Posted on: March 10, 2012 12:54 pm
In the wake of the bold trade up by the Washington Redskins to secure the rights to one of the two elite quarterbacks of the 2012 draft class you can expect that there will be plenty of media speculation as to whether head coach Mike Shanahan and his staff overpayed.
The St. Louis Rams, on the other hand, are universally being lauded for their ability to pry first round picks from the Redskins in the 2013 and 2014 drafts, as well as Washington's second round pick this year for only dropping four spots.
And while I do believe that this trade could be one of the few in which both teams appear to be "winners," it isn't fair to characterize the Redskins as the only team taking a significant risk with the move.
Recent conversations with various league sources indicate that six prospects have pulled away as the elite talents of the 2012 draft. Though the order differs slightly per team, the general consensus seems to be that Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, Southern Cal offensive tackle Matt Kalil, Alabama running back Trent Richardson, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne, and Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon have separated from the rest of the pack. In trading out of the second pick to the sixth, the Rams are still guaranteed to see one of these prospects still available to them. Whether it is one capable of making an immediate impact, however, is the bigger question.
With obvious needs at wide receiver and cornerback, the Rams would presumably love to see either Claiborne or Blackmon still available. The Minnesota Vikings (owners of the third pick), Cleveland Browns (four) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (five) also have signficant needs at these spots, however. With free agency looming, much will change prior to the draft but Rams fans may not be as thrilled with their options at No. 6 as they may have been when hearing of the bounty of picks their team will receive in the move.
Based on the lowered value of running backs in today's pass-happy NFL, Richardson would appear to be the most logical candidate, at this point, to slip to six. And while the Rams are expected to add a running back during the off-season to ease the burden on star Steve Jackson, adding another elite talent at one of the few positions of strength on the roster is not the recipe for success most teams would follow.
Of course, if the draft works out the way Dane Brugler and I anticipate in our updated mock drafts (which reflect the trade), St. Louis could be celebrating their mighty haul of draft picks and adding a certain playmaker for Sam Bradford to boot.
Posted on: March 7, 2012 6:55 pm
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Something was missing. Or was it someone?
Somehow, there wasn't much of a buzz Wednesday at Alabama's Pro Day.
Running back Trent Richardson wasn't there. Neither were two former Alabama teammates: safety Mark Barron and outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw.
All but two of the 32 teams were represented at an event at which 14 members of the Crimson Tide's 2011 national championship team performed, but head coaches and all but three general managers stayed away. The Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams were the teams not represented.
The Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers sent their general managers. One of the few recognizable faces was former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, now the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator.
A bigger and better crowd is expected on March 29, when Richardson, Barron and Upshaw are scheduled to perform along with some of the players who participated Wednesday.
Richardson, NFLDraftScout.com's top-ranked running back and a projected first-round pick, still is recovering from minor postseason knee surgery.
Barron, the top-ranked safety by NFLDraftScout.com, is recovering from double-hernia surgery.
Upshaw, ranked second behind South Carolina's Melvin Ingram among outside linebackers, has been plagued by tendinitis in a knee, Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday.
Alabama center William Vlachos, who wasn't among the nine former Alabama players invited to the recent NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, did his best to impress NFL scouts Wednesday, but he stopped short of performing in the event that is his strength: the bench press.
He will wait until March 29 to show how many times he can lift 225 pounds.
"The high-profile guys will be participating in the events then," Vlachos said.
One or two players projected as first-round draft choices were among the players who performed Wednesday. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, ranked 15th overall by NFLDraftScout.com, and inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower (28th) were among six Alabama players who had been to the combine but wanted to show off their skills again.
One player whose stock might have fallen at the combine might have improved his status slightly Wednesday.
Cornerback DeQuan Menzie ran the 40-yard dash in 4.74 seconds at Indianapolis. He improved that time to 4.66 seconds Wednesday.
"At the combine, I wasn't relaxed," Menzie said. "I was feeling so much pressure. Here, it was like I was at home, and I could release the pressure and run my best 40."
Menzie came out of the combine rated the 20th best cornerback available in the draft and was projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick. Some teams might consider him as a free safety.
"I play it all," Menzie said. "I played safety in the Senior Bowl. I played safety in high school. I played corner here. I played in the nickel spot. There's really nothing that I can't handle. Saban put me through that."
Menzie has been training with Kirkpatrick and Hightower. What have they been telling Menzie?
"We've just got to get that money," Menzie said. "That's what Dont'a and Kirk say all the time. 'Go get that money. You've got to have the money on your mind.'"
Vlachos admitted he was disappointed.
"If you look at the top-five consensus defensive tackles in the draft, I blocked all of them and blocked them well," Vlachos said.
In particular, he was referring to Penn State's Devon Still, Michigan State's Jerel Worthy and Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox and Michael Brockers of LSU.
"I can play with all of those guys," Vlachos said. "I think I proved that on film for three years. If these guys are top 15 picks, yes, I think I should have been invited to the Combine."
As a three-year starter, Vlachos said he played most of his college career at 295 pounds. Sensitive to being called small, the 6-foot-1 lineman has worked at gaining weight. He weighed in Wednesday at 319 pounds.
"I put on some weight, and I was able to run very well carrying it," said Vlachos, who ran the 40 in 5.27 seconds. "My arm length and height are not ideal. I also don't want to be light. Being able to run at that weight has got to be a positive for me."
Hightower has been listed at 6-4 throughout his college career. He has been listed as 6-2 by the NFL, but he was measured at 6-0 on Wednesday. Who measured him?"I don't know," Hightower said. "I know I'm 6-3. I'm telling all of y'all: I'm 6-3. I don't know what they're talking about."
He noted that former Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain was measured at 6-2 two years ago.
"They're going to measure me at 6-foot?" Hightower said. "I'm not even taking that. I'm 6-3. For everybody, I'm 6-3."
Neither Hightower, Kirkpatrick nor wide receiver Marquis Maze ran the 40-yard dash Wednesday. Maze and wide receiver Darius Hanks were among the Alabama players who went to Indianapolis. Hanks ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds then and in 4.69 seconds Wednesday.
Other participants Wednesday and their 40-yard dash times: cornerback Phelon Jones (4.65), tight end Brad Smelley (4.78), outside linebacker Alex Watkins (4.78), outside linebacker Jerrell Harris (4.81), offensive lineman Alfred McCullough (4.82), offensive lineman John Michael Boswell (5.35) and nose guard Nick Gentry (5.66).
Nose guard Josh Chapman, who came to Indianapolis but did not participate in any drills because he is recovering from mid-January knee surgery, participated in the bench press on Wednesday. Lifting for the first time since before the Jan. 9 BCS Championship game, Chapman lifted 225 pounds 29 times.
Posted on: March 7, 2012 3:26 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 3:29 pm
I am beginning to get some of the early results from the just concluded Alabama Pro Day but perhaps the biggest story of the day was who wasn't available to work out rather than who was.
Three of the four Crimson Tide prospects currently rated as first round caliber prospects by NFLDraftScout.com did not participate in today's workout. It had been known that running back Trent Richardson (knee) and safety Mark Barron (hernia) would not be working out today. Pass rusher Courtney Upshaw also was unable to workout today due to knee tendinitis. Each is expected to participate in Alabama's second Pro Day workout, scheduled for March 29. All 32 NFL teams were represented today. Expect all 32 to be there March 29, as well.
Of course, the defending national champions boast plenty of talent other than these three -- not the least of which is two other potential first round prospects in cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick and inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower.
Neither Kirkpatrick nor Hightower elected to run the 40-yard dash Wednesday after participating in the event at the Combine. Each participated in positional drills.
Hightower did go through other measureable drills, as well, including the three-cone (4.73) and short (20-yard) shuttle (7.55), according to a source on the scene.
For more information on the Alabama Pro Day and all others, keep NFLDraftScout.com and our Pro Day blog posts refreshed.
Posted on: March 6, 2012 5:24 pm
ATLANTA - Tailback Trent Richardson, the consensus top-rated running back and the No. 6 overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, will not participate in drills at Alabama's Pro Day on Wednesday, agent Jimmy Sexton confirmed to The Sports Xchange.
--Len Pasquarelli, NFLDraftScout.com/The Sports Xchange.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 7:20 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 10:32 am
The competition to be the second running back selected in the 2012 NFL Draft will go from one of the more intriguing second tier topics of this week's Scouting Combine to one of the major stories with news Wednesday that Alabama runner Trent Richardson, the unquestioned top talent at the position, won't be able to perform in Indianapolis.
Richardson, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 6 rated overall prospect, underwent minor knee surgery a few weeks ago after initially injuring his knee while preparing for the BCS National Championship, according to NFL.com's Jason LaCanfora.
Though Richardson won't be able to participate in the athletic drills at the Combine, according to the report, he is expected to be able to participate in Alabama's March 7 Pro Day.
(LaCanfora has since reported via Twitter that Richardson will be working out on March 27, raising questions about his availability for Alabama's original Pro Day.)
Assuming that team doctors don't find reason to believe that Richardson will be troubled by the knee in the future, his stock isn't likely to be impacted, according to a league source who shared his thoughts under the condition of anonymity.
"If the doctors say he's okay, it won't change anything. [Richardson] is an elite talent," the scout wrote in a text message.
Considering the physicality with which he plays, however, the injury certainly will be checked out thoroughly by every team. Richardson suffered a slight MCL tear in 2011 and underwent surgery as a sophomore in high school after tearing ligaments in his ankle.
Richardson is currently slated to be a top five draft pick by Dane Brugler and I. Our colleague Pete Prisco has Richardson slipping a bit further but still has the Crimson Tide star earning a pick in the top half of the first round.
Since beating LSU in the BCS Championship, it has been a tough few weeks for several highly rated Alabama players. Prior to news of Richardson's injury, Tide seniors Josh Chapman (nose guard) and Mark Barron (safety) each missed the Senior Bowl due to injuries. Junior cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick was arrested (and ultimately had the charges dropped) for marijuana possession.
Richardson finished third in the Heisman voting in 2011 behind only Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. He won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's elite running back, rushing for 1,583 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns, including the only touchdown in the BCS Championship Game.
NFLDraftScout.com currently lists Virginia Tech's David Wilson, Miami's Lamar Miller, Boise State's Doug Martin and Washington's Chris Polk as the other four backs behind Richardson as the top five talents at the position for the 2012 draft.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:30 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 11:32 am
Alabama junior Trent Richardson is universally considered the top running back in the 2012 draft.
Ask five scouts which runner will follow him on draft day and you are liable to get five different answers. Some are enamored with the pure speed of Miami's Lamar Miller or Virginia Tech's David Wilson. Others like the all-around game of Boise State senior Doug Martin. With an MVP-performance in the Senior Bowl that showcased his potential as a returner, Cincinnati's Isaiah Pead is making a late run up the board.
A so-so performance in Mobile has taken some of the luster off of Washington's Chris Polk, but if he runs as fast in workouts as he and those close to him expect him to, the former Husky will certainly be in the mix.
Preparing interviews for Lindy's NFL Draft Preview scheduled to hit newstands March 1, I asked Chris at the Senior Bowl what he expects to run in the all-important 40-yard dash.
He smiled and replied simply, "Faster than any of you all think."
Pressed to be more specific, Polk elaborated.
"From what everyone has been saying and I've been reading, I guess speed is one of the big questions everyone has about me. I'm not that worried about it, to be honest with you. I know how fast I am. I expect to run something in the 4.4s."
Though Polk ran for 4,049 yards for the Huskies over his career, finishing second behind only former first round pick Napoleon Kaufman (4,106) in school history. Though he's shown the ability to break free for several long scores over his career (four TDs of 50+ yards), his straight-line speed is considered one of the question marks on an otherwise sparkling résumé.
Polk is currently preparing for the Combine at Athletes Performance Institute in Los Angeles. If his effort there result in a 40-yard dash time of 4.50 seconds or less, teams won't be able to ignore the fact that his game-tape, frankly, is more impressive than any of the other backs vying to follow Richardson.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:33 pm
This entry has been removed by the administrator.
This message has been removed by the administrator.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:46 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 3:49 pm
All-Americans running back Trent Richardson and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick announced they will be forgoing their final year of eligibility at Alabama and entering the 2012 NFL Draft. Both were part of a pair of national championship teams in three years in Tuscaloosa.
Tidesports.com reported that linebacker junior Dont'a Hightower will also leave the Crimson Tide.
The 5-foot-11, 224-pound Richardson was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back in 2011 after setting a single-season school record with 1,679 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. He broke the record set by 2010 first-round pick Mark Ingram, and is the top-rated running back prospect by NFLDraftScout.com and the No. 7 overall prospect.
Richardson is a powerful inside runner who presses the line of scrimmage and has surprising speed for his relatively short, thick frame. A tough runner who will initiate contact, Richardson is widely expected to be the first running back selected in April. NFLDraftScout.com analysts Rob Rang and Dane Brugler both currently have Richardson going fifth overall to Tampa Bay.
"I am going to leave here and try to represent Alabama in a Class A way," Richardson said.
Kirkpatrick is the No. 2-rated cornerback by NFLDraftScout.com, behind only LSU's Morris Claiborne, who also announced Thursday that he's leaving after his junior season. Kirkpatrick is the No. 10 overall prospect, with Rang having him going seventh to Jacksonville and Brugler predicting him to go No. 6 overall to Washington.
"It was a blessing to have an opportunity for (Alabama) to open their doors the way they did to me and my family," Kirkpatrick said. "This is a family decision, and I am going to be leaving, going to the NFL, to try to better myself and better my talent."
Kirkpatrick had 30 tackles and nine pass breakups in 2011 possesses. He has excellent height and athleticism at 6-2, 192 to be a potential shutdown corner in the NFL. He has the long arms to be effective as a press corner and good recovery speed. He's not as experienced in zone coverage, but has shown the instincts to read the quarterback and break on the ball. Kirkpatrick is also noted for his physicality and willingness as a blocker in the ground game.
"We are 100 percent supportive of both of these young men in terms of what their choice is and what they choose to do," coach Nick Saban said of Richardson and Kirkpatrick. "They've been great ambassadors, great representatives for the University of Alabama as people, students and football players."
Hightower, who was not at the press conference, is also a potential first-round pick. He is the No. 2 inside linebacker according to NFLDraftScout.com, behind only Boston College's Luke Kuechly. A redshirt junior, he spent four years at Alabama and is the No. 26 rated prospect overall. He had 85 tackles, including 11 for loss, four sacks and an interception this season.