. McCoy is now the starter for the Eagles after the release of Brian Westbrook and has a very similar skill set. Greene will look to build off a fantastic postseason while receiving the bulk of the carries with the Jets.
This year’s draft class has many different kinds of backs so it will be interesting to see how big of an impact the group makes on the league.
1. CJ Spiller Clemson: Spiller would have been a first round pick if he declared as a junior and his decision to stay for his senior year paid off. He may not be the kind of back who has 300 carries a year but with elite speed is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. He is a very good receiver out of the backfield and was an excellent return man during his time at Clemson. Spiller is the most explosive running back in this year’s class and based on the impact Chris Johnson has had a team could be willing to take him in the top ten.
2. Ryan Mathews Fresno State: Mathews doesn’t have much of a “wow” factor, but he has good size and is able to make people miss and pick up yards after contact. Mathews also played very well against the better competition Fresno State played last year and has the makings to be a very solid contributor at the next level.
3. Jahvid Best California: Best is another big play waiting to happen. He is even faster than Spiller and also has great vision and elusiveness to go with soft hands. However, durability is a huge concern. Best had a very serious concussion last year and with the NFL now being stricter regarding head injuries; Best’s career could be impacted. With that being said, Best is the type of player who needs to get the ball at least ten times a game and could have a role similar to what Felix Jones has done with the Cowboys.
4. Jonathan Dwyer Georgia Tech: Dwyer is a tough player to evaluate after playing in a triple option offense at Georgia Tech where he constantly had large holes to run through. Regardless, he has good size to go along with deceptive speed. Dwyer could start off his career as a goal line back but eventually have a career similar to Falcons running back Michael Turner.
5. Dexter McCluster Mississippi: McCluster doesn’t have the time speed you would expect but he is very quick and runs hard for his size. He is also a very solid receiver and will make a team very happy with his versatility as a change of pace back that could lineup in the slot and help out on returns.
6. Montario Hardesty Tennessee: Hardesty burst onto the scene during his senior year and has continued to shoot up boards during the draft process. He has a solid build and always keeps his legs moving forward. He doesn’t have great speed and durability could be a concern, but Hardesty has the skills to develop into a very solid pro.
7. Anthony Dixon Mississippi State: Dixon has NFL size and is a very hard runner that is light on his feet but will also lower his shoulder or carry defenders for extra yards. There isn’t much hype surrounding Dixon but he had a very productive college career with a limited supporting cast and is an excellent value in the middle rounds.
8. Ben Tate Auburn: Tate had an excellent performance at the combine and has been moving up draft boards ever since. He has very good speed for his size and can make an impact in the receiving game as well. Tate could end up being a very good value for a team in the 2nd or 3rd round.
9. Joe McKnight RB USC: McKnight had large expectations coming into USC with Trojan fans thinking he would be the second coming of Reggie Bush. While he didn’t have the same success in college, McKnight could be a similar player in the NFL. He doesn’t have elite speed but like Bush he has very good vision, can accelerate into second gear and is also a solid receiver. McKnight would be a very good value in the middle rounds as a change of pace back.
10. LeGarrette Blount RB Oregon: Blount has great size and is a good inside runner who also has nimble feet. Going into the year he was regarded as one of the better backs in this draft class until missing the majority of his senior season after punching a Boise State player after a loss on national TV. With that being said character is a major factor for NFL teams but Blount paid his dues by cleaning up his act and eventually played in the final two games of the season. There isn’t much game tape on Blount to go by on but for a team in need of a big back he is definitely worth a chance in the later rounds of the draft.
2010 class grade: C+
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Last year’s draft class at quarterback didn’t have much depth, but the three who were selected in the first round all showed promise. Matthew Stafford like any first overall pick had a rookie year filled with up’s and downs and ended the year on injured reserve. He should only get better from here with a year under his belt. Mark Sanchez reached the playoffs in his first year as a starter and should start putting up big numbers with an improved supporting cast. Josh Freeman also showed glimpses of his potential for the Buccaneers but doesn’t have many weapons to throw to.
This year’s class doesn’t have much depth but it is filled with highly acclaimed college players coming from big colleges. It should be interesting to see their progression from big man on campus to life in the NFL.
1. Sam Bradford Oklahoma: Bradford is a very accurate passer who also has a quick release. Even though he has bulked up in the months leading up to the draft, durability is a major question mark along with the fact that he played in a spread offense. Bradford has the intangibles that teams look for in a quarterback and could turn into a very good pro if his body can absorb the pounding he will take the first few years of his career.
2. Jimmy Clausen Notre Dame: Playing in a pro- style offense under Charlie Weis, Clausen is the most “pro ready” quarterback in this draft class. Many question his leadership and maturity but he showed a willingness to play through injury this past year and led Notre Dame to many last minute wins. Like any other prospect, Clausen has his negatives. He has a Byron Leftwich-esque windup on his deep ball and his receiving corps will most likely be a downgrade to what he had at his disposal in college. There is a chance Clausen could free fall in the draft where he could be an absolute steal for a team that isn’t settled at the quarterback position.
3. Tim Tebow Florida: Tebow has gone from arguably the best player in college football history to the most controversial draft prospect ever. While his mechanics and eventual position were heavily debated early on in the process, it seems a consensus has finally been reached. Tebow is a developmental project for the next two to the three years that will do anything to get better. While this doesn’t sound like the makings of a first round pick, everyone who has met with him comes away very impressed and all it takes is one coach who loves his makeup to give him a chance.
4. Colt McCoy Texas: McCoy is a four year starter with good accuracy and solid intangibles. He is also a proven winner leaving Texas as the winningest quarterback in NCAA history. McCoy also has the ability to escape the rush when the pocket collapses on him. He doesn’t have great size and there are questions about his arm strength. While he may never be a star in the league, McCoy could have a solid career similar to Jeff Garcia.
5. Tony Pike Cincinnati: There is a lot to like about Pike as a quarterback. He makes good decisions, has adequate arm strength and can read the field well. However, durability will be a major concern as he is very skinny. Pike has some of the tools team’s look for in a quarterback so he could be a very good developmental project with the ability to be a starter after two or three years in an NFL training program.
6. John Skelton Fordham: With great size, arm strength and a small school background it isn’t surprising that many view Skelton as the next Joe Flacco. He could be a very good pick in the later rounds as he adjusts to the speed of the game from the Patriot League and fine tunes his footwork and mechanics.
7. Daryll Clark Penn State: Clark has a strong arm to go with mobility and a muscular build. He can throw the ball on the run but needs to work on finding his second and third reads. Clark could use these traits to develop into a quarterback who goes on to have a career such as David Garrard and as somebody who has watched all of his starts the past three years the similarities are scary.
8. Jevan Snead Mississippi: Snead follows Curtis Painter as the second ever winner of the annual “Brian Brohm Award” given to the quarterback who goes from top ten pick to late round pick. Snead has size and arm strength but his mechanics are very sloppy and made many poor decisions with the ball. He has all the talent teams look for so he could develop into a solid player if he works under the right quarterbacks coach
9. Jarrett Brown West Virginia: Sitting behind Pat White at West Virginia, Brown only started one year and is very raw as a prospect. He looks the part and is mobile but he will need to work on his mechanics and wasn’t asked to make many NFL like reads at West Virginia. Brown could turn into a solid starter down the road but would most likely used right away in a “wildcat” formation for a team.
10. Dan LeFevour Central Michigan: At Central Michigan, LeFevour was “Tim Tebow light” as he put up huge college numbers both running and throwing the football. He has lots of experience as a four year starter but doesn’t have great arm strength and will need to work on his mechanics.
2010 class grade: C-
Friday, March 12, 2010
The draft is less than a month and a half away and as the dust from free agency spending settles, team’s needs are starting to become clearer. This is my first mock draft but expect many more in the coming weeks along with position rankings.
1. St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford QB Oklahoma: The Rams are in a situation similar to what the Lions were in last year. While Aaron Curry was considered to be the best player, the team went with quarterback Matthew Stafford with the first pick instead. While Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy are considered the best players in the draft, it is hard to pay a defensive tackle that much money when you are in need of a quarterback at a time where the NFL is so pass oriented. If Bradford gets the approval from the Rams team doctors, look for him to be the pick.
2. Detroit Lions: Ndamukong Suh DT Nebraska: While the Lions have addressed their defensive line by adding Kyle Vanden Bosch and Corey Williams, Jim Schwartz knows how important defensive tackles are and can’t afford to pass up a prospect that comes along once a decade.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy DT Oklahoma: The Bucs will be ecstatic if one of the top tackles falls to them and regardless of it is Suh or McCoy they will be the pick.
4. Washington Redskins: Russell Okung T Oklahoma State: After Chris Samuels retired the Redskins are in need of a left tackle and Okung is the best option in this year’s draft. The Redskins could also be interested in Jimmy Clausen or Bradford if he happens to fall here.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Bryan Bulaga T Iowa: Even though Jamaal Charles managed to run for more than 1000 yards last year, the Chiefs offensive line struggled allowing over 40 sacks. Bulaga is a solid player who could come in right away and start opposite 2008 first rounder Branden Albert. The Chiefs could also go with Eric Berry here and possibly Jimmy Clausen as he worked under Charlie Weis at Notre Dame for three years and the team has an option on Matt Cassel’s contract at the end of the year.
6. Seattle Seahawks: Jimmy Clausen QB Notre Dame: With Matt Hasselbeck’s contact ending at the end of the year, the Seahawks are in need of an heir apparent. Pete Carroll has experience with Clausen as he tried recruiting him at USC and he could push Hasselbeck for the starting job right away.
7. Cleveland Browns: Joe Haden CB Florida: Many people have Haden falling due to his poor 40 yard dash time at the combine. Regardless he is still the best corner in this draft and Eric Mangini a few years ago with the Jets drafted a corner in Darrelle Revis who didn’t have great speed and look how that worked out.
8. Oakland Raiders: Bruce Campbell T Maryland: Many people have Jason Pierre-Paul going here but as impressive as his 13 straight back flips on youtube are to Al Davis, he won’t be the pick. While Davis loves physical specimen, he usually goes after them by need and after franchising Richard Seymour they aren’t in the need for a pass rusher. However, the team does need a tackle which is where Campbell with his 6’6 314 pound frame to go with his 36 ¼ inch arms and 4.85 forty time fit in to the team’s plans.
9. Buffalo Bills: Anthony Davis T Rutgers: Last year the Bills offensive line was inexperienced and was banged up. Davis has seen his stock slip lately after a poor combine showing and backing out of his pro day but he has the most upside of any tackle in this year’s draft. While Davis’ situation will be examined closely, the Bills haven’t exactly let character concerns get in the way of personnel decisions the past few years.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars: Eric Berry S Tennessee: If Berry falls to the Jaguars there is no way they will pass him up. He is one of the elite players in this year’s draft class and will immediately replace Reggie Nelson whose play has regressed since his rookie season.
11. Denver Broncos: Dan Williams DT Tennessee: The Broncos have gotten bigger upfront this offseason, but they still need some youth at the position. Williams has sky rocketed up draft boards the past few months in a matter similar to former college teammate Robert Ayers who the Broncos took in the first round last year.
12. Miami Dolphins: Jason Pierre-Paul DE South Florida: With the release of Joey Porter and Jason Taylor aging, the Dolphins need to find somebody who can get to the quarterback. Pierre-Paul is very raw but is athletic enough that he could play as an outside linebacker in the Dolphins 3-4.
13. San Francisco 49ers: Trent Williams T Oklahoma: With two first round picks the 49ers are able to address positions of need and Williams could come right in and play at right tackle opposite Joe Staley. With athleticism that would interest the Raiders and Anthony Davis slowly becoming this year’s Andre Smith, it wouldn’t be surprising if Williams goes even higher on draft day.
14. Seattle Seahawks: CJ Spiller RB Clemson: While they still have issues to address at tackle, Spiller gives the Seahawks a home run threat out of the backfield that they didn’t have last year. Other possibilities here could be Anthony Davis if he falls here along with Taylor Mays who fills a need and was also coached by Pete Carroll.
15. New York Giants: Rolando McClain LB Alabama: After signing Antrel Rolle in free agency, the Giants main concern became linebacker after releasing Antonio Pierce. McClain is one of the top prospects in this year’s draft and has the ability to come in and start from day one.
16. Tennessee Titans: Derrick Morgan DE Georgia Tech: After losing Kyle Vanden Bosch in free agency, finding a pass rusher should be the Titans first priority come draft day. Morgan is a productive player who could come in and contribute right away. However, if Jason Pierre-Paul is still around he could be the pick as he will remind some in the organization of a young Jevon Kearse.
17. San Francisco 49ers: Sergio Kindle LB Texas: This past year the 49ers outside linebackers put lots of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Kindle would only continue that trend as he could come in right away and be a potentially be a double digit sacks guy.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Iupati G Idaho: The Steelers offensive line has been a weak spot but Iupati could help fix that. He is still very raw but is athletic enough that he could possibly kick out and play tackle along with guard.
19. Atlanta Falcons: Sean Weatherspoon LB Missouri: Other than Curtis Lofton in the middle, the Falcons don’t have any long term options at linebacker. That would change with the addition with Weatherspoon who plays with high intensity and could emerge as a defensive leader.
20. Houston Texans: Earl Thomas S Texas: In a division where you play Peyton Manning twice a year, it is important to be strong in the secondary. The Texans could use a corner with the loss of Dunta Robinson and depth at safety where Bernard Pollard who was picked up off the street mid season was the bright spot. Thomas is always around the ball and could play at both positions.
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Taylor Mays S USC: The Bengals have addressed the wide receiver position with Antonio Bryant and can now move to the defensive side of the ball. Mays lost a lot of money coming back for his senior season as scouts were able to dissect his game tape and find more flaws. Regardless, he is a physical specimen who fits well in Mike Zimmer’s system and very well could be the next defensive player from USC making an impact on the Bengals.
22. New England Patriots: Brandon Graham DE Michigan: The Patriots love versatility and are in need of a pass rusher and Graham gives them both things. He played defensive end in college but he has shown in pre draft events that he could make the switch to outside linebacker. Graham is shooting up draft boards so it wouldn’t be surprising if he makes another big climb before draft day.
23. Green Bay Packers: Charles Brown T USC: The Packers had a hard time protecting Aaron Rodgers and the tackle position needs to be addressed considering they play Jared Allen and Julius Peppers two times a year. Brown might not be the best value here but he fills a need and has enough upside for the move to pay off. The Packers could also address the cornerback position as Al Harris and the reigning defensive player of the year Charles Woodson are both in their 30’s.
24. Philadelphia Eagles: Eversen Griffin DE USC: The Eagles are in need of a pass rusher and Griffin fits the bill. He is a very athletic player who if he stayed in school could have possibly gone in the top 10 in the 2011 draft. Griffin is still a bit raw and if he becomes more consistent he would be a great value here.
25. Baltimore Ravens: Jermaine Gresham TE Oklahoma: The Ravens addressed the wide receiver position this offseason and can now go after the best player on their board. Todd Heap is getting older and Gresham who would have been a top 15 pick in last year’s draft could be his heir apparent. When Heap first entered the league he played behind Shannon Sharpe which could be a similar situation if Gresham is the pick. If they are high one of them, the Ravens could also go cornerback in this position as well.
26. Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Robinson CB Florida State: The Cardinals had a lot of key loses this offseason so they could go many ways with this pick. With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie recovering from a torn ACL and Bryant McFadden disappointing after being brought in as a free agent cornerback has become an issue. Robinson is a very good athlete with the ability to play in man and zone coverage and even if Cromartie fully recovers would bring great depth to the secondary.
27. Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant WR Oklahoma State: Just thinking about this situation has to strike fear in defensive coordinators around the league. Roy Williams has been a major disappointment since joining the Cowboys and this upcoming year could be his last with the team. Bryant is the most talented receiver in this year’s draft and while questions are brought up about his character at this point in the draft it is worth a shot.
28. San Diego Chargers: Ryan Mathews RB Fresno State: While many thought the Chargers should have addressed the running back position last year, they now don’t have a choice. Darren Sproles hasn’t shown the ability that he can be an every down back and Mathews is emerging as the number two back on many draft boards.
29. New York Jets: Devin McCourty CB Rutgers: While they traded for Antonio Cromartie this offseason, it is possible the opposite side to Darrelle Revis hasn’t been addressed. Cromartie only has one year left on his deal and really needs to prove himself on and off the field to get a long term deal. McCourty would give the Jets an option in the nickel right away and if the team doesn’t retain Cromartie would likely start opposite Revis in 2011.
30. Minnesota Vikings: Kyle Wilson CB Boise State: With Antoine Winfield getting older and Cedric Griffin recovering from an ACL tear, cornerback is a position of need for the Vikings. Wilson is similar to Winfield in the way that they are both very strong against the run. Another possible pick here could be Brian Price as Pat Williams is nearing the end of his career.
31. Indianapolis Colts: Brian Price DT UCLA: The past few years one of the Colts only flaws has been stopping the run. Price who could possibly go in the 14-20 range could clog the middle and in most year’s is one of the first two defensive tackles off the board.
32. New Orleans Saints: Maurkice Pouncey C Florida: One of the main things teams face after the “Super Bowl Hangover” is core players leaving for big contracts. The Saints have made some moves on the offensive line this offseason and Pouncey is by far the best center in this class who could come in right away and start for the defending Super Bowl champs.
Sunday, February 07, 2010
Unfortunately, there is only one game left in the NFL season and it is the one we have all been waiting for. Coming into the season, the Colts replaced Tony Dungy with Jim Caldwell and with Peyton Manning at quarterback haven’t missed a beat. The Saints led by quarterback Drew Brees will be playing in their first ever Super Bowl and it should be an emotional game for both the team and the city of New Orleans. Here is my Super Bowl prediction along with my key to victory and x-factor for each team.
Key to victory: Defensive play calling: The Saints have always had a very explosive offense but much of their success wouldn’t have been possible without their improved defense. Jabari Greer has been excellent this year and might even be the most underrated corner in the league while Darren Sharper is playing like he is in his 20’s. So far in the playoffs the Saints have faced off against Kurt Warner and Brett Favre but will meet their toughest challenge yet in Peyton Manning.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams likes to blitz the quarterback but with Manning’s quick decision making and weapons, this game plan could make or break the Saints chances.
X-Factor: Devery Henderson WR: Quick, name the Saints leading receiver this postseason. Is it Marques Colston? Jeremy Shockey? Reggie Bush? The correct answer is Henderson who is mainly used as a deep threat but has played like an every down receiver this postseason. For his career, Henderson averages an astounding 19.7 yards per catch so it wouldn’t be surprising if he has at least one big play on the game’s biggest stage.
Key to Victory: The offensive line: Other then Jeff Saturday, most football fans couldn’t name another starter on the Colts offensive line but this unit has played very well this year. The Saints (Bobby McCray in particular) have laid some very hard and sometimes dirty shots to opposing quarterbacks this postseason. Some of us have already seen the Curtis Painter experience and nobody would like a second viewing especially under these circumstances.
The line also needs to open some holes in order for the running game to get going. For the postseason the Colts are averaging less than three yards a carry and with the Saints offense the Colts offense needs to be on the field as much as possible.
X-Factor: Raheem Brock DE: While it is expected that Dwight Freeney will play in the game, he will not be at full strength and will be more of a decoy than anything else. If Freeney does end up missing the game, Brock will take his place. Brock is an experienced player who is solid in all aspects of the game. Even though Brock starting would mean the Colts lose a speed rusher coming at Drew Brees’ blindside, they still have Robert Mathis opposite him who has had his fair share of sacks over the years as well.
Prediction: This has all the makings to be a shootout and most think it will end up being one of the better Super Bowl’s of all time. While the Saints road to the Super Bowl along with everything they have done to give the city of New Orleans hope is fantastic, the end to their season might not have a story book ending. Peyton Manning (who if you haven’t heard grew up in New Orleans watching his dad Archie start at quarterback for the Saints) can tear apart the blitz which the Saints do heavily. In a game featuring two of the league’s most explosive offenses, there is a chance this game could come down to the defenses. My prediction is Saints 26 Colts 34.
Through the Jaguars, my dad and I were fortunate enough to win a contest where we got to attend the Pro Bowl after explaining in 100 words why we deserved to attend. The trip included hotel accommodations, tickets to the game and a meet and greet with Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew who was there for his first ever Pro Bowl selection. This along with a part one that has already been posted originally appeared on Jaguars.com.
Yesterday was game day and my dad and I had another awesome experience.
In the morning we visited South Beach. ESPN and the NFL Network had their temporary stages set up but not much was going on then. We walked around and took a few pictures before heading back to Ft. Lauderdale.
At the player hotel I ended up meeting Jared Allen, Logan Mankins, La’Ron McClain, Josh Cribbs, Johnny Knox and Mike Jenkins. Jenkins and I talked about USF as that is one of the colleges I am considering and he is the school’s first ever representative at the Pro Bowl.
The player busses left around 4:30 PM and we headed to the stadium as well. It is a good thing we headed out early as the traffic around the stadium for parking was terrible. Eventually we along with many others parked at a dog track that was a “nice” walk from the stadium. Crowd control was also a hassle as everyone had to walk through a huge serpentine line in order to get to the security checkpoint. This was a huge wake up call from the easy access we have at Jaguar games.
Around 20 minutes before kickoff, we eventually made it to our seats and they were awesome. They were on the 50 yard line 15 rows behind the NFC bench. After player introductions and an F-18 flyover the game was underway.
The scoring started right away as three minutes in Texans quarterback Matt Schaub found his favorite regular season target Andre Johnson wide open in the corner of the end zone. Later on in the quarter Schaub hit Brandon Marshall for a touchdown which gave the AFC a 14-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.
At the half the score was all tied at 17 and the Bethune Cookman marching band performed. They have played at Jaguars games before and they always put on a great show for the fans.
David Garrard and Maurice Jones-Drew made most of their contributions in the second half. Garrard played very well as he was distributing the ball downfield and was hitting receivers in stride. This was evident on his 48 yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson as he found him over the middle and Jackson did the rest. While there wasn’t much running in the game, Jones-Drew made the most of his opportunities running for 30 yards and a touchdown. While he still hadn’t decided what end zone celebration he would do in the game when we met with him, Maurice ended up going with the “crying Mariucci”. For those who didn’t know he was spoofing NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci’s reaction to each Brett Favre retirement.
Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson is one of my favorite players but after seeing him play in person for the first time, I came away even more impressed. He scored in each half on a wide receiver screen play and attempted a long pass as well. He’s a threat to score every time he touches the ball and Jaguars fans are in for a treat when he comes to town next year.
The AFC ended up winning the game 41-34 and Schaub was the game’s MVP. Overall my dad and I had a great time at the game and had a father son experience that we will never forget.
Through the Jaguars, my dad and I were fortunate enough to win a contest where we got to attend the Pro Bowl after explaining in 100 words why we deserved to attend. The trip included hotel accommodations, tickets to the game and a meet and greet with Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew who was there for his first ever Pro Bowl selection. This along with a part two that will be posted originally appeared on Jaguars.com.
My dad and I have now finished Day 1 of our Pro Bowl experience and it was a day that we will never forget.
Around 11:00 AM we arrived at the players’ hotel. The AFC team was about to return from practice and the lobby was packed with sports writers. While waiting I had a chance to talk about the upcoming draft with Pete Prisco who covered the Jaguars for years but now writes for CBS Sports.
When the players stepped off the bus they were still in their red and white practice jerseys. Bengal receiver Chad Ochocinco accessorized his uniform with a stylish sombrero. Jaguar QB David Garrard was accompanied by his son. After spending time with the media they all went up to their rooms to relax and clean up.
A short while later the lobby began to look like a real life fantasy football team. To the left was Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams talking to fans. At my right were Titans running back Chris Johnson and Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall talking to their peers. At this time I managed to get an autograph from Ochocinco and also took a picture with Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. The hotel however was trying to limit autograph and photos so we decided to head out to lunch until we got to meet Maurice Jones-Drew later in the day.
After a traditional lunch of Buffalo wings with a side of college basketball we headed back to the hotel to meet Maurice. We were met by Renzo from the Jaguars staff who walked us to the beach where Maurice was relaxing with his family. Maurice then greeted us and took pictures with everyone. We talked about football and I asked about his end zone celebration plans (still a secret) and if he will be on the cover of next year’s Madden. He asked me about my school plans for next year. He signed autographs for us including the Pro Bowl shirt with his name on the back that I will be wearing to the game.
When our visit ended, I tried to meet some more players. I managed to obtain autographs from Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, Patriots safety Brandon Meriwether, Giants receiver Steve Smith, Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady and 49ers running back Frank Gore. We knew it was time close-up shop when my dad knew all the security guards by name. My “walk-off shot” was Bronco cornerback Champ Bailey who signed by the elevator as we left the hotel.
We chilled out at our hotel and watched the end of the Senior Bowl. Some of my favorite prospects in the game include Marty Gilyard, Kyle Wilson, Brandon Graham and Sean Witherspoon. These guys would look very good in teal.
Overall it was a very exciting day for me and the city is in full swing. The game is tomorrow night so we have some things planned for the day. I’ll let you know what we end up doing and look forward to sharing some observations from the game.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
In the eyes of many people we have finally reached the best football week of the year. Two high intensity games to determine the matchup of who will be fighting for the ultimate prize in the Super Bowl. While these games are very hard to predict, the one thing that we know for sure is that every possible matchup would have some compelling storylines. Here is every possible Super Bowl scenerio and the topics you will then start hearing about for the next two weeks.
Colts vs Saints: Peyton Manning playing against his dad's old team (This year's eqivilent of Jerome Bettis is from Detroit), Saints making their first ever Super Bowl appearance, The city of New Orleans and how it's rallying around the team, Could the Colts have gone undefeated and last but not least Manning vs Drew Brees: the league's best quarterback against the best quarterback who has yet to win a ring.
Colts vs Vikings: Peyton Manning vs Brett Favre: arguably two of the ten best quarterbacks of all time going at it for their 2nd rings, Sidney Rice emerging into an elite receiver, Adrian Peterson's lack of recent production and finally on two weeks notice could Prince possibly make a worse "fight song" for his hometown Vikings.
Jets vs Vikings: Brett Favre against his former team, Rex Ryan and his dad, Rex Ryan soundbites that will be said leading up to the game, The Jets running game against the Williams wall, Sidney Rice vs Darrelle Revis and the debate over if we will we get a poolside guarantee from Mark Sanchez (In my opinion this has to be done. It doesn't even have to be about winning the game but something related to it).
Jets vs Saints:(The least attractive of all the matchups on paper). Dominant defense against explosive offense and how will the game be different from their week four matchup.
Last week: 2-2
Last week with the spread: 2-2
Jets vs Colts: The Jets have been the story of the playoffs so far and now they go up against the team who by starting the "Curtis Painter Era" helped them land a playoff birth. Mark Sanchez has played well this postseason but with the Colts ability to put up points will he be able to keep the Jets in the game? Considering the way Peyton Manning distributes the ball that is the question that could determine the winner of this game and if it does happen to be the Jets, Rex Ryan should give Bill Polian the game ball.
Prediction: Jets 14 Colts 20
Vikings vs Saints: With both teams contaning explosive offenses and solid defenses this is a very hard thing to predict. If there is one thing for certain though it is that the Superdome will be rocking. The Vikings have been practicing wearing ear plugs and some players might even wear them in the game. Other then getting Adrian Peterson going, the Vikings need to get other receivers involved early. Jabari Greer who has had an outstanding season will be covering Sidney Rice so for Rice to have the opportunitites to make plays Favre needs to connect with guys such as Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin and Vishante Shiancoe a few times.
Prediction: Vikings 26 Saints 30
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Last year I mentioned how while the Shrine game doesn't have the same hype as the Senior Bowl,they have had their share of big name players such as Jared Allen, Greg Jennings, Marques Colston and Wes Welker. Participants from last year's game are already having an impact on their team's as well. Mike Thomas and Sammie Stroughter both gave their teams a spark as slot receivers and return men while Sebastian Vollmer who was an unknown to many on draft day played very well for the Patriots at both tackle positions. Here are some players to watch for in this year's game.
Daryll Clark QB Penn State: Going into the year, Clark was projected as one of the top senior quarterbacks in the 2010 draft. Now you don't hear much about him but with a big performance he could shoot his way up draft boards. Clark has a solid build, and a good arm to go with his athleticism. With a solid showing here, Clark could end up going in the 3rd or 4th round and be groomed by a team to become their quarterback of the future.
Javarris James RB Miami(FL): After a freshman season where he averaged 4.6 yards a carry, scouts were expecting James to become the next great running back from The "U". Between the emergence of Graig Cooper and an ankle injury that sidelined him for four games in his junior year, Edgerrin's cousin is flying under the radar. James has solid size and has NFL pedigree so don't be surprised if he goes in the 4th or 5th round and receives the "could be a better pro than college player" tag that Andre Brown received last year.
Freddie Barnes WR Bowling Green: Going into the year chances are if you weren't a Bowling Green fan you wouldn't know who Barnes was. After a year in which he had over 150 catches for 1770 yards and 19 touchdowns, that isn't the case anymore. Those numbers weren't put up against the greatest competition, but they were impressive enough to make him a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award that is handed out to the Nation's best receiver. Barnes may not have the timed speed you look for in a receiver, but he has great hands and is a very smooth route runner. He could end up being an excellent value in the later rounds as could immediately contribute on third downs as a possession guy and eventually develop into a number two receiver.
Dennis Pitta TE BYU: To most he as known as the inspiraton to the many "I Pitta the fool" signs seen at BYU games. To scouts, he is seen as a tight end who can make a big impact at the next level. At 6'5 with soft hands, Pitta emerged as Max Hall's favorite target after the emergence of Austin Collie. The big question facing Pitta is that some feel that he has already reached his ceiling as a player and he could improve on his blocking. Regardless of those two factors, Pitta is a sure handed receiver and with his big frame, is a very good value in the 4th or 5th round.
Greg Hardy DE Ole Miss: Before the year started, Hardy was projected by most to be at least a top 15 pick and to be in the discussion when debating the draft's best pass rusher. After a year where his season was cut short due to surgery on his wrist, Hardy is no longer in the discussion of best pass rushers in the draft but a big game could change that. At 6'5 275 he still has great size and has room to improve as a player. If Hardy plays up to his top ten billing he was receiving at the beginning of the season, he could be a steal for somebody in either the 2nd or 3rd round.