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Tag:Brandon Spikes
Posted on: December 9, 2010 5:42 pm
 

Ivory, Lee stand out in impressive week for rooks

The 2010 NFL season has been a strong one overall for rookies. This isn't a surprise considering the amount of hype that the group enjoyed prior to the draft.

Two players who didn't gain a great deal of attention, however, were among the rookies who most stood out this past weekend.

Undrafted free agent Chris Ivory enjoyed another strong performance for the Saints, overtaking No. 2 overall pick Ndamukong Suh to be recognized for the third time this year. He rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the Saints' 34-30 win at Cincinnati. The highlight of Ivory's afternoon was a career-long 55 yard run in the second quarter that was the first touchdown scored by either team.

Other offensive players whose play stood out this week included Seattle offensive tackle Russell Okung, Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Williams, and fellow Buc LaGarrette Blount (running back).

While the Cowboys' Sean Lee , as a second round pick, certainly entered the league with a much higher profile than Ivory, the success of the Cowboys' flashy first rounder Dez Bryant and Lee's long recovery from a 2008 ACL surgery made him one of the "quieter" high profile selections in Dallas history. The former Penn State star has flashed during his rookie season but remains a backup behind veterans Keith Brooking and Bradie James for the Cowboys.

Lee's play against the Colts spoke volumes, however. Lee victimized Peyton Manning for two of the All-Pro's four interceptions in this game, returning the first 31 yards to score his first NFL touchdown. Lee's second came in overtime, putting the Cowboys in position to kick the winning field goal. He also tied his previous career-high with five tackles on the day.

Among the other defenders whose play stood out this weekend was the Giants' pass rusher (and reigning Defensive Rookie of the Week) Jason Pierre-Paul, Cincinnati's Carlos Dunlap, New England inside linebacker Brandon Spikes and a trio of cornerbacks - Cleveland's Joe Haden, Kansas City's Javier Arenas, and the Patriots' Devin McCourty.


Posted on: November 10, 2010 12:44 pm
 

Colt McCoy, Eric Berry Rookies of the Week

With all due respect to Oakland Raiders' receiver and kick returner Jacoby Ford (who was spectacular in the Raiders' 23-20 overtime win over the Chiefs) and San Diego rookie Seyi Ajirotutu (two touchdown receptions against the Texans), it is time to recognize the play of Colt McCoy with Offensive Rookie of the Week honors.

I've acknowledged the gutty play of Cleveland Browns' rookie quarterback Colt McCoy the past two weeks, but his performance against the New England Patriots demands attention.

In a surprisingly close loss to the Steelers and the Browns' stunning road win against the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, McCoy's Browns played well -- but almost in spite of their rookie signal-caller, not because of him.

The stellar running of Peyton Hillis and the inspired play of the Cleveland defense certainly played critical roles in beating the Patriots, but McCoy was deadly efficient as a passer (completing 14 of 19 passes for 174 yards) and his mobility kept the Patriots' pass rushers frustrated. McCoy's biggest play was his 16-yard scramble for a touchdown on the Browns' first drive of the third quarter. That score gave the Browns a 24-7 lead that proved too much for the Patriots to recover from.

While there were several standout rookie performances on the offensive side of the ball, the pickings were slim among defensive prospects.

New England inside linebacker Brandon Spikes had his moments in the loss to McCoy and the Browns, collecting eight tackles in the loss.

Kansas City safety Eric Berry , however, continues to prove he's a young star in the making for the Chiefs. After recording a career-high 10 tackles and his second interception of the season two weeks ago in the home win over Buffalo, Berry showed off his versatility, collecting two sacks on the afternoon.

Berry, the No. 5 overall pick, now has 45 tackles, four passes broken up, two sacks, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery on the season.
Posted on: September 28, 2010 2:07 pm
 

Bills' Spiller, Hawks' Thomas Rookies of the Week

Each Tuesday I'll list two first year players -- one on offense, one from the defense -- as my official NFLDraftScout.com's Rookies of the Week.

Various rookies enjoyed strong performances in Week Three. On offense, it was tough to look past Sam Bradford's first career win (over the Redskins), the continued stellar play of Kansas City tight end Tony Moeaki (who I've listed as a finalist each of the first three weeks!) and Indianapolis receiver Blair White an undrafted free agent who was signed from the practice squad due to injuries and responded with three catches for 27 yards and his first NFL touchdown.

In the end, however, the versatility and explosiveness of Buffalo rookie C.J. Spiller won out.

Spiller, playing behind veterans Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson, didn't get many carries. In fact, he only rushed four times (for 29 yards) against the Patriots. The versatility he showed while starring at Clemson, however, was very much on display against New England, however, as he caught three passes for 10 yards and a touchdown and returned a kick 95 yards for another score. Spiller's ability to make impact plays were one of the reasons that the Bills were able to remain surprisingly competitive against New England, which won 38-30.

It wasn't a particularly strong week for rookies on the defensive side of the ball. Two defensive backs I had high hopes for entering the week -- Bucs' safety Cody Grimm and Broncos' cornerback Perrish Cox -- were torched for touchdowns. Sean Weatherspoon led the Falcons with seven tackles, but other highly touted 2010 linebackers Brandon Spikes (one tackle) and Rolando McClain (four tackles) weren't as statistically relevant nor able to make any big plays in close games.

Big plays, however, was exactly what Seattle free safety Earl Thomas made for the Seahawks, Sunday afternoon in a 27-20 win over the favored San Diego Chargers.

Thomas recorded six tackles, but it was his two interceptions over Pro Bowler Phillip Rivers that helped prove the difference in this game. Thomas' second interception came with only seconds left on the clock and the Chargers in position to tie the score. Thomas read the eyes of Rivers, cut in front of receiver Legedu Naanee and swiped the ball, putting a disappointing end (for San Diego, at least) to Rivers' career-high 455 yard passing day.

Posted on: August 24, 2010 3:36 pm
 

5 Most Disappointing Rookies So Far

There are lots of opinions out there as to which rookies will have an immediate impact this year. The popularity of fantasy football puts most of the attention on skill position players, but hardcore fans are just as interested in offensive linemen or safeties (or any other position) giving their favorite teams immediate and significant playing time.

I've featured several higher round picks like C.J. Spiller , Bryan Bulaga and Brandon Spikes already as players I fully expected to stand out as rookies and, at least in the preseason, have done so. 

I've also listed 10 players drafted in the 3rd round or later who have impressed as rookies.

The following five players make up the exact opposite story. They are five well-hyped prospects who have thus struggled to acclimate to the NFL.

QB Colt McCoy, Cleveland: McCoy was recently among a list of eight players characterized by Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer as "need[ing] good showings in the last two games to make the roster." McCoy, in two games, has only completed 5 of 12 passes for 25 yards. He's thrown two interceptions and taken two sacks.

RB Toby Gerhart, Minnesota: The Vikings were hopeful that Gerhart would win the 3rd down role behind Adrian Peterson. Gerhart's inconsistent hands and route-running is a concern. So too is the lack of foot quickness he's shown so far. Gerhart can help this team as a short-yardage specialist, but that may be it.

WR Armanti Edwards, Carolina: Edwards has flashed for the Panthers, but he's shown just how tough it is to switch from college quarterback to NFL wide receiver. He's had issues at receiver and punt returner and may require a "redshirt" year.

WR Golden Tate, Seattle: The 2009 Biletnikof winner, Tate has been a star in training camp, but in the games -- where he's needed to run crisper routes -- he's struggled to demonstrate the same playmaking ability. Tate will be fine. He's too talented not to, but he has only three catches for 13 yards in two games so far.

RB Joe McKnight, New York Jets: I remember when McKnight signed with USC out of the state of Louisiana as one of the most hyped prep prospects in the country. He never showed the agility and balance of Reggie Bush -- the guy he was signed to replace -- at USC though, at times, he received similar hype. McKnight is a terrific athlete, but I haven't seen the toughness out of him so far to think the Jets can keep him on the field much this year.

Posted on: August 20, 2010 1:53 pm
 

Brandon Spikes a future star in New England

When Brandon Spikes was clocked at 5.05 seconds in the all-important 40-yard dash during his Florida Pro Day, some immediately questioned whether he could be effective in the NFL.

After all, few linebackers have ever run that slow and still been high draft picks. The only middle linebacker from the 2010 draft to have anything close to the two-time All-American Spikes' production in college and his slow time in the 40-yard dash was former Kentucky star Micah Johnson, who went undrafted, was signed by the New York Giants as a free agent and is now a member of the Miami Dolphins.

The slow time did force me to re-evaluate whether he could be effective as a true middle linebacker in the 4-3 scheme, but if protected in a 3-4 alignment, I thought he could continue the spectacular play in the NFL that he'd enjoyed throughout his career with the Gators. His sideline to sideline speed had concerned me even prior to Spikes' senior season.

If his first two preseason games in the NFL are any indication, the Patriots may have a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate with Spikes, the 62nd overall pick of the draft.

Spikes "only" contributed three solo tackles in the win over Atlanta last night, but his physicality in the hole and timing as a pass rusher makes him an ideal fit for this scheme, especially when you consider that the Patriots already feature one of the game's better young inside linebacker in Jerod Mayo -- who captured 49 of a possible 50 votes to win the 2008 award.

In the first preseason game, Spikes was much more statistically impressive, leading the team with eight tackles against the Super Bowl champion Saints.

Spikes' impressive performance has drawn relatively "rave" reviews from Bill Belichick, who, of course, is rarely complimentary.

"Now that he’s in our defense, some things he does are a little bit different than the way we would teach it, but he still does them well,’’ Belichick was quoted by Robert Mays of the Boston Globe.

Wow. Acknowledgement from Belichick? For a rookie?

That's about as rare as a linebacker running a 5.05 second 40-yard dash and still making the second round... 
Posted on: April 23, 2010 4:16 pm
 

Five bold predictions for the second/third round

As anticipated, I hit a few and missed a few in my initial Bold Predictions for the 2010 draft. I tried to limit my predictions to the first round for that article.

Here are five bold predictions for Friday's second and third rounds.

Colt McCoy will be drafted ahead of Jimmy Clausen too.
I've spoken to a variety of league sources on Clausen and the consensus on his fall is that his personality had something to do with it, but more than anything else was the belief that he's been groomed for so long that he offers very little upside. Essentially, he's as good right now as he's ever going to be. The same can not be said for Tim Tebow and, some believe for Colt McCoy. McCoy's intangibles are so good, in fact, that some believe the Bills and Browns will enter a bidding war for the services of the former Longhorn quarterback. Rather than wait for him with their respective second round picks, one of these two clubs might trade with St. Louis for 33rd overall.

Lots of trades.
If you thought there were a lot of trades yesterday (seven), I'm told there could be considerably more today. I woke up this morning planning on writing a second round mock draft, but in contacting sources to prepare, was told to "not bother" with the working out the team-player fits because there could be "lots of action." Instead, I've been told to just stick with the best players available, as they "should go quick." There are several clubs with various picks eager to take advantage of this year's unique depth. From watching how animated Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were yesterday in their press conference, I'd be surprised if they don't make more than just the one pick they currently have (60th overall).

Expect quite a run on wide receivers.
As most projected, there were two wide receivers drafted in the first round. However, in speaking with different teams, I've come up with 11 wideouts that have been given second round grades by at least one team. Names to keep in mind are: Golden Tate, Eric Decker, Damian Williams, Arrelious Benn, Mardy Gilyard, Carlton Mitchell, Brandon LaFell, Jordan Shipley, Taylor Price, Dexter McCluster and Marcus Easley.

Big name SEC player surprises.
A year ago Greg Hardy, Brandon Spikes, Terrence Cody and Carlos Dunlap were considered by some to be a lock for the first round. Now, there are some who believe all four will drop to Saturday's rounds 4-7. I don't see that happening. Too much good tape and/or athletic potential for these guys to slip that far. Expect to see at least two of them come off the board in the second round, and all four by the end of the night.

Rob Gronkowski ends up either in Baltimore or New England
There are some teams that rated Rob Gronkowski as the top tight end in this class. I've been told the Ravens, who have a need for the position based on the durability struggles of Todd Heap, are among them. The Patriots also have a very high grade on the former Wildcat. Gronkowski lacks Jermaine Gresham's game-speed, but is a better all-around player and a significantly better blocker.




Posted on: April 23, 2010 4:15 pm
 

Five bold predictions for the second/third round

As anticipated, I hit a few and missed a few in my initial Bold Predictions for the 2010 draft. I tried to limit my predictions to the first round for that article.

Here are five bold predictions for Friday's second and third rounds.

Colt McCoy will be drafted ahead of Jimmy Clausen too.
I've spoken to a variety of league sources on Clausen and the consensus on his fall is that his personality had something to do with it, but more than anything else was the belief that he's been groomed for so long that he offers very little upside. Essentially, he's as good right now as he's ever going to be. The same can not be said for Tim Tebow and, some believe for Colt McCoy. McCoy's intangibles are so good, in fact, that some believe the Bills and Browns will enter a bidding war for the services of the former Longhorn quarterback. Rather than wait for him with their respective second round picks, one of these two clubs might trade with St. Louis for 33rd overall.

Lots of trades.
If you thought there were a lot of trades yesterday (seven), I'm told there could be considerably more today. I woke up this morning planning on writing a second round mock draft, but in contacting sources to prepare, was told to "not bother" with the working out the team-player fits because there could be "lots of action." Instead, I've been told to just stick with the best players available, as they "should go quick." There are several clubs with various picks eager to take advantage of this year's unique depth. From watching how animated Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were yesterday in their press conference, I'd be surprised if they don't make more than just the one pick they currently have (60th overall).

Expect quite a run on wide receivers.
As most projected, there were two wide receivers drafted in the first round. However, in speaking with different teams, I've come up with 11 wideouts that have been given second round grades by at least one team. Names to keep in mind are: Golden Tate, Eric Decker, Damian Williams, Arrelious Benn, Mardy Gilyard, Carlton Mitchell, Brandon LaFell, Jordan Shipley, Taylor Price, Dexter McCluster and Marcus Easley.

Big name SEC player surprises.
A year ago Greg Hardy, Brandon Spikes, Terrence Cody and Carlos Dunlap were considered by some to be a lock for the first round. Now, there are some who believe all four will drop to Saturday's rounds 4-7. I don't see that happening. Too much good tape and/or athletic potential for these guys to slip that far. Expect to see at least two of them come off the board in the second round, and all four by the end of the night.

Rob Gronkowski ends up either in Baltimore or New England
There are some teams that rated Rob Gronkowski as the top tight end in this class. I've been told the Ravens, who have a need for the position based on the durability struggles of Todd Heap, are among them. The Patriots also have a very high grade on the former Wildcat. Gronkowski lacks Jermaine Gresham's game-speed, but is a better all-around player and a significantly better blocker.



Posted on: March 20, 2010 4:04 pm
 

One not enough? Gators schedule 2nd Pro Day 4/7

For all of the attention that Florida's first Pro Day received, it is hard to believe the team could possibly schedule another.

And yet that is precisely what Florida is doing. Pro Day, part two is scheduled for April 7, 11 am. Like last week's workout, it will take place on the University of Florida campus.

Pass rusher Jermaine Cunningham, who was unable to work out at the Combine or Florida's first Pro Day, March 17 due to a shoulder injury, will be featured. the 6-4, 266 pound Cunningham has 19.5 career sacks. Scouts would like to see him work out to better decide if his best chance at duplicating his collegiate success into the pros will be in remaining at defensive end in the 4-3 or switching to outside linebacker in the 3-4 alignment.

Others likely to take advantage of the workout are running back Brandon James and linebacker Ryan Stamper.

Though quarterback Tim Tebow, cornerback Joe Haden, defensive end Carlos Dunlap and tight end Aaron Hernandez aren't likely to workout -- and may elect to not even attend the event -- one highly touted prospect that should consider working out is inside linebacker Brandon Spikes, considering his disappointing workout at the March 17 Pro Day.

Spikes' is slow on film, but isn't 5.05 slow.

Considering the rebound performance Joe Haden saw in his second workout, perhaps Spikes could generate some late buzz with a better time.



 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com